“Let Go of the World’s Definition of Success” #WorkBiggerStories

misti-cain_headshot

Do you remember the story that went viral a few years ago about the girl who quit her $95K/year job to move to an island and sell ice cream? Everyone went nuts.

“How brave, how amazing, I’m so jealous,” said many people on the Internet.

Yes it’s brave and amazing, but when that story went viral, my thought was and still is “Why aren’t more people doing this if they’re so in awe of this woman?”

When there’s a will, there’s a way!

This week we interviewed Misti Cain, Founder of Whyzze, a website that offers advice on relationships, creativity, business, and more.

Misti is mission-driven. She knows what she wants to accomplish, what her life’s work should be.

The result? Less stress, greater productivity. More importantly, Misti blocks out society’s noise so she can create a successful career on her own terms.  (So if living on an island and selling ice cream is what you want, make it happen.) Here’s Misti’s interview.

misti-cain_headshot

Welcome Misti! Where are you from, and where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in central California – which is pretty much smack dab in the center of California. It was a very agricultural area. I longed for more adventure and entertainment options, even as a child so I was excited to leave the area when I graduated high school.  

Can you think back to your 22 year old self? Tell us about your first job and where you started out.

At 22 I was working for CIGNA, an insurance company. A family friend worked there and she thought I would do well. I started out as just a customer service representative (CSR). I was quickly promoted to trainer where I trained new CSRs, then Account Managers, then managing the corporate accounts team. After CIGNA I got a job at a hospital as a Marketing Manager. While I love marketing, healthcare was not something I was passionate about.

So what are you doing now? Tell us about your mission and the work you want to do. 

My mission is to help people create their plan of attract via better decisions, resources and strategies. That means how to professionally, personally or creatively attract the opportunities and outcomes they want.

Did you struggle to identify it?

I’m a “come-up-with-an-idea-at-a-stoplight” kind of person. That means I always have a ton of ideas swirling around in my head. So, was it hard to identify? No. But it was hard to choose one clear purpose to focus on.

What led you there? Can you recall any experiences you had that pushed you to your mission?

First, let me say I’m a firm believer in the Law of Attraction. So, the week I decided I wanted to narrow my mission and purpose down and truly focus my efforts on that, I had several people (friends, family and a few strangers) tell me the same thing – which was essentially: “you’re really good at getting people and projects to the desired outcome.”  

So what has been the result of doing mission-driven work?

A few glorious things. Foremost is an intense high from actually helping people and businesses. Next, I’d say my brain is free – I no longer stress about which things I should respond to, attend or take on; I know when to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ based on my goals. Lastly, I’m more productive. I know exactly what needs to be done or the questions to ask to get things done because I have a clear-cut mission.

Mission-driven work is not without its challenges. What’s the biggest challenge you face, and how do you overcome it?

My biggest challenge is feeling [my work] is not big enough. I’ll see other people creating or doing things and think [their work] may be more impactful or important than what I’ve set out to do.

Many 20 to 30-somethings are still struggling to get clear on the work they want to do. What advice do you have for them?

There are three things:

First, let go of the world’s (or another person’s) definition of success. Don’t start your decision-making based on the idea that you have to work a certain number of hours per week, or in a certain type of building, or make a certain amount of money, or have a certain title. If your ideal life involves living on a remote island with very little fiscal or professional responsibility and a lot of free time to do as you please, work backwards from there.

Think back to what you liked to do as a child – what were your favorite games or activities? What subjects or moments did you like best in school? Usually we’re uninhibited as children and gravitate to what we like simply because we like it. That’s usually a clear indication of what we find interesting/would like to be doing.

Lastly, what stirs your emotions or excites you now? [Is it something] you do when you have free time, [or do you feel a] pang of healthy jealousy when you hear about an activity, project, job someone else has?

To learn more about Misti Cain and Whyzze, follow along on Twitter.


The Work Bigger pilot is now open! The Work Bigger pilot is an-depth, step-by-step framework designed to help you identify your mission. It includes: (1) Self Awareness: Get clear on your interests, values and skills. (2) Take Action: Assess opportunities and identify the work you want to do. Learn more here.

Belma McCaffrey

Author Belma McCaffrey

More posts by Belma McCaffrey

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