When was the last time you heard your spouse or a friend say, "Don't forget to smell the flowers along the way?" Perhaps you need to take inventory and evaluate the things that matter most. This can mean different things to different people. Regardless, there are some common denominators for most of us.
Many young entrepreneurs say, "When I become financially independent I'm going to give back to society, contribute to good causes, help the less fortunate and travel while spending lots of time with my family."
A few follow through and do remarkable and praiseworthy things. Others haven't quite arrived at that point yet but still have good intentions. Too many, however, are just chasing rainbows, thinking that someday they'll get to it. To those of us in the latter category, what we have never seems to be enough: not enough money, not enough things, not enough time or energy. Forgotten are the idealistic dreams that originally inspired us to risk and sacrifice our today for a better tomorrow.
When we loose sight of our purpose in life, we are not fulfilled when we do reach — or even surpass — our goals. We just end up with stuff that's measured in power, fame or fortune. If our purpose is neglected along
the way, we are empty-handed indeed. Some find themselves without family or friends and are emotionally bankrupt. We see so many of the wealthiest people living unhappy and unfulfilled lives. Is it possible that they lost their way or forgot what the journey was all about? Did they miss the best part of the journey, smelling the flowers for themselves while planting seeds for others?
There are many wonderful people who continually focus their efforts for good purposes. They leave comfort zones and give what they have to help the less fortunate here and abroad. We will call them social entrepreneurs. They are teaching, financing and building. Their goal is to help others help themselves and have a better life.
We are reminded that wealth is relative. All of us are rich in the eyes of most other nations. Each of us can do something right now to help others while we prosper. Remember the quote, I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. That which I can do I will do, and it will make all the difference.
Think and act now. Think of being financially independent right now. Be a philanthropist right now. It doesn't matter how much we're worth or the size of our income, only our desire and commitment.
Some may think it's heresy to have business motives other than profits. They may feel that financial success or winning at any cost is the American way. They're wrong. They may win the contest, but what is their prize?
So when someone says, "Stop and smell the flowers . . . I take inventory and do something good! Include a bit of social entrepreneurship in your business plan and your immediate life's goals. Reach out to someone. You will feel wonderful and you will be a better entrepreneur.
Socially and otherwise.