In 2020, I was part of a monthly class hosted by Business Mastery Club, an initiative sponsored by The Plenipotent Company. During one particular online class tagged Answers for your Business, one of the answers the seasoned facilitator gave got me thinking.
It was an answer to the question of how to keep going as an entrepreneur even through difficult times. The facilitator listed three fundamentals required to run a successful business―and in my opinion, to lead a fulfilled life.
Want to know all three? Then read to the end.
Know this truth and know peace
The first one is this: it’s not about you. I know what you’re thinking. You’re probably wondering who it is about then if it’s not about you. The correct answer might surprise you just as it shocks entrepreneurs who rush into business thinking only about themselves.
It’s about the market. It’s about your employees and your family members. It’s about the people in your sphere of influence and the local community. This is as true for running a successful business as it is for leading a fulfilled life.
It’s never about you.
Take a moment to assess your life. How does it better the lives of those around you? How can you add value to your family, friends and other members of your network? Remember, it’s all about the difference we make in the lives of others.
In the words of Albert Schweitzer, I know not what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be truly happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.
Picture it this way: true success and fulfilment come from serving others.
I like the way Winston Churchill put it: We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. Both the Good Book and an old Chinese proverb agree on the eternal truth that you will always have if you always give.
These are the pertinent questions for you here: What do you have to give? How much of your talents, gifts and resources are you willing to commit to the wellbeing and happiness of others? True business success―and true fulfilment―lies in genuine service.
Only those who have this requirement succeed.
The second fundamental is a powerful drive. To run a successful business or lead a fulfilling life, you need a drive that stems from a history that you don’t want to repeat or a future you want to create. Your drive could even stem from both―and that’s even better.
A history that you don’t want to repeat could be something unpleasant in your background that you desire to put an end to in your own life. For example, perhaps you don’t want to be as financially handicapped or dependent as your parents or guardians.
As for a future you want to create, this is pretty straightforward. It involves a drive towards specific lofty achievements―a discernible ambition to attain certain heights or feats at some points during your lifetime.
Why do you even need a drive in the first place? How does an unstoppable drive help you to achieve your deepest desires? Don’t worry if you’ve not guessed the right answer yet. I’ll tell you.
Difficult times will come when you’ll feel like quitting. It’s your drive that will keep you going despite whatever is happening around you. Dear reader, do you have a desire to create a better future or avoid repeating an unpalatable history? If not, develop one today.
The number one life skill
The readiness to learn as you go is the third fundamental. The most important skill for survival, success, and significance either as a business or as an individual is the readiness to learn. Today’s world is constantly changing and new realities are emerging daily.
Knowledge now becomes outdated by the day. The prized skills of today may no longer be of much of value in the market tomorrow. There are always novel tools, methods and devices to master to remain relevant and valuable.
Learning, therefore, is a lifelong hustle.
In the course of evolution, only those species who adapt favourably to changing realities get to live and continue living. And what’s adaptation if not learning new ways to survive and thrive in an active, practical manner? Adapt or die―evolve or perish.
Your capacity to acquire new skills and competencies as times change is what keeps you alive and ahead. Like this ability, nothing else separates you from those who get swept away into ruin and oblivion. What’s more? Learning keeps you young at heart.
Individuals and businesses who fail to notice emerging trends and align themselves accordingly will either become less valuable or fully irrelevant. If you don’t want to suffer such fate, you must keep learning.
You simply have to learn, unlearn and relearn to stay relevant.
So, dear reader, as you go about your life and business, remember that it’s not about you. Wisdom teaches us to be guided by a single ethic―service above self. After all, every man discovers their ultimate, unique self only in the course of genuine service to others.
Besides, you need a powerful drive that constantly inspires and motivates you. A drive potent enough to keep you going even when the chips are down and the going gets tough. When you have this kind of drive, even those around you can perceive it. That’s not all.
Of course, you must always be learning. Eric Hoffer’s words should motivate you: “In times of change, learners inherit the earth.” You must at all times seek to upgrade your skillset and assets to cater to new demands and keep up with the ever-changing business, economic and social landscape.
My tagline reads Learn more, earn more. We’re now in the information age where the degree to which you can apply your wealth of knowledge directly translates to how successful you could become. Thus, more gainful application of knowledge equals more success.
You can serve others better, possess a potent drive and never stop learning. You can run a successful business and/or lead a fulfilled life.
You can do it. It’s in you.