By Steve Alschuler
I may not know the meaning of life, but I do have some thoughts on how to make a life meaningful. Meaning, at least for me, lies in a lifelong commitment to both self-improvement and service to others.
Self-improvement isn’t measured by material things, although they may be among its byproducts, but by growth – intellectually, emotionally, professionally, spiritually. It means constantly striving to improve, to be the best at what we do, to accomplish more and to perform at the highest level of our potential.
Service to others isn’t necessarily measured by how much one donates to charity, although that is certainly a component of it, but by a person’s commitment to family, friends, the community at large – maybe even random strangers. We should all ask ourselves whether the lives of others are better for our presence in them – and how we can do more.
How do these values translate into a business setting? How especially do they translate to a firm like ours, which often finds itself standing up for its clients in the most challenging situations imaginable? I believe that values ground you and make you stronger; when your values inform your efforts, you can work harder, fight smarter, hold onto your position more firmly, and advance with a greater sense of purpose and determination. The very foundation of our success lies in these principles:
Performance. We have a relentless commitment to outstanding performance – we constantly raise the bar and then rise above it. We are geared to achieving results, rather than meaningless sound and fury. Our clients need us to succeed and we do. Failure is not an option.
Passion. Performing at the highest level requires passion. We are passionate about the work we do and, if we’re not, we don’t take it.
Ethics. It’s been said that “the fate of all time depends on a single moment” – that what we do in that “single moment,” when faced with an ethical dilemma, can define us – or our clients – for a long time. We believe that the ethical practice of our profession is both the right way to do business and the best path for our clients as well.
Community. Working with non-profit organizations in our community, personally and as a business, is among our core values. We donate both our time and our money and we work at reduced fees and, in many cases, pro bono for worthwhile organizations that can benefit from our help. No matter how large we grow or how busy we become, our commitment to service will never wane.
Commitment. When we say we’re committed, whether to our clients, to the causes we believe in, to the people in our lives, to our values, we mean it – 100%.
There’s something I’ve carried around in my wallet for many years that I believe provides an excellent roadmap for how to build a business and how to live your life. The attribution is a bit unclear, but here’s an excerpt:
If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish motives. Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you may win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
People who really want help may attack you if you help them. Help them anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt. Give the world your best anyway.