At five years old I decided to become a lawyer at my granddad’s recommendation. He was a busy merchant, and seemed to be in charge of a lot things. So even at that age, I was attracted to his energy, and his unflappable zest for life. I signed up for the task mentally although I had no idea what lawyers did or why my granddad needed one.
Aside from a brief stint of seriously considering playing right field for the Yankees, I never veered from that goal. Granddad passed on before I became a lawyer, but I’m forever grateful for his influence and his belief in me. He was the kind of man that lived his life out loud. He left no dream or aspiration untried.
I’m not surprised that I became a commercial litigator, arguing over business conflicts, broken contracts and money disputes. I’ve always been equally fascinated by business and law—maybe even more by business. Owning a commercial law practice for close to twenty years has certainly taught me a lot about both.
But the biggest lesson (and surprise) of it all is what I’ll term as “The Softer Side of Business.” This happens when you infuse your business or enterprise with a Spirit of Faith and Trust (in a higher power). Thus, the acronym: SOFT.
I’m not here to argue about anyone else’s higher power; that’s personal. I am here to say that your business or profession should be governed by something bigger than yourself or money. For the record, I am a Jesus follower, but I love and respect people from all or no religious persuasions. The bottom line is that we are all called to something transcendent. We just need to open our eyes a little wider to see it.
The benefits of adopting a softer approach to business are too numerous to fully discuss in this post, but I will do so in future posts. Those benefits include better health and well-being, fulfillment, purpose and making a tangible difference in the lives of others.
I once attended a gathering of pastors where I had the opportunity to quietly listen to some of the tough issues facing each congregation. I had the unexpected revelation that I had my own “flock”—my employees, vendors, associates and others in my circle of influence. It was my job not to just employ and pay for their services; but to sincerely care for them as people, and to be a bridge for their highest aspirations.
I left the meeting a happy warrior; knowing there was dignity and transcendent purpose in my law business. I know that I’ve done this imperfectly, but it’s still my target. How about you? Have you considered a bigger “why” for your business?
Let me know.
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