By Steve Touhill, Partner.
Recently, I had the honor of attending the 80th birthday party for the father of a lifelong friend. As I listened to the stories, toasts, and accolades directed toward this newly minted octogenarian, I observed that not a single anecdote had anything to do with his professional life. Even though he built a very successful professional services firm and inspiring stories could have been told of his business accomplishments, the party attendees talked about conversations cherished, moments experienced, and laughs shared with “Big Al”.
I am sure my friend’s dad would not apologize for the decades of long hours he invested to create a financial legacy for his family. Somehow, though, he still found time to raise three well-adjusted children who have built successful careers of their own; build a huge network of friends; and travel the world. How did he do it?
It’s too easy to ascribe his personal and professional success to “work-life balance” – those lines blur for anyone running his own business. Rather, I think it had more to do with what Napoleon Hill, the author of personal development classic, Think and Grow Rich, describes as a “Definite Purpose,” a burning desire to succeed in a life work. The foundation of that purpose, combined with self-confidence, initiative, action, enthusiasm, and concentration, among other factors documented by Hill as common among all successful individuals, enabled Big Al to provide so much to his family, friends, and community. In other words, a person on a mission, happy in his work and living with a purpose, can provide not only many of the material things that money can buy, but also serve as an inspirational role model for others and attract the things that money can’t buy: friendship, respect, and love.
I am a big believer in the works of Napoleon Hill, and find myself referring regularly to his Laws of Success to stay motivated and focused. In addition to using his principles for self-development, many managers leverage Hill’s principles to help employees define their own “Definite Purpose” and build upon that to inspire, guide, and maximize performance. As we hit the year’s midpoint, now is a good time to reflect on our “Definite Purpose” as individuals and teams, and make sure that we stoke that burning desire to achieve our professional and personal goals.
If you haven’t read Think and Grow Rich yet, get it. It’s a classic for a reason.