I recently looked up the definition of “business” in Webster’s Dictionary and discovered 10 ways we can do business. Read through the list and assess how you are doing business these days.
1. Purposeful activity
The archaic definition of business, or busy-ness, referred to any purposeful activity. At the time, culturally this was a positive concept, being active and involved in something meaningful rather than wasting time. Today our emphasis needs to be on meaningful, purposeful activity rather than just filling time.
Is your work focused on a specific objective? Are you involved in a particular endeavor with an end result in mind? Then your business has intention. You are “going about the business of _______.” The clearer you are about that intention the more likely you are to achieve it.
Is your work or business about creating or concocting something? Are you making something by combining elements, something that has use or beauty to offer others? Combine this type of business with purpose and intention, and I believe you have something sacred.
Not all business or work generates income, but there is a kind of business that is focused on the creation of capital or resources. Blend this with the concept of “right livelihood” and you have a commercial endeavor founded on ethical practices. All too often conscious business people are skittish about making money, but the generation of resources for the benefit of others is just as valuable an endeavor as any you might pursue.
Are you fully engaged in what you do, “Getting down to business”? The day in day out nature of work or business can take a toll. Even meaningful activity can become a grind, and lose its value. Maintaining focus and heart-felt involvement creates transformational business. Keeping our purpose and intent (see #1 and 2) fresh and in front will increase our engagement.
Are you doing things differently, with unique impact, or it is just “business as usual”? When we do something that matters, it rarely has that “as usual” feeling. There are times, however, when we need to shake things up, try something new, and create a new paradigm. Openness to change is a component of ensuring the significance of our work
When an actor wishes to reveal a character’s true soul or flesh out a scene, they employ stage business. The slightest facial expression, muscle movement or prop placement can enlighten an audience and bring them in as participants in what is happening on stage. We have an opportunity to connect on a deeper level with colleagues, prospects, customers, and employees when we pay attention to the details of how our work is staged. Collecting data on how we are perceived is critical to ensuring our audiences keep coming back.
Minding our own business, or attending to our own concerns without intruding on someone else’s business is not easy. Business boundaries require we know where our concerns start and stop. They require we say “yes” to what is good for our work and a clear, unhesitant “no” to what is not. These boundaries will help us set our prices and get paid, allow us to express concern without owning problems, and hire and fire as needed.
“Giving someone the business” or using the “business end” of a stick is slang for an assault, a tongue lashing, or a double cross. Is there any way your business could be a destructive force? Whenever we touch lives, give advice, make recommendations or interact in any way, we run the risk of misunderstanding or even misleading someone. Taking full responsibility for our actions and examining our hearts and practices can go a long way to prevent harm.
It happens. When our pets “do their business” they leave excrement behind. What are you and your business leaving behind? On the occasion when an accident occurs, how are you cleaning up after yourself? Everybody poops. Everyone has physical and emotional “stuff” that needs to be taken care of. How are you taking care of yours?