It’s been a year at business on purpose for me…and one thing I can honestly say is it’s been a roller coaster. So what are the 4 things that have truly stopped me in my tracks this year?  Well, let’s talk about that today. Happy Monday friends, Thomas Joyner here with Business on Purpose. 

Coaching 20+ businesses, writing new content, helping clients put out fires, hire new employees, manage supply chain shortages, opening a new office in Nashville, you name it! It’s been a challenging year to say the least.

With all of that, there have been a few things that have stuck with me. A few things that fundamentally changed the way I view work and are things I will carry with me for years to come. I wanted to share them with you not to brag about all that I’ve learned, but to offer you the chance to marinate on them with me. 

Maybe they change your perception a bit. Maybe they push you to tweak the way you do things and grow in your own ways. We should always be growing, always learning and I hope that this stirs your mind in a way that you will process, then act on whatever you’re challenged by.

So…the 4 major lessons I’ve learned from the past year.

Lead Well.

If you’re looking for more resources to work ON your business, we have them. 

  1. You must know your why

Knowing your why! We have to start here. I’ve seen this over and over again. Business owners that don’t know their why end up one of two places. They either burnout in the process of chasing their goals. Just bored and exhausted from the mundane day to day. No true fire in their belly to storm the next hill, but just going through the motions because their work is not attached to anything. 

Or…they end up in another place. They accomplish their goals, survey the scene and realize it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. They look around and realize that this goal is only meaningful if they grow next year or go bigger next year. The goal had no why behind it and so it felt completely empty at the end.

I had lunch with a business owner last week who had some BIG goals…growth, expansion, and new locations. I was so excited for him. I’m a dreamer at heart and I love listening to other people’s dreams. 

After he finished telling me about what he hoped for in his business, he made such a profound statement. He looked at me and said, “I’ve got to figure out why I want to do all that though.” I was kind of shocked he went there. I asked him to explain what he meant by that. “Well, I know that if I accomplish all of that, there’s just gonna be more goals on the other side of it and it will feel really empty if I don’t create spaces for people to meet, places for people to work and provide for their family, and a place for a community to come together.”

That’s it. That’s everything. When the why is firmly in place, it frees you up to chase after your goals knowing that there’s more behind it than just money and growth! Don’t forget that and know your why!

  1. There are no bad teams, only bad leaders. 

If you’ve read Jocko Willink’s book, Extreme Ownership you know that this is one of his main points. This may seem harsh. “You don’t know my team, Thomas!” You’re right, I don’t. But I have seen time after time over the past year, when a leader in a business takes extreme ownership, believing that every shortcoming in his business lands squarely on his shoulders, it frees his team up to operate at peak efficiency. 

Why? Because now, the owner takes it upon himself to train, train some more, and then retrain. They take it upon themself to listen to their team, learn from them, and lead them towards a common goal. They build processes to free their team-up from questioning every move and delegate authority for decision-making to develop leaders on their teams. 

 I’ve watched teams go from barely functioning to absolutely crushing it as the owner decided to finally lead instead of just getting by. It’s a beautiful thing to watch when a person takes that ownership. Doesn’t pass the blame, but views it as their sole responsibility to make sure their team succeeds. 

That’s what leads to high-functioning teams. Now, that weight is heavy. The responsibility of running a business is heavy. But it is one that should never rest on the shoulders of your team. It’s too heavy for them. But when you shoulder the load, train your team, and equip them to do their job…it leads to a business functioning exactly the way it should.

3. Whether you believe you can do something, or believe you can’t do something…either way you’re right! It all starts with belief.

Someone told me this years ago and I’ve seen it over and over this year. It’s why we start with Vision. If we can see it, if we can believe it, it becomes possible. But the moment we doubt and think that it can’t be done in our minds, we lower our ceiling and seal our fate. 

Belief and positivity are such powerful forces in our businesses. Our teams need to know we believe in them and believe that they can get the job done. Our teams need to know where we’re headed and feel the belief that we can get there. It has to be a part of your culture. Many times we, without even realizing it, put a ceiling on our business by the way we communicate with our team. 

But when we set the bar high, equip our team to perform, constantly review the goals and show our belief that we will get there…the impossible becomes possible.

But…this leads me to my last lesson.

4. There are no shortcuts to success

The difference in my clients who are knocking it out of the park and the ones who are just getting by and still wondering why they haven’t picked up momentum is directly correlated to the amount of work they put in. It’s that simple. There’s no shortcut to success.

Elon Musk made me laugh recently when I heard him say this…” People always ask how I became an overnight success. I tell them by working 16 hour days for 10 years!”

It’s so true, there’s no such thing as an overnight success. There’s no shortcut. Behind every successful business is someone who put in the work!

Don’t believe the lie that you can cut corners. Anyone selling you that is lying to you. 

In fact, every time I have a sales meeting with a new business, people ask me, “Thomas what is BOP’s secret sauce? Why do the businesses that work with you guys keep getting better?”

The first thing I tell them is that there’s no magic wand, and if there WAS a magic wand to make everything better, we would charge a lot more for our coaching!

The second thing I tell them is we hold all of our clients to a high standard and we hold them accountable to putting in the work every single week. And if they don’t want to put in the work, we tell them we may not be a great fit.

Because there’s no shortcut to success. It’s hours of training, hours of implementing, and hours of work before the business gets to the point that it’s “Made it.” But you know what? Even the businesses that have made it are still working hard behind the scenes to stay there.

So that’s year 1 in the books with BOP…take these lessons and think about them for a bit today. Ask yourself where you stand with each of them and allow them to make you better like they have me.

  1. You must know your why!
  2. There’s no bad teams, only bad leaders.
  3. Whether you believe you can do something or believe you can’t…you’re right either way.
  4. There’s no shortcut to success

Alright! Let me know what you think in the comments below. If you want more content, make sure to follow us on youtube and subscribe to our podcast. As always, we’d love to hear from you!

Have a great week!

Thomas Joyner is a business coach in the Lowcountry of South Carolina specializing in liberating business owners from chaos. He is a weekly contributor to The Business on Purpose podcast and can be found at