How to make a profit while making a difference
“Creating a life worth living”
As I embarked on a career in Financial Services at the age of 19, a decision which ultimately led to me starting my own business I remember by old man sitting me down and having the chat…..the Money isn’t everything chat! I remember he said, don’t focus on the money, focus on making a difference and the money will take care of itself. Success is not measured in the amount of money you make instead on the memories you make, the experiences you have, but most importantly on the lives you impact.
While making money and being profitable is important in any business, so is giving back, helping others and inspiring positive social change. Money is an inanimate object and should simply be a helpful tool to help us live the life we want. The problem is that most of us don't see money that way and we've developed an unhealthy relationship that's turning, if we're completely honest, a little bit toxic.
The truth is that we create legacies with every single action that we take. The question we need to ask is whether or not we’re taking intentional actions to create the type of legacy that we want to create.
Are we too focussed on making a profit and losing sight of the reason a lot of us got in to business in the first place, that was to make a difference and drive a positive change to people lives.
Creating a legacy, it’s something that very few people think about. We think about building a successful life and making money. We think about creating a good life for us and our loved ones. Building a legacy is the furthest thing on our mind. But I’d argue that it should be at the forefront of everything we do. Don’t just focus on building a good life today, create a life that will leave its fingerprint on the lives of many for years to come and as a result profitability will ensue.
In order to create a powerful legacy with your life and make a difference, you first need to decide what contribution you want to make to the world, ask yourself the “why”, why you’re doing what you’re doing. Once you know that the rest is easy!
So if what my dad said to me is true and money will “take care of itself” then why don’t we focus on ways to leave our mark on this world, making a difference every day.
The most successful businesses have leaders that no longer think of business as the antithesis of art, but as an opportunity to express their vision with passion.
Like many I face business disruptions and challenges every single day. It’s very easy to get consumed in everyday business and lose sight of why I started my business and how I am trying to make a difference. My five key tips are;
- Don’t do anything half arsed!
Do one thing perfectly, and then move on to the next. Don’t spread yourself thin with too many things on the go at once. Learn to say no. Don’t try and please everyone by always saying yes. Set massive goals and do what’s necessary to make them realized. Finally, never lose sight of what you’re trying to achieve.
A legacy isn’t something that is singular. A legacy is created by having an impact on a select few, or a large population. So how do you have a massive impact on people? You help them.
Giving of our time, energy, and expertise – of which we all have – has a lasting impact on those we help. Never, ever regret anything. Learn from, but never regret from. It’s not the money we make over the years, but the people we have helped that will leave the greatest fingerprint.
- Set audacious goals.
Don’t set goals that are easy, that you know you can accomplish. A great way to achieve mediocrity is to plan for mediocrity. Something that far too many of us do on a daily basis.
Think about the blue oceans of what you’d like to accomplish. Set that as your goal, then break it down into smaller processes. The processes aren’t smaller goals, they are action steps; things you will do on a daily and weekly basis that will help you achieve this massive, audacious goal.
Be bold in the goals you set and the expectations you have for yourself.
- Be prepared to lose it all, to gain it all.
The greater the impact you want to leave on the world, or any aspect of life, the greater the risk you’re going to have to take. Greatness requires risk. Mediocrity requires the desire for safety. To leave an indelible mark on the world, risk is a must.
They say time is money. I would argue time is actually far more important than money. Money is nothing without the things we can trade for it. But time, time is everything, and how we use it will determine our legacy.
How do you make the most out of your time? With focus and energy. The more energy we have, the more we’re able to focus, the harder we can work, the more lives we can impact and the bigger difference we can make.
So while there is no text book, no recipe, no roadmap on how to make a profit while making a difference, my advice, focus on the legacy you want to create, money will take care of itself. Bet on your strengths, turn your passion in to a business and focus on a vision. Never lose sight of the change you want to make and never forget passion is the key to success and making a difference.