The following is adapted from Life Profitability.
“Time waits for no man.” Those immortal words of wisdom were first credited to the man whom many consider to be the finest English poet and author of the Middle ages, Geoffrey Chaucer. Hundreds of years later, the jarring truth and unavoidable reality of the sentiment remains just as powerful and poignant today.
The idea is that you have limited time on this Earth. We all do. So, why would you spend every waking hour of it thinking about your business, when there is so much more to experience. Most importantly, you don’t have to exclude business from your life. Rather, you should include it as one aspect of equal importance to many other things.
Of course, the stakes in business are high, but are they higher than life and death? You must make sure that your entrepreneurial journey enables and promotes life lived to its fullest.
To do that, you must build and sustain a life-profitable business. That means removing work from the center stage of life and replacing it with your more holistic self. From that core, you can create ripples that carry with them meaning for yourself and others.
Whatever you do ripples outward, moving through time and space into the lives of others and the world forever. In a sense, actions even ripple backward into the past, reforming narratives about lives that have gone before. This notion of our actions affect the past, present, and future is what we often refer to as legacy.
Of course, you want your life to be a legacy of meaningful action. But you must commit to and take action on that—on opening up your universe of possibility.
Although you start and end this life as an individual, the ripples you create eventually wash out, for better or for worse. You want your legacy to be purposeful and right, fully expressing your self-actualized self. And you must make your business facilitate that development.
What does meaningful legacy mean for you? Your entrepreneurial journey to this point might have translated to a legacy of absence; one where you’ve missed too much of family, friends, social activities, a sense of community, and a belongingness in the world. Have you missed out on life because of a work-first mindset?
If that sounds like the life you’re currently living—or the work you’re currently living—your legacy will likely be one where people remember the business you created and not the humanness of your being; not the values you embodied, not the spouse or parent you were, not the friend who was there when someone needed you, and ultimately, not the life you lived outside of anything but a business.
It’s never too late, however to reshape your legacy. Adjust your journey now, not only as an entrepreneur of business but as an entrepreneur of your life. Your legacy will become more aligned with however it is you want to be remembered.
When I think about legacy, I think about my boys and the difference that living life first and now means to them, and what it means to me.
A legacy of life profitability means showing up every day, manifesting more of myself so that others (like my boys) see and experience that. I think of it as leaving a path of breadcrumbs for them to follow to get to the heart of me, even if I am long gone. I think about the breadcrumbs they’ll find in the anecdotes they’ll hear from others I touched. Those breadcrumbs, could be whether through the life profits I shared with my team and community, or the life profits I paid myself by spending quality time with my best friends and family. I want to show up in all of those spaces as often as I can to make sure the breadcrumbs are there.
I want the same for the people who love you. Decide right now that instead of costing your life, your business will profit it. Make that commitment to use those profits to show up as your truest self, pursuing those things you value most as often as you can. Make your life real, vibrant, and whole, and in turn, help others make their lives richer as well and contribute to their legacy.
If I ask you to tell me about the life you want to live, it’s a way of asking you to answer the greatest existential question of all: What is the meaning of life?
It’s different for each of us. It’s even different across the legs of your own journey as you change and evolve incrementally over time. The more purposeful question is:
What is your meaning of life? Think about how you want to live, what you want to experience, and how you want to be remembered. Live profitably and enjoy your renewed self.