In July of 2011, Kathryn Minshew woke up and slipped her feet into her slippers before they hit the cold floor. She went to the kitchen to grab a glass of water before sitting down at her computer to check her email. It was the same thing she had done every day for a year.
She looked out the window at the sun rising along the New York skyline.
Summer had rooted itself in the city and as the sun came up, Kathryn knew they were just counting the minutes to another record-breaking day of heat.
She took a sip from the tall clear glass. And opened her laptop as she curled into her favorite comfy chair by the window. She went to her email and put in her username and password.
It wouldn’t work.
She went to her GoDaddy account and put her username and password in there so she could fix the problem.
That wouldn’t work either.
Days earlier, Kathryn had been the CEO of a small startup by women, for women. It was called PYP, or Pretty Young Professional, a career blog.
There had been turmoil between the four co-founders since February.
Kathryn and her friend, Alex Cavoulacos, were at odds with the other two co-founders of PYP, but she didn’t think it was serious.
That chaos had caused Kathryn to wake up that July morning and be completely locked out of the company she had started. The company she had quit her day job for. The company she had worked on with no pay for a year.
But she wasn’t alone. The other two co-founders, Pouchot and Ghosn, had locked everyone else out of the site and their emails as well. All the writers. All the editors. Every staffer.
Kathryn was humiliated. She felt like she had failed herself and everyone she worked with.
It was at that moment, that 20-something Kathryn had to make a quick decision. She had already dumped her life savings of $20,000 into the business. She could take the last few thousand dollars she had in her thinning bank account to hire a lawyer to help her regain control of PYP. Or she could walk away.
And so she walked.
She walked with her friend, Alex Cavoulacos and every staffer at PYP.
See, Kathryn had formed relationships with everyone in the company. She had formed the relationships outside of the company with publications like Inc. and Entrepreneur magazines as well.
She still wasn’t sure what she was going to do. But she had people. And relationships.
Kathryn thought that PYP had been her purpose. She wanted to help women fulfill their career goals. She was devastated that the relationships she had formed with the other co-founders, other women, had fallen to pieces.
She was shaken at the threats she was receiving via email and from mutual friends. But more than that, she didn’t know what her purpose was anymore.
But it didn’t take her long to figure it out.
She had been introduced to some of the best tech companies and startup founders around. The elite of Silicon Valley.
Within a month, she had come up with a new idea. A website that would incorporate career conscious articles along with an up-to-date job search that was tailored to young professionals.
The only problem was, it was a big dream and she was low on funds.
Over the next year, Kathryn and her rumbling stomach lived on Ramen noodles and dinner invites from friends.
She took the last $3000 she had and poured it into her new venture along with every idea she could come up with to create something new, exciting, and useful.
Something worth investing in.
She pounded down the doors of 150 investors trying to get them to see that her little company, The Muse, was the next big thing.
She got rejected 148 times. But she just kept trying. And her persistence paid off.
A little over a year later she had raised over $26 million from investors. And captured over 5 million active users.
The two co-founders who started the coup against Kathryn went on to start another business venture that is still running today with about 10,000 users per month. PYP never got back off the ground after that fateful day in July 2011.
Kathryn Minshew, however, has been flying high ever since.
She continues to successfully run The Muse and was named to Forbes’ 30-Under-30 List — for the last two years in a row.
“WHEN SHE TALKS ABOUT THAT ROCKY DAY BACK IN 2011, KATHRYN SAYS, ‘IN MANY WAYS, THAT FIRST FAILURE WAS THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO ME.’”
And often that’s exactly how it is. As we talk about purpose this month, it’s important to remember that what you think your purpose is today, may change into something completely different tomorrow.
At times, those situations that you consider disappointing or a failure are actually a blessing in disguise.
They give you perspective.
Falling flat on your face forces you to take another look around. It pushes you to look at the bigger picture. The other options. Your purpose.
Kathryn Minshew is not an exception to the rule. These stories happen every day where failure redirected by purpose becomes a massive success.
And your story is no exception.
You are creating your story daily. You are finding your purpose daily.
Don’t confuse your purpose with the status of your bank account or how well you are doing at business.
On those “bad business days”, you need to remind yourself that you are meant for such a larger purpose.