Two Great Questions

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My brother visited us from Philadelphia this past week. We had a really nice time before he headed to our parents in Florida. When I was driving him back to the airport I started to discuss the presentation I have been putting together to talk with people about giving and making a difference in the world. I explained my approach including my personal story about how I got involved in social activity. My brother listened to what I said and he felt like something was missing, that I needed to engage the audience first and help them identify with my story.

So, he said that I should ask two questions before I get into the presentation. Now, I love starting presentations with questions so this was so perfect for me. Then what he said was brilliant. He said the first question that I should ask the audience is “How many of you believe that you are successful?” His assumption was that just about everyone would raise the hands. The followup question would be the key one, which he suggested I ask “How many of you are deeply, deeply satisfied by that success or is there still something missing?” That is exactly how I have seen it over the past few years.

Now I feel like I have been extremely successful in my life. We have worked hard as a business and Ilise and I have worked hard to create a wonderful family and raise two special kids. But, in the end success is just not enough. I am learning that making a difference in the world and giving back is so much more fulfilling than being successful. Purpose is what is driving me, not success, and it is proving extremely satisfying.

Now, the ability to make a difference without being poor is proving to be important as well. I am able to spend quality time learning about the social impact community while still making a living. There are many I am meeting that have sold businesses or have significant wealth that are doing the same thing. Having financial freedom helps immensely when you are trying to make a difference in the world. The more people I talk with the more I learn about why I continue to be driven by this mission.

After close to a year of focus on this effort I have finally identified the three areas where I will be focusing my efforts. The first area is pretty obvious, mentoring young entrepreneurs. I have been working with business owners for close to 20 years and I have learned a lot. I feel very comfortable looking to help young people gain the wisdom they need to build better businesses. The second area of focus will be working with others like myself to identify what is missing in the eco-system to help organizations function more effectively. The social sector is so early in its development and there are many pieces still missing. The final area that I will focus on is public speaking which brings me back to the questions my brother posed. How do I get people to understand that success is just not enough.

There is still so much to do, but every day I get a little bit closer. I am excited about the coming year and what our efforts will produce. I can only tell you that the personal satisfaction I am getting from this work exceeds everything else I have done in my life. The results will be even more satisfying.

‘Til next time …….

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