In last Wednesday’s post, I introduced the Money magazine interview of Clayton Christensen, the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration with the Harvard Business School (“How Should You Measure Success?: Clayton Christensen Says to Total Up Your Relationships, Not Your Paychecks” Money October 2012, pp. 96–100).  In addition to his hardcore business knowledge, Christensen speaks to the deeper truths of personal and professional happiness.

As a businessperson, you invariably have many opportunities to help other people.  The extent to which you truly take that to heart says much about who you are on the inside—your character.  Are you always just thinking about yourself or do you think about how you will positively affect others?  In seeking happiness and fulfillment in life and in business, Christensen reminds us of the central role played by investing in other people:

“The way I ought to measure my life is in terms of the others I helped to become better and happier people.  That’s the biggest thing to think about if you’re not happy.  Very little intrinsic happiness comes from an achievement like ‘Am I a vice president?’  The satisfaction you get from investing in other people stays with you your whole life.” (pp. 98, 100)

Many things in our lives can be lost or stolen.  Many things in our lives can be bought.  One thing that can never be lost, stolen, or bought is the positive impact you have had in helping another person to become better and happier.  That has staying power because it is an investment in another person’s life.

Part of the reason I thoroughly enjoy investing in other people is I remember all the people who invested in me.  Therefore, I have an automatic joy at being able to help others.  I am simply too grateful for what has been invested in me to let it go to waste.

Jobs and titles come and go.  Circumstances can change on a dime.  But how you and I have conducted ourselves as businesspersons and as leaders will stick with people.

If we have chosen to invest in others, that creates a lasting legacy.  And especially these days, we need a lot more of those.

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Tyco Integrated Security at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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