The economy is pretty rough.
It is hard not to focus on the bottom line. If you are a sole practitioner, a consultant, a coach, small business person, or entrepreneur, it can be really stressful when the only boss who can give you a raise is you, and as your own chief financial officer, you have to tell yourself, “No, the business just can’t afford it.”
But what if you stopped working for money?
What if you began measuring your success in terms of the people you help and the lives you change? What if your only daily goal was to see how much you could give each client or customer with whom you interact?
Well, the CFO side of you might say your business would be bust in no time at all. Although the Customer Service side of you might think the idea had real merit and when you were wearing your Marketing Director hat, you might see genuine benefits in running your business from a totally customer-centric perspective.
So why not try it for a while? Give yourself a week or a month, or whatever period of time you feel you can test it, and instead of working for the bottom line, try working from the bottom of your heart.
During the trial period:
- Give every client or customer more than he or she paid for.
- Work all projects to the “above and beyond” level of quality.
- Take (and demonstrate) a genuine interest in the lives of others. Think about what they are telling you, not just what you are going to say next.
- Do some things simply because others in your community will benefit from your actions.
- Take on a task that no one will know you did, but that will change the quality of life for another human being.
- Create opportunities for others to excel.
- Smile more. Extend your hand more frequently, not just to pick up a check, but to reach out in warm human contact to others.
When Entrepreneurship Becomes a Calling
Have you read, The Blue Sweater, Bridging the Gap between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World, by Jacqueline Novogratz? Founder and CEO of the Acumen Fund, Novogratz has devoted her career to solving social problems by applying entrepreneurial solutions.
As a girl growing up in Virginia, Novogratz had a favorite blue sweater—a treasured garment that she wore as long as she could. And when she had outgrown the blue sweater, it wound up in bag marked for Goodwill.
So imagine her amazement when eleven years (eleven years!) later she was in Rwanda, where she was helping a group of African women start a micro-finance bank, and she saw a young child wearing the sweater, Novogratz’s name tag still stitched inside.
Your Blue Sweater Moment of Entrepreneurship
Recognized as a leader in social entrepreneurship, Jacqueline Novogratz fights poverty and hunger by helping others create businesses, market their skills, and utilize the resources they have available, creating a bridge that links charity and venture capitalism in ways that traditional solutions have previously failed to consider.
Your business may never lead you to set up a co-op in Africa; that’s okay, that’s Jacqueline’s calling. But what you do, no matter what that is, serves and benefits others in a meaningful way. Your challenge is to take it to a higher level, to do what you do because of how it benefits others, not how it benefits you.When you are able to do this, you will be living your own ‘blue sweater’ moment.