A Children’s Business Fair Teaches Us Purpose

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This is a story about purpose.

Our six-year-old participated in a children’s business fair. She and a partner made bracelets, necklaces, earrings and chocolate covered banana bites with sprinkles to sell.

They did great! They sold nearly all of the jewelry and most of the banana bites. They made $284 during the 3 hour fair.

This is a story not about the success of that day, it’s about purpose.

Ellee, my kid, her purpose in life right now is really two pronged. To play with friends (she ALWAYS wants to play with people) and acquire things.

To me, the fair represented an opportunity for her to create a goal, work towards it, go out on a beautiful Saturday with pride in what she created and the fact people ACTUALLY bought it. And the tangible result is cash in her pocket that she earned. Tremendous life lessons at 6, for sure. At least in my head.

She couldn’t have cared less about any of that. Her purpose is to play with friends and acquire things. That is where she was focused during this month-long journey in the preparation toward the fair and at the fair itself.

Her partner and her had a few meet-ups to prep for the fair. The idea in the parents’ mind is that the girls would make a bunch of jewelry in these meet-ups. Ellee’s idea is that this was a play-date with her friend. She was excited to spend the time together NOT making jewelry.

The day of the fair, she LOVED it. She loved seeing her friends, buying their stuff. Being there to sell at her booth was secondary to her main motivation.

As parents, and entrepreneurial parents at that, my wife and I marveled at the fact that kids actually bought the stuff she made. We were excited for the success that she had. Ellee, however, was thrilled to be with friends and buy stuff.

Here’s the lesson for me. We all should have an understanding about our purpose. Why are we doing the things we’re doing? Understand if those things match the expectations of what is required for success.

Moreover, in our *hopefully* more mature adult minds, link even some of the less fun activities to the greater purpose so we can reframe how we see & perform those activities.

It’s equally important to understand the purpose of the people close to us. The more we talked about making money or even the pride she would feel, the more she shut down. That was not her purpose. The more we talked about her ability to be with friends (and to do that, we must make bracelets), she was more on board.

Purpose creates a north star. Becoming the person that we want to be and doing those things that are aligned with that person is fuel to our internal fire.

I’m proud of Ellee. I’m proud of the work she did. I am also proud that she acted true to her purpose.