What makes us a unique species is not just an opposable thumb or an awareness of time or a capacity for language.
What makes us different is the urge to tinker. We can’t leave well enough alone. Whether it was a stick, a meal of meat and plants, or a whole community, we have always sought ways to make it just a little (and sometimes a lot) better.
We want to make it different. We want to make a difference. Making a difference is a creative act. Making a difference means transforming something from what it is into something different and better.
We want work where, when we’ve finished for the day, what is is not like what was. By an infinitesimal nudge we have changed the world we are in. We have made a difference.
Until we find ourselves in that work, we are lost.
Three Ways to Make a Difference In Business
We can create a space for a team to make a difference collectively. From cooperatives to ateliers to startups; from Jamie Oliver to Evernote – businesses can be platforms for people making a difference.
We can change something in the lives of our customers for the better. We do this through our products, our services, and the total experience customers have with us. We can bring pleasure, delight, well-being, convenience, beauty, healthier bodies and safer homes to those who do business with us. There are millions of values that benefit people, and a business to provide every one.
We can transform our own lives and the lives of our families. We can make a difference with the money we earn and the impact we have on our own lives and the lives of our communities. Every business owner is a net contributor. We are leaders in that we generate economic value, we give back to our communities, and we role model self-sufficiency, creativity and taking calculated risks that move whole communities forward.
When a business owner asks herself “Why am I doing this?” these are the answers. These are the ways we make a difference. If you can’t find these values in the work you do, it is time to find out why. You will remain lost until you do.