I have been thinking of ideas my whole life about how to make the world a better place. Naive of me, right?
But I can and do have an impact in my business. And the way I approach and conduct my business is the only thing I really have control over.
What I believe is that we can all make a difference. But this can’t just be a nice, throwaway phrase. I think it needs to be central to the way we all do business.
So, I won’t tell you what you should do, or what politicians or big businesses should do. But here are the principles I strive to live by to encourage a successful and sustainable “Make-A-Difference Economy.”
I will conduct my business with honesty and integrity
As someone in a career devoted to marketing for almost 40 years, marketing is not something we usually think of as honest. Marketing stretches the truth and puts “lipstick on a pig.” But unethical or blatantly dishonest marketing practices will only hurt a business in the long run.
I will treat everyone with respect and kindness
We are living in a put-down economy. Everyone seems to be angry at anyone who thinks differently than they do. This is simply not sustainable and ultimately eats away at our souls. I’ve always appreciated the Dalai Lama quote: “My religion is kindness.”
I will fully tap my resourcefulness and creativity
We all have unique gifts and talents that we can leverage to make a difference. Nothing is more disappointing to me than intelligent people who squander their gifts in trivial or meaningless pursuits. If I’m going to make a difference, I need to have a clear purpose and apply myself as fully as possible.
I will make serving people more important than profit
I keep asking myself how I can serve more people and make the biggest difference without watering down my offerings or charging exorbitant fees out of expediency or greed. I discovered several years ago that making more money didn’t make me happier. But serving people brings an abundance of fulfillment and joy.
I will keep my word
I am very careful about making promises. It’s so easy to say you’ll do something and then deliver nothing – without a second thought. I don’t know about you, but I want to be able to sleep soundly every night. This really isn’t hard. I simply will not lie, and I keep my word.
I will deliver more than I promise
I think we all need to fight the tendency to cut corners, exaggerate benefits, and deliver less than we promised. Early in my career, I learned about “going the extra mile” which simply means delivering more than promised every single time.
I will commit to excellence.
It’s impossible to do anything perfectly. Perfection is a trap that leads to feelings of inadequacy. But a commitment to excellence is a sincere effort to do your best and improve a little each and every day. You’ll never beat yourself up if you sincerely do your best.
I will be accountable for my decisions and actions
Like everyone, I’ve made mistakes. Lots of mistakes! And mistakes lead to either justification or self-recrimination. Instead, how about accountability: “I’m sorry, I made a mistake. What can I do to make it right?” And then do it.
I believe that living by these principles will help the “Making-A-Difference Economy” become a reality.
I notice when I stick to these principles that my business works, my clients get served, I make decent money, and I experience the world and life as meaningful and purposeful.
How about you?
What are the principles you are committed to in your business? What will you do to support the “Making a Difference Economy?”
I invite you to make your comments below.