What is your reputation in your local business community? Are you considered to be a person of your word? To be trustworthy? Do you have a reputation for doing what you say you are going to do? Or is your reputation less than honorable? Nothing irritates me more than to be told one thing by a customer or a vendor and later learn that it was not true. Everyone makes mistakes, and I will give grace to any long-term business associate. But nobody wants to work with someone who lies. It is simply unacceptable. People like to do business with people they like. And people of integrity like to do business with other people of integrity. So in business and in life, always strive to do the right thing.
If you started a small business just so you can work for yourself, i.e. you refuse to work for someone else, you are setting yourself up for ruin. Starting a successful business requires you to dedicate an immense amount of time. You must stay focused and be resolute. This is impossible if you are not passionate about what you are doing. Before you start a business, be sure it is something you love. Your love for your business must be strong enough to push you through the bad days. Your passion must be strong enough to spread to your team so they can push through their bad days. If you can find this passion, you are never too young or too old to be an entrepreneur. Your passion will overcome any obstacle in your way. If you do not find this passion, your business will just be another job.
Live long enough, and eventually, you will consider your legacy. Sam Walton will always be remembered as the founder of Wal-Mart. Yes, there are many good things that he was able to accomplish with his wealth. But Wal-Mart will always be first in everyone’s mind. Sam Walton worked hard all his life. And at the end of his life, when he was suffering from cancer, he naturally looked back and wondered. Did he make the best decisions in his life? His conclusion, as recorded in Made in America, was yes, he made the best decisions. He would not change a thing. Which is wonderful. A life without regrets is a life well lived. What about you? Will you look back at your life and think that you did the best you could? What regrets will you have? Don’t wait until it is too late to make a change.
Sam Walton was passionate about retail. His passion drove him to create a great company and to achieve unimaginable personal success during his lifetime. No matter where he was working at the time, whether it was for J.C. Penney, as a Ben Franklin franchisee, or as the founder of Wal-Mart, Sam Walton always strived to be the best. Because when you are passionate about your work, you want to be the best. No one can deny the success that Sam Walton achieved. And I do not think anyone can say that Sam Walton’s success was a result of personal circumstances or a lucky break. Sam Walton was just simply a constant competitor driven by a great passion for what he was doing. You may not reach such financial heights by following your passion. But one thing is certain, you will certainly not be successful unless you follow your passion.
Like it or not, work is one of the few things that gives life meaning. You cannot possibly expect your life to have much meaning unless you are doing something that you love and care about. And if you are doing something that you love and care about, how can you aspire to just be good? If all you want is to be good enough, then you are not doing the work that you need to do. You need to be doing something that you have the possibility of becoming great at. And if your work is simply not a possibility, then you need to become involved with something that you are passionate about. Something that you can help to make great. So why are you going to spend your working years – the best years of your life – doing something that you do not love?
You will never have the success that you envision, you will never be great, unless you can get passionate about the things you are doing. Whether you are a small business owner or a mid-level manager in a Fortune 500 company, if you cannot get passionate about your work, you are not going to achieve the success you desire. Nothing is going to impede your success quite so much as hating your work. If you survive Monday through Friday with visions of the weekend, then you are probably not going to be the next Rockefeller. Instead, find something that you love doing. People who are passionate about their job love being there. They love the work that they do. They love the people that they work with. If this is not you, stop wasting your time and find something that you can get passionate about.
Adversity is a part of life. Failure is a part of life. Doubters and haters are a part of life. And if you focus on these things, you will look back one day with disappointment at the life that you have led. Instead, be positive. Find the good in all things. Surround yourself with positive, like-minded people. Open your heart to them. Love them. Share your purpose with them. Find their strengths and give them the opportunity to share their strengths with others. Above all, keep your eye on the road. You know where you are headed. Never lose focus on the vision that you have created for your life. Sure, there will be setbacks. And yes, you may not achieve all of your goals. Just keep your bus moving, fueled with positive energy. Make a difference in your life and the lives of those around you.
Knowing your purpose keeps you energized. It motivates you to develop your vision, to push through adversity, and to work through failures. Living a successful life without knowing your purpose is impossible. Your purpose keeps you grounded. It keeps you centered. It keeps you facing the right direction on your life’s journey. And it should be shared. Because you will never truly lead and you will never truly affect those around you without sharing your life’s purpose with them. It is all about leading with heart. Finally, remember that you cannot find your purpose by looking at the world around you. Your purpose is found within. And no, your purpose should not be to make lots of money. You will have to dig down deeper than that.