Building a successful business isn’t enough

Apple is one of the most successful companies ever, and has grown to be worth nearly $900 billion.

Steve Jobs, the company’s iconic founder, died at age 56 in 2011. While Jobs is well known for his business prowess, he also had a reputation for not being nice to a lot of people. He had a great company, but left a lot of miserable people in his wake.

Business history is littered with successful company builders who were failures in life, leaving behind a trail of broken families, lawsuits and bad memories.

While we are driven to succeed, we have to ask ourselves: What price we are willing to pay?

A passage from the Bible (Mark 8:36-37) sums it up well: “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”

I started to ask myself questions about what I was doing and how I was doing it.

After reading “40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life” several times, I decided to contact Tommy Newberry, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author. He asked me if I had a mission statement for my life. Realizing I didn’t, he helped me craft one. I took time to reflect on some of life’s tough questions. What did I want my life to be about? Who was I seeking to please? How would I be viewed as a father and a husband? As a son? An employer? A friend?

I wrote out the mission statement, and he made some changes, taking “I will” statements and changing them to “I am” statements. These weren’t promises to be kept in the future; they were things I needed to start on immediately.

As a business leader, it’s easy to get caught up in the spirit of competition, focusing on who has the most money, the biggest house or the best stock portfolio. But it’s a shame to go through life and miss its true meaning. We have to take the time to stop, reflect and ask the question: “What’s life all about?” Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Focusing on the wrong things will cause us to miss the big picture. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to ask yourself what your values, goals and objectives are for life. It’s also time you start acting on them.
It’s never too late to change our ways.

Take time to pause and reflect about what’s really important in life. The best place to start is with a blank piece of paper. Write down who you want to be to the people who are important to you, and what it will take to get there.

When we know who we want to be and how to get there, we need to start working on it immediately. There’s always hope, and there’s always time to change.

Fred Koury is president and CEO at Smart Business Network