Life strategy vs. business strategy

As human beings we are hard-wired to want to grow and improve; what we must avoid is to only focus on the areas where this kind of progression can be measured.

An engrossing focus on business strategy can be deceptively alluring.

For most people, business is a lot like sport; it's fascinating because of the immediate numerical feedback it gives you.

If an ad campaign that you chose to run was successful - you know it was a good decision because you'll pick up an increase in your sales numbers.

If you didn't think through a strategic option clearly enough and it results in a negative performance that you didn't expect, the loss of revenue is going show on your income statement. The evidence of performance or non-performance is clear.

Psychologically this is why we love playing the game of business - there is a nice clear scoreboard that tells you how you are doing.

In life however, not everything that is important can be measured.

The state of the relationship that you have with your family, your health, your wellbeing, your overall level of happiness - these things are not easily measured by numbers that give you a sense that you're going in the right direction.

They are however far more important than the sales targets that we tend to spend many hours of every day figuring out how to achieve.

Life strategy vs. business strategy

Without a well-considered personal life strategy, a great business strategy will serve only as a temporary distraction from what's really going on in your life.

You'll be happy to play the business game for as long as it draws your attention away from what else is going on, but you will never personally be free from your dependancy that the positive feedback from business gives you.

When hard business times hit, numbers turn negative and sales slump (which they inevitably will) the negative consequences on your self-esteem and confidence will be profound, which ironically will affect your professional performance far more than if you had originally had a holistic life strategy to begin with.

First figure out your life's purpose

The first step then in creating a good business strategy is to look away from business entirely and first figure out what your personal life purpose is.

What you do professionally and who you choose to do it with should then be seen as a part of this.

Figuring this out is by no means a quick and easy thing to do - it takes commitment and a huge amount of self awareness, but much like building a house on a solid foundation, it's a vital thing to do.

As human beings we are hard-wired to want to grow and improve; what we must avoid is to only focus on the areas of life where this kind of progression can be measured.

As Clayton Christensen once wrote: 'The choice and successful pursuit of a profession is but one tool for achieving your purpose. But without a purpose, life can become hollow.'