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Success vs. doing what you like vs. people vs. community.

Did I miss something critical here? The chart at right is from my Choose your own world view post on here Tuesday. I was trying to relate choices to results and highlight tradeoffs; but I wasn’t sure whether these three factors pulled away from each other, or did they in fact work together if you find the sweet spot in the middle.

In a thoughtful email later that day, Kate Putnam said I missed something critical:

Work you like should lead to business success (however you define that). The third piece should be what you give back to your community.

I asked her permission (I think it’s rude not to, with an email) to publish her comments here. She explained:

You are not teaching your children much if you don’t do that. You are not sharing the fruits of your success if you don’t do that. Plus, if you do it right, you meet new friends who share your values and whom you would not stumble across in your regular day-to-day existence. I have learned a lot for my business from my non-profit board work and the people I met through it.

Good point, Kate. Here’s a revised version to the right. It adds community as a fourth leaf.

And the question remains: do these factors pull apart, from center outwards? Or do they come together in the middle. I can argue that either way. I think it depends on your world view, your experience, and choices you make.

Kate added this as well:

I tell my children that “to whom much is given, much is expected.”

After reading that email, I also wandered off to her website, and found her business called Package Machinery, focusing on sustainable practices in packaging. And Kate is on Twitter as wrapsustainably. So I like discovering that she is obviously not just saying it, or writing it in email; she’s doing it too. That makes her comments that much more interesting.


  • Strategic Growth Advisors says:

    Tim, the article was superb and it was made even better by the charts you provided. I guess your posts are getting better and better each day. Keep those great contributions coming!

  • Team The Rise To The Top says:

    Tim, I love the article as usual, the chart is amazing. Finding the balance between those four things is very important and remember to not forget about what you value about your business and who you are as a person. Thanks for posting this!

  • Paul says:

    Very good article. I love the part of giving back. I remember the feeling of community when growing up. I think we need to get back to that as a country. I still see it in the small towns and that why I’m planing a future where people count and time moves a little slower. Ok- Where’s Mayberry? Thanks and have a great week

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