I’m a business coach. It says so right at the top of this blog page. It says the same thing on my home page and on my business cards. And I make no apologies for that because I love being a business coach. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: There’s more to life than just succeeding in business.
That probably doesn’t come as a big shock to you. And yet, we invest a lot of time, energy, and thinking in pursuit of fulfilling our business purposes. We work on developing clearly defined business goals. We take advantage of tools that help us measure our progress. We understand the importance of regularly reviewing where we are in relationship to our business goals. And if we find we’re off course, we make adjustments so that our thoughts and our actions are in line with those goals.
What about the rest of our lives? We may say there’s more to life than just succeeding in business, but do we take the same approach to our overall life purpose? And how does your business purpose align with your life purpose?
Sometimes you’ll hear people try to make a distinction between their business life and the rest of their life. You’ll hear comments such as: “Business is business, and personal is personal.” But if your business purpose and your personal purpose are at odds with one another, it creates all kinds of tension: You’ll have interpersonal conflicts (both at home and at work). And if you’re of two minds, you’ll also struggle with yourself when it’s time to make tough decisions.
There is great power in having both a life purpose and a business purpose that are in sync. It doesn’t mean that you run your personal or family life like a business, but it should mean that some of the things that are important to you in one arena are also important to you in the other.
A while back, I profiled what I consider to be a great company: Whole Food. If you didn’t get a chance to read that profile, I’d encourage you to take a look at it. For the folks as Whole Food, their business purpose lines up with the kind of people they want to be. I’m convinced that this is part of their secret to success.
What about you? Do your business purposes also help you in the pursuit of your personal life purposes? You probably won’t be in business forever. What will you have (aside from material things) when you finally walk away from your business? Are you dividing your energy between competing purposes—or are your business activities also taking you toward your personal life goals?
What do you do when your business goals and your life goals appear to clash?