Leadership with heart, mind, and soul

Two Books You Should Read

Added on by Sam Davidson.

I picked up Mark Albion's book, True to Yourself after I saw it displayed near mine at the Net Impact bookstore at last month's conference.

I read it in two days.

I bought Randy Komisar's The Monk and the Riddle a few months ago at a used bookstore. I took it with me to Madison when I went to talk about turning your passion into your profession.

I read it in two days.

Because when a book is good, you want to get to the end to see how it all turns out. Some people do this with suspenseful novels. I do this with business-related books that are packed with information, ideas and stories that remind us it's not how much we make but how we're making it that really counts.

Albion's book comes out of the world of social enterprise. He showcases how founders, leaders and employees of companies can make a difference while they make products and profits. With a keen understanding of what values-based businesses look like and how they operate, Albion shows the reader not only how they can start one, but also how they can make sure it remains focused on what's important while growing and transitioning.

If you want your business to mean something, read this book.

Komisar's work is equally as valuable to the passion-based entrepreneur. Through a compelling story of one man's attempt to start, grow and sell a Web-based company, Komisar walks the reader through the steps one can take to make sure what you're doing is valuable. But, thankfully, he shows that value is not just in a balance sheet, but in a balanced life.

Komisar contrasts the Deferred Life Plan with the Whole Life Plan. In the former, you do what you have to now in order to do what you want later. In the latter, you integrate what you want to do with what you need to do. After all, if you're working for 40 years in order to do what you love when you retire, you might not make it.

Both books reminded me that now is the time to make a difference, have an impact and change the world. Both reads also take into account the realism that takes shape in the form of budgets, deadlines and other real-world parameters that too often become excuses.

But, if we are to be happy, and not just rich, if we are to be whole, and not just decorated, if we are to be meaningful, and not just admired, we must take Komisar's words to heart:

Only the Whole Life Plan leads to personal success. It has the greatest chance of providing satisfaction and contentment that one can take to the grave, tomorrow. In the Deferred Life Plan there will always be another prize to covet, another distraction, a new hunger to sate. You will forever come up short.

Work hard, work passionately, but apply your most precious asset – time – to what is most meaningful to you. What are you willing to do for the rest of your life? does not mean, literally, what will you do for the rest of your life? That question would be absurd, given the inevitability of change. No, what the question really asks is, if your life were to end suddenly and unexpectedly tomorrow, would you be able to say you've been doing what you truly care about today? What would you be willing to do for the rest of your life? What would it take to do it right now?

Do something that matters.

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