What if you ran your life like a company?
Companies are vehicles through which individuals hope to impact the world, create something that hopefully outlives the founders and makes them rich in the process. Ideally. Not counting all the portmanteau and Ghana-Must-Go vehicles created by Nigerian politicians to siphon state money. Putting the structure of a company around an idea or objective helps to align people, and maybe makes it more efficient to get stuff done sustainably.
As a person, you probably also dream of impacting the world. Somehow. Create something that lives beyond you (apart from children) and lead a comfortable, maybe even luxurious and famous, chop-life life. Pun intended.
What if you decided to run your life as if it was a company in order to make this happen? I mean, there's a parallel here, so why not? I think it would even help to increase the chances that your goals are met.
[image credit: allaboutaddiction.com]
If you wanted to pursue this, how would you go about it?
Be clear on who you are. Know clearly what's important to you and what you passionately believe in and won't trade off when facts change. This forms your character. The essence of your brand. Your personal brand. Note though, that this has nothing to do with morals or morality. Per se. Just what do you believe in? Who are you inside? Of course, this would involve some soul searching.
Vision & Mission
What's wrong with the world and how do you intend to fix it? This is your mission. And your vision is what the world will look like after you have finished changing it. Walk around everyday clear on these two. Tattoo it on your heart. Remind yourself everyday in the bathroom. This is your true north that you can then check all of your life choices (friends, career, course of study, faith, spouse, etc) against. Any choices not taking you closer to this destination gets a second look.
Have a clear high-level strategy for how you would go about pursuing your mission. I mean, broad paintstrokes. A general direction. E.g. Companies can set a strategic objective like "we'd be the lowest cost producer of XXX and maintain product leadership in YYY" then say something like "we'd achieve his by making sure we constantly recruit from the 10th percentile of the talent pool in our field then provide them the environment to create ZZZ". Something like that. In the same way you can set a general agenda for how you'd go about your life goal.
Identify the people you need to achieve this objective and actively recruit them. You don't need everybody in the world to be your friend. Set out to attract friends and family that will be your support structure to achieve your objectives and keep them close. Don't marry anyhow or pursue chics anyhow if it doesn't help achieve your goal.
Now, you know who you are, what you want to achieve, a general idea of how you'd go about it and who you need to achieve it. Next is to fashion out in more concrete steps how you'd go about it and put some timing to it. E.g. You'd attend culinary school, then intern at the restaurant down the road while writing for the culinary magazine for 10 years, after which you'd move to the big city and... you get it.
Budget & forecasting
Establish as closely as you can, how much you'd need for each phase in the project plan and how you hope to get your hands on that money. Maybe at some point you have to marry Dangote's daughter to get the kind of money you think you need. But in these days of prenups and the competitive Yoruba demon landscape, that may not be a fool-proof plan so you better have a "realer" plan. Work for your own money! Anyhow, at any phase you are in, know exactly how much you need to effectively prosecute it and what you need move to the next milestone. Don't be changing jobs anyhow just for that little extra increase. Does the job align with your strategy and core values? Is the money required to prosecute this phase of your campaign?
Assets & liabilities
Shore up assets that help you to achieve your objectives. Skills. Friendships. Acquaintances. Influence. Money. Etc. Carefully and selectively take on liabilities. Borrow money if you have to. With sense. Relate with people you don't enjoy being with if you have to. With sense. Go to places you don't want if you have to. With sense.
KPIs, metrics & consistent reporting
Constantly measure yourself against your plan. Note: your plan, not your neighbour's perceived success. Not what your Pastor said. Ask yourself every year how you are doing against the plan. Review the plan if you have to, adjust the timing if you have to. But by all means probe yourself regularly.
Yes, I believe if we ran our lives like a little company, it might help us to put some structure to it and give us a sense of purpose. I believe that fulfillment in life comes not just from the nice things we buy, but through the fire from the pursuit of purpose, especially when we have the good fortune to record incremental progress and little wins along the way.
The downside though is that companies and businesses are generally percieved as cold, calculating and impersonal. But at least, the good parts can be taken and adapted to personal living. Also, plans are one thing, reality is another. So even though you have a plan that is well laid out and you have applied a good structure to it, adjust and let your hair down once in a while. Remember that popular Mike Tyson quote?
Life is a journey, enjoy the trip but be clear on your destination.
Go get 'em!