Monday, February 11, 2008

Selfless

I met with a colleague today who is going through a divorce. We had calendared a chunk of time to brainstorm. Storm we did, but only after engaging more important stuff.

We talked about the selfless sacrifice of relationships, heavy stuff. And, we shifted gears to the immeasurable magnitude of giving yourself to your children, a subject that’s too important for this top-of-mind forum. It’s all about my kids, she shared. They are everything.

When you’re single, you are one. When you date, you become a pair. When you marry, you lean back toward one, but not quite; you become more allocentric, but maintain your self. When you have kids, you give and bear all. It is a cleansing and rewarding, exhausting and exhilarating, introspective and learning, patience-testing and fulfilling experience. It’s cool.

Flipping to the funny pages – less important stuff like entrepreneurship – building a company is similar, though with much less gravity. Successful enterprises are driven by selfless individuals. Ego plays a part, but it’s not the most important thing; team members park their self interests for the betterment of the cause. The company counts, not the accomplishments of individuals. Your slice of the pie may shrink, but it’s a larger and tastier pie.

I think you can be competitively, aggressively, and successfully selfless. When you help others succeed, you win; when you’re primarily concerned about yourself, you lose. Giving and sharing is a lot easier than taking and keeping.

Not only can we learn a lot from kids – in a creative, ideation sense – but we can garner much from the virtues of parenting. They are, as my friend expressed, everything.

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