Blog Post

Building a Life and Business of Character

There are times when we get so consumed by what we want to do that we forget who it is we want to be. I’ve participated in several interesting conversations around this topic recently; two that really stand out to me.

The first was when I interviewed eight-year-old entrepreneur Ryan Ross. During the interview, he said that running a business was easy and fun and everyone should do it. And that if we all did, we could help more people around the world.

Then I had the opportunity to ask billionaire Sir Richard Branson at a recent web conference for his thoughts on keeping his passion alive and giving something back as part of his work as an entrepreneur.

I don’t think it’s an easy feat to stay connected to our core values and who it is that we want to be. No, strike that. I think it’s easy to get so distracted by the “busy-ness” of our businesses that we forget our purpose, our mission, or our vision for our life and who we hope to be.

I want my life to be about giving back, helping others and being of service, but then the days happen. I move from one to-do item to the next, and before you know it, a month or three months or even a year has passed, and I haven’t really spent a big portion of my time encompassing or embodying the traits that I hope will make up the biggest portion of my character.

I don’t know the answer for sure, not yet at least. Maybe we figure it out with time, with age and with wisdom. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I hope there comes a time when I can focus much less on the things I hope to do and much more on the person I want to be.

Maybe instead of (or at least alongside) a to-do list, I should have a “to-be” list and then make a concerted effort to complete them both.

How do you instill more of the “being” even with all the “doing”?

Photo by Flickr user foxspain, licensed under CC 2.0

9 Responses to “Building a Life and Business of Character”

  1. Interesting post. Your question is always something of a personal struggle for many freelancers. Like, where do they draw the line between their work and what they want to be. Luckily for me, my passion is writing and I’d say I’m doing what I love in the first place. Cheers!

  2. I’ve come across these thoughts as well. I think there are some answers out there, but it’s a matter of how you find them and which ones work for you. One of the best things I’ve come across is the whole “mindfulness” movement revisited by people like Jon Kabat-Zinn. Sometimes we forget that a life is comprised of moments, and that the best thing we can do is simply be conscious (or at least try to be) in every moment we can.

  3. Amber,

    That was a really thought provoking post. I don’t know how/why we lose sight of things really, but I feel that when we want something more than something else, that is what we focus on. We may also want to do for others or go for a long walk for example, but we get working our business and can’t get away. I also think that once you get going and grow to the level of success you want to achieve, you can focus on those other things that you have held close to your heart. What do you think?

    • Thanks, Alex. Glad you liked the post. I agree and think, too, that whatever it is that we do each day, even things we think we don’t want or say we don’t want, pay off for us in some way (not necessarily in a good way). We might not exercise, because we’d rather take the easy route and be lazy. Even just the payoff of not having to face a fear or the effort needed to get through something can be a strong enough deterrent to keep us from following through. It’s interesting how our minds work and challenging to figure out how to work around them.