Why do we start a business?
To make money? Is that it? Is that ALL there is? Could there more to it than that?
Make new friendships? Have fun? That sounds a little more “user-friendly”!
Go a bit deeper and look.
Do we want a legacy? Yes? If so, how do we do that?
And what is a legacy? Is it the structures? The people? Or something more intangible?
Everything You See Will Disappear
Take a look at your business. Look at the buildings, offices, computers, the people. Think of the systems, the products you sell, the services rendered. Imagine the computers, the software, your website.
It will all disappear. All of it.
You will be gone. You may leave your great business to your kids or a successor. They will die and be gone. They may leave it to their kids. Ultimately, they, too, will be gone.
This is just the nature of everything we see. It is all created stuff destined to disappear. To fade into the source that it came from.
Take a look at this picture. John, one of my best friends, did it. Beautiful, isn’t it.
And, what a delightful symbol. We all see the water right behind it. The tide will come in and sweep it away. Back from where it came.
That is your business.
Feeling freed up, or despairing?
I hope it frees you a bit from the grip of control we all – as business owners – can have on our businesses. (Or the business controlling us)! We created our businesses and we want to be proud of them. We WANT them to last! To leave a legacy…
But wait, there is one thing that lasts…
I will come to it, keep reading.
There is a style of painting called “Buddha art”. You start with a blank canvas, water, a brush, and evaporating ink.
You draw a beautiful painting. The water evaporates and the canvas turns blank.
Can we hold our businesses so lightly? Creating them as art. Letting them fade and re-create them daily?
How does that image make you feel? Less stressed, I hope…
Saint Theresa of Lisieux
Saint Theresa entered a Convent in France at the age of 15. She died at age 24. She lived a simple life. St. Theresa did not create an order, nor start a business, or a publishing house.
What she did do – and she is a great example for us – is this. She decided to love her fellow Sisters with all her heart. She did every small thing – washing dishes, sweeping the floor, serving others – with love. With love, she transformed a relationship with a grumpy older nun into a loving, caring one.
When people visit the convent, they are absolutely shocked at how small it is. They imagined a large Convent at the center of acres of gardens. No, it was tiny.
What is remarkable about her life is that she wrote so little. She was not ambitious in the physical sense. Yet she touches the hearts of millions through her book, “The Little Way”. She is a Doctor of the Church. One of a small few.
What has this got to do with business?
Legacy. Her legacy lives because she did small things with love.
Are we trying to conquer the world with our stunning acumen, great systems, brilliant competence?
Where is the love? The kindness?
“Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die”.
Your Business Legacy
Your business legacy will be how much you did each act with love.
That is all that will remain. The tide washes the mandala back to sea. The ink disappears on the ink painting. In your business, what remains is the love you put in.
Imagine doing each act, each day, with all your love. How you talk to your team. The way you interact with your clients. An email dripping with softeners and kindnesses.
Build your business with skillful finesse and let that skill overflow with love.
The chances the “things” of your business will last a wee bit longer than the sand mandala above expand in direct proportion to the love poured in.
And who will we all become in the process?
Thanks for reading…