Why We Exist

By Natalie Soler

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I contemplated writing this first post 100 times over. I even began it once before: I was searching and waiting for this bolt of inspiration. I’ve read books and looked into different ways to tap into the energy I have. I felt like I was coming up short, until tonight. Tonight I had a conversation, a conversation that allowed to me verbalize my feelings and insights on how I will run this project I’ve embarked on.

I’m the daughter of an entrepreneur. A perspective which has given me a great deal of insight into the world of successful endeavors, particularly that of building a business. As a student of business, I’ve also learned all of the most current academic “what it takes.” But as an employee of several businesses, I have learned what it feels like to be submersed in someone’s vision for success; what I thought it would feel like and what it actually feels like are two very different realms.

I suppose all new hires enter the workforce feeling a bit lost. The collegiate experience is so absolutely liberating in comparison to just about any other aspect of adult life. Rules are lax and energy is flowing at all times, day or night. And if in this time of your life you can figure out how to channel that energy positively, you’ve found the golden key. All of my college friends managed to balance school work and good grades, a social life and an active, relatively health-conscious lifestyle, all while caring for their families from a distance. Scholarships, internships, intramural sports and volunteering were the norm, not the exception. Each of them graduated (mostly) on time with (mainly) great grades. Okay, so maybe we did have our moments of too much fun, but that is what college is about! And now the dress rehearsal is complete and we’re ready for the show.

So what meets us?

Anyone who has worked in an office environment understands the callous subtleties of the typical system. Individuals are not celebrated nor are they respected as whole beings with outside lives and feelings. Teams are a collection of individuals all chasing opportunistic goals. Sometimes coworkers are a breath of fresh air. Sometimes they’re just a shell of a person who stopped living, at least in this space, a long time ago. As each of us quietly fears devolving to this point as well, anyone is hardly alarmed nor do they advise you to dream bigger- because we are not the first to experience this, and certainly won’t be the last in the ever revolving door of corporate life.

So what does it matter?

We’re not suffering in the sweat shops of a third world country, our problems are insignificant in comparison, as they should be. Regardless of how spoiled it may seem, there’s a clear pattern hitting us squarely, employees are increasingly unhappy and companies are dying a bit at a time. With each great individual that cycles in and out of a system, confidence of those who are left is impacted. And why do we stay? Because we’re held hostage by the lives we’ve built up, no matter how much we may enjoy them.

I dream of building a new type of place. And I know that my dreams are a result of seeing a few very brave companies build up something special: a community. A place where the individual is respected and the whole thrives because of it. Human beings hope to achieve magnificence and are best positioned to when they are surrounded by great people. Instead of placing rules on them and forcing them to participate, why not build a place that they actively choose to engage in and contribute to? And most importantly, why not build a place that grows their confidence and helps them succeed in all aspects of their lives, so that they in turn want to help it succeed? I think it’s been forgotten that in order to receive the best from others, we must give the best of ourselves.

So what does this look like?

Free coffee in the break room? Yeah, that’s good. A conference room that looks like a playground? Maybe, if that’s what makes your team tick… but it’s not necessarily what is put in the space and offered to the team, it’s the team itself. Great people make for great communities, and community is what this world is lacking. In our rigid individualistic culture, we are constantly conditioned to fight against each other rather than work together. Teamwork can be seen as cumbersome and as a way for dependents to hitch a ride. I say the collective has always been, and truly is, what makes our world achieve the greatest things.

Part of my angst towards writing this first post and launching this project came from forgetting just this- that I cannot create this alone. I need the help and support of my friends and my family, who are more than excited to stand next to me as I find my voice and share it with others. I need the support of my community to make this wild dream real. I hope you’ll join me on this journey, where I’ll share positive energy, bits of wisdom and my path to creating a new type of company: one that can’t function without it’s community. Welcome to The Pure Collection.

About The Natalie Soler