Just over two years ago I decided I was going to enjoy living a healthier lifestyle. I specifically remember it NOT being a difficult decision; and it was not about making abrupt radical changes. However, it is important that the decision was made and WHY it was made.
I wanted to improve my physical health, as well as my financial and emotional health; friends and family were in the mix somewhere too. I specifically did not have any goals in mind and just let the idea of enjoying being healthy serve as my guiding principle.
One of the first things I did was quit my job – more specifically, I quit the stresses and often-toxic relationships that I endured to receive a paycheck.
Every couple months after that, I added a new element to my life that I enjoyed doing (so that it didn’t feel like work), and that would bring me closer to my objective of enjoying being healthy. One change was to increase the amount and variety of vegetables I ate each week. This lead to exploring dozens of new recipes (I do enjoy time in the kitchen), as well as a greater appreciation for food. Other additions were along the lines of exercise, stretching, de-cluttering (friends and possessions) meditation, and reading.
As I continue what I anticipate being a lifelong journey that excited me; I noticed several positive things were happening. I smiled more, gave and received more hugs and hi-fives, was clearer about my passions, had more energy, met new people (both friends and clients), explored new areas of my city, my clothes started fitting better, and people asked what I was doing to lose weight.
My answer is always about the same; “I am not exactly sure, as I do not own a scale; but it is likely about 20-25 pounds. As far as how I did it; I just continue to make simple healthy choices that I can enjoy doing. Anyone can do that!”
Scales are easy to get and use, and our pants are a suitable measuring device for our waist. The boxes of packaged foods make it easy to track the calories, grams of fat, sodium, and carbohydrates. But monitoring and measuring these will not lead to a healthy life. But just because they are easy to use, doesn’t make them beneficial. Rather than relying on what is convenient; I choose to measure important things that actually relate to happiness and healthiness. While they offer a lot of flexibility and interpretation, I have found them to be surprisingly consistent.
I share this story because it is easy for others to relate and understand. It makes simple sense that by setting my focus on enjoying being healthy; changing the shape of my body was going to happen along the way, but the journey was much more tollerable.
The same thing works for businesses of all sizes as well. Sales, profits, and share prices are easy to measure. But I suggest they are the wrong metrics. When we use the wrong metrics, we open the door to unsustainable methods.
Like my focus of enjoying being healthy, a broader, holistic, approach with clear values is likely to produce long-term enjoyable results for all involved. The phrase Triple Bottom Line (coined by John Elkington) has been around since 1997, but many small and private companies have operated this way for centuries.
Develop a clear and compelling purpose for WHY the company was founded. Talk about how your personal passions support the business ones. Make it a part of your culture to encourage employees to do the same.
Get specific on where you want to go, and how you want the business to feel while it is growing. Share these with employees, customers, and vendors. As they understand these things, they will begin to bring you new ideas that support your quest.
Want proof that it works?
Disney, Ritz-Carlton, and Zappos.com built cultures and reputations on amazing customer service. Dozens of bestselling books have been published that explain their operating methodologies. They have training divisions that are completely focused sharing their systems with people OUTSIDE their organizations. All three are also industry leaders in revenues.
Along my journey, I was introduced to Simon Sinek’s book Start With WHY. I highly recommend checking it out.
A final point is the steady growth of B-Corporations who developed a new set of rules for operating a responsible, public company. Even though this is still in its infancy; more and more companies are beginning to behave this way. And consumers are supporting it with their purchases as well.