Traditions and festivities help us do what the relentless pace of modern society does not afford. We can reflect. As Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” Reflection is critical for achievement and success. It is what helps us to be strategic and not merely reactive in the way we live and do business.
While most of our time is spent in reaction and execution-mode, we must be vigilant about where we are headed and how we got to where we are. As I head into the holiday season with my team, here are the things I reflect on to keep perspective and focus on the big picture:
- Gratitude: One of the biggest reasons people leave companies is because of a lack of recognition. We all want to feel valued. Our customers pay our bills, and our team helps us win. I reflect on these things and am thankful for people. Gratitude is a rare quality in our narcissistic culture. Most people spend time talking and thinking about themselves. They forget that they have not achieved anything without the help of others. We are interdependent. Get concrete and thank the people who got you where you are. Get tangible and do something personal, special and yes, expensive.
- Care: The other disease of narcissism is the lack of care for others. Most businesses manage to convenience – their own. They forget the customer and think about themselves. Ever been in a coffee shop which closes at 8:55 so everyone can get out on time rather than let the buyer finish their experience a few minutes past 9? I guess that time is more important than the loyalty and cash. Go the extra mile in your delivery. Create a better experience for the customer. It can always be better. Show more care. How can you care more?
- Winning: The world is full of people with small dreams. They just want an easy life and a free dinner. How boring. That is not what I dreamed about as a kid, and I will never succumb to such poor vision as an adult. Winning is paying it back. It means you are living into your potential and not just settling for what is easy. Mediocrity is such a vicious disease. It’s everywhere. I focus on winning. It is part of gratitude and caring both for myself and the world which has given good things to me.
- Generosity: Have you done anything wonderful and unexpected for someone lately? Why not? It’s funny how many people think they can get on in business being cheap. Winning fans means creating experiences and helping others get what they want. That requires eyes to see others’ needs or desires. This can be fostered by practicing generosity. In a nutshell, generosity means that you learn the principal of risk and cost. You risk with your time, creativity and money. It costs something personally to you. Take your talent, time and treasure and invest it into people.
Your business grows or dies based on the principals you live into. If it’s about you, we all have a way of knowing that pretty easily. Gratitude in your business triggers what will drive your success. Focus on how much value you can bring and watch the world around you reciprocate.
I am thankful for our team and our clients. We are changing the world and living passionately and purposefully. For me, an examined life makes it all the worthwhile.