I tell people that my mission is to help more people “live richer lives”, which invokes their curiosity. Being somewhat unclear, they often ask, “What does that mean?” I’m always glad as this is one of my favorite subjects to talk about. While many wonder if they will ever find greater new roles for their future, my experience has shown me that most work so hard at their jobs and family life that they rarely stop to ask themselves what kind of roles or opportunities could lead to even greater personal rewards? Will they, for as long as they can see into the future, be so consumed by their careers/business, not to mention their personal/family responsibilities, that what they are currently experiencing is about as rewarding as life gets? If you believe it is – especially as that applies to your life, then there’s not much point to me explaining the concept further.
On the other hand, my personal experience, and those of so many others, tells me that their present focus is not usually as “good as it gets”. While business and family life certainly can be rewarding in many ways, rarely do I find that most people’s current life is addressing their real purpose in the world, what they are passionate about, and how they want to leave society a bit better. They may be doing a great job of taking care of their personal needs (for safety, security, shelter, food, etc.), but that is better described as survival rather than real fulfillment. I believe it is when we shift some of our focus and efforts from satisfying our own needs and wants to helping others learn, grow, and thrive that we find real purpose and fulfillment. Borrowing the phrase made popular by Bob Buford in his book Halftime, this shift in focus is the first step in turning personal success into lasting significance.
So when I use the term “living a richer life”, I mean focusing one’s efforts on helping others in a manner that fulfills you personally, professionally, and emotionally. There are countless ways in which this notion can be realized, and each of us has the opportunity to determine what this looks like, who we help, how we help, and how much of our effort will be invested in this pursuit. But when we are in the zone where we are reaping great personal rewards because of the impact we are having on others, I believe it’s fair to say we are living a much richer life.
I also believe that you don’t have to be Bill Gates, a CEO, or run a Fortune 500 company to live this richer life as we all have something we can contribute (time, talent, or treasure). We just need to be willing to consider the ways that we can help others learn, grow, and thrive.
In 2016 I wrote Redefining Retirement: Finding Purpose and Passion in Your Second Half to focus on the great disappointment many feel when they follow the traditional retirement path of focusing mainly on leisurely activities during this significant time of life. As I described, a better alternative for so many leaving the business world can be found in giving of themselves to help others. This giving creates so much more happiness and satisfaction, continued personal growth, and the new purpose so important for a long, healthy and fulfilling life. I would describe this practice as Living a Richer Life.
Some of us also understand that we don’t necessarily need to wait until retirement to pursue purpose and passion. Many of us don’t even want to retire, preferring to continue in our business roles indefinitely. Again, incorporating purpose and giving into our daily (business) lives can greatly enhance the quality of life as we continue to grow and evolve. For the business professional, this can be a great way to stand out in crowded fields and be memorable. The practice can also help create a “brand” awareness so that others can more easily remember your work and how you help. Incorporating an important cause into your work or business can produce important new personal and professional satisfaction, build reputation, and generate new and lasting business. This approach certainly qualifies as Living a Richer Life.
So, are you ready for that next step in your personal journey and evolution?
How will you Live a Richer Life?