As I was recently discussing some of my personal and professional goals with a good friend of mine, he wisely reminded me that business is just a platform. Ultimately, my personal and professional goals are one in the same, and it doesn’t matter what the platform is that helps me achieve them, as long as it provides a space to think, learn, grow and evolve.
Too often we get caught up in what we are doing and forget to utilize our daily moments and experiences to grow as individuals. Every interaction we have with our spouses, children, co-workers, and friends inherently provides growth opportunity. And if we miss it, the opportunity will surely come around again.
So what does it mean to say “business is a platform?” Your work or your business provides a space for you to overcome challenges, grow personally, refine the way you work with others and build relationships. It wouldn’t matter if your “business” or “platform” was sports, arts, or community service. When a professional baseball player goes into a slump, or gets traded, or is in the coach’s “dog house,” he is given the opportunity to grow, learn and create in ways that, if done thoughtfully, will serve him in all aspects of his life.
On a daily basis, we spend more than half of our waking hours, and most of our productive time, in this platform we call business. We are asked to balance so many life challenges that if we don’t utilize this time and space as our personal growth platforms, we are missing huge opportunities. What is the point of leaving the people we love the most every morning? Is it for the next big deal? The promotion? The increase in pay? All of the above can provide short-term satisfaction and justification for the time and energy we spend daily, but the pursuit alone will ultimately produce rather empty results and leave us feeling frustrated or even resentful. We will ultimately be subject to repaving the same path and the road will not end–and certainly will not change–if we don’t focus on our goals and shift our behaviors toward who we want to be along that path.
By using this thing we call “business” as a platform for growth and change, we have the ability to reshape who we are and how we interact with others, the world and, most importantly, ourselves.