As he’s known to do, Roy Williams has captured the challenge facing every ambitious American — especially in business and entrepreneurship. This appeared in the “rabbit hole” of his Monday Morning Memo today (by the way, this kind of insight happens literally every week in the memo; I suggest you subscribe):
America began as a nation of visionaries hungry for equality, freedom and opportunity. We were tired of living among lazy aristocrats.
We fought the Redcoats and won.
We soon took freedom for granted and opportunity was all around us. But if we were going to live up to all our brave talk about equality, we needed to free the Africans we held captive.
But their release would lessen the opportunity of plantation owners.
Equality vs. Opportunity: the hardest choices in life are those choices between two good things.
We chose Equality.
All for one, and one for all.
Of the people, by the people, for the people.
E pluribus unum.
To rebuild the opportunity we invented tractors and other machines to replace the lost labor of the Africans. All was well again.
We fanned the flames of Opportunity for four generations. By the fifth generation we were the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world. We let nothing stand between us and Opportunity.
We soon became a nation identified with material things.
We invented tractors to rebuild our lost opportunity. What will we invent to rebuild our lost character?
Small people complain and offer no solution to the problem. I refuse to be small.
Roy H. Williams
At the instruction of a very wise counselor I have begun the practice of reading one chapter in the book of Proverbs every day, stopping to note the verse that stands out most and reflecting on what it has to teach me.
One lesson this week was that the business I’m going to start needs a greater purpose than profit or it will fail. If I’m going to prioritize my life according to greater purposes than money, my business goals must align completely with that mission. If they don’t, I’ll be forced to point my highest efforts elsewhere and the business will inevitably wither.
Have you aimed too low and sacrificed purpose for profit? Are you forced to split time between your personal mission and the income that merely sustains it, rather than marrying the two? How will you fundamentally change your business, so that it fundamentally changes America — no, the world — for the better; so that your work is worth waking up every morning to do?
What will you invent to rebuild our lost character?