I look at my kids sometimes and wonder what their futures hold. I get concerned with what contribution they will make in this seemingly chaotic, noisy and chilly world, and I’m not naive in that just about every parent out there has similar angst.
When I recall my younger days, I realize that my parents and me were pretty worried about what I might contribute to the world. And after floating on the river like a grain of sand for a while, I finally decided to start building my own legacy—one that I took personally.
By harnessing our ambition to give back to our respective communities, we demonstrate what it means to take a job personally. Doing our best is taking the action because we love it, not because we expect a reward. The reality is that most of us do the exact opposite. We only take action when we expect a reward and we don’t enjoy the action. Ultimately, we fall short of our best.
When we enjoy our work so much that it becomes a reward in and of itself, our legacy starts to take shape naturally. We have found that uncovering real stories and actively listening to people is at the core of what we love. Because we take that work personally, we are able to mobilize an audience around a shared set of values, attract clients and build trust.
I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on the legacy you’re sculpting. Beyond extracting financial rewards, what are you contributing? Are you emotionally invested in your work? If not, consider where your values and ambitions intersect. Then figure out a way to apply your skills to impact the world.
Taking things personally was always considered bad in business. But it is quite the opposite. We must internalize what we do in order to be better for our clients and provide value. The irony is that the rewards you thought were paramount will follow anyway.
Our publishing process, where we uncover stories and present them to broader communities enables us to personalize business. We get a great understanding of others by getting personal. When you combine that with intrinsic motivation, beautiful things start to happen.
So take it from us—make your business personal.
CEO, Conduit, Inc.
Mark Potter is the CEO of Conduit Inc, a content marketing organization, which produces a variety of publications and community building programs including CANVAS Magazine. In addition, Mark is the author of the book, Egrets, Hockey Sticks, & Roller Skates and sits on the Electronic Document Scholarship Board.