A year or two ago, I read Clayton Christensen’s book How Will You Measure Your Life? It was a transformative book for me not only because of its good advice but because it helped me see that business can have a moral impact. Until that point, I had eschewed ideas of a business degree and viewed business’s focus solely as money-making, but after reading it, I saw that I could apply theories and models from business to help me make decisions in my life that have nothing to do with money and everything to do with living a meaningful, impactful life.
This week, I read Christensen’s article of the same title in the Harvard Business Review. I assume the article predates the book and is likely the basis of the book. Regardless, the article was a good refresher on the content of the book and a reminder of the importance of people in all that I do. In particular, he concludes his comments with this note:
Don’t worry about the level of individual prominence you have achieved; worry about the individuals you have helped become better people.
— Clayton M. Christensen
This continues the message I’ve heard loud and clear for the last several weeks as I’ve studied entrepreneurship. If my desire is to have an impact then people should be my focus.
As I turn my eyes outward and ask less often, “What should I do to be successful,” and more often ask, “What can I do to help another,” I will find my life heads down the path of greater impact and meaning that I seek. I may not become rich in worldly terms, but I will know that I am making a difference in the lives of my family, friends, coworkers, and community, and that brings with it a greater sense of peace and accomplishment than any price tag can measure.