May 06 2012

Business is NOT life or death!

“If you think sometimes

                          

  that you just can’t win,

                      

remember that life

                       

is not a contest!”

— Kathy Alpiar

 

She reminded me of this shortly before her life struggles ended this past March at age 55. She had reminded me of it often over the last 25 years of our marriage . . .  almost always after my face retreated into my hands bemoaning some frustrating situation or another that I had somehow boxed myself into. I’m told everyone does this on occasion?

If you’re an American, you probably grew up with the conviction that everything you had to deal with every day –from school and Scouts to college or trade school and a career to marriage and family raising– was (is) a contest!

Admittedly, in a nation dominated by sports performance and competition at literally every level of life, it’s hard to grasp that “life is not a contest.”

But it’s NOT a contest.

(Workaholics, please re-read those last five words!)

  • Life is a gift. It is a blessing. We either consciously or unconsciously choose to embrace it, or choose to waste it.

  • Life is a waste when it’s obsessively dedicated to ultimately meaningless, make-believe values — making money, acquiring things, trying to impress, being self-serving and self-indulgent, putting others down, bullying, chastising differences, thinking and acting dishonestly.

                                                  

How much of our precious time on Earth is wasted each day trying to get even; trying to undermine, manipulate, or represent ourselves as more than what we are; trying to pretend; trying to bait those who are weaker into our arena so we can defeat them or make them look foolish? Can any of that possibly be serving our true best interests?

If the answer to that question about how much time, by the way, is anything more than one minute, it may be worthwhile to think twice about Kathy’s quote. In other words, is our purpose here on this planet to make a difference?

How important is integrity?

                                   

Kathy wasn’t suggesting that we all abandon competition and head for some mountaintop to meditate on our navels. Of course we have to be responsible to earn a living and pay our bills. But what she was saying was that there’s a whole lot more to life than having such narrow pursuits d-i-c-t-a-t-e human existence.

Entrepreneurs get pounded over the head with these finger-waving “take time to smell the flowers” thoughts because they tend to disappear into a product/service development zone to the exclusion of friends, family, and many of life’s joyful experiences. They substitute the pursuit of “success” to the exclusion of what’s around them. I know because I’ve been there.

But I’ve come to realize that return on investment is not the sole province of business. ROI has also to do with having an ongoing sense of humor, a conscious effort to cultivate only positive stress, making room in our lives for living, keeping our promises, and being perpetually focused on service to others. Thanks Kathy.

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Hal@Businessworks.US    302.933.0116

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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