Do You Know What Success Looks Like When You’ve Finished The Mission?
As freelancers, we work with companies to help them accomplish an objective. So, what does it look like when we’ve finished our work and arrived at the destination?
Mad Max: Fury Road is one of my favorite films and the ending paints a perfect picture of what it looks like when I’ve finished working with a client. This visceral post-apocalyptic story is about facing the demons were running away from, and returning home to lead those who need us.
While the title of the movie is Max Max, the story of the sequel film revolves around a woman named Furiosa who is fleeing with several woman slaves from the oppressive and abusive Immortan Joe.
Max is unexpectedly caught up in their escape but eventually works with Furiosa to help her get away (and return home). While they start adversarially, they soon work together through great hardship and struggle.
The end of the film results in the defeat of Immortan Joe and a return back to the city where Furiosa is celebrated and elevated at the new leader. The hoarded drinking water is freely opened up to the people and Max watches Furiosa rise, as he slowly slips into the crowd disappearing from her view.
When I started freelancing after the conclusion of my marketing business, I was not inclined to start a new company. During this season of my life, I didn’t want to bring about one of my own visions but instead desired to help other founders understand and fulfill theirs. As a multi-generational business entrepreneur, I am uniquely equipped to grow small business income, teams, and owners. And multiple requests for help started the freelance journey.
Max didn’t seek out to help this group of people, and like him, I didn’t seek out to become a freelancer working with other founders. But eventually, I embraced it and made the most of this path mastering and teaching it.
My goal in working with customers is to help them establish some distance from their organization so they can assess it wisely. From there, my mission is to help them confront and overcome these challenges. When we’ve finished, they’re elevated as the leader, and I disappear to go help the next owner do the same.
That moment in the video clip when Max fades into the crowd is a perfect scene to capture how I want my client engagements to end. Mission accomplished, and client elevated and me disappearing.
With the end in mind, I start and continue engagements to move us towards this destination. I do things differently and for the better because of this clarity of what success looks like. It means I’m building systems, growing leaders and pushing founders to know, have and be what’s needed beyond my presence and participation. I’m constantly pushing to remove myself from the picture, by taking long-term steps towards sustainability.
What about in your work as a freelancer? What does it look like when you’ve succeeded in an engagement?
If you have a clear picture, embrace and remember it. Rework your engagement process to empower this mission.
If you don’t have an answer, stop and take the time to find an answer. Write down the outcome you want to happen as a result of your involvement and actions.
Starting with the end in mind will make all your starts and endings more effective and powerful.
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