A Business Lesson From Diana Ross

Business LessonsDo you know where you’re going to?
Do you like the things that life is showing you
Where are you going to?
Do you know…?

Lyrics from the Theme From Mahogany

If you have shopped at a grocery store or if your mom is a music fan, you have probably heard the above song by Diana Ross.  Me?  I’m not ashamed to admit that I am a R&B junkie and I love Diana Ross and many other artists from that era.  You probably didn’t come here to hear me wax poetic about 70’s R&B but I do want to talk about the business lesson from the above tune.

Bear with me as I set a little bit of context.  The movie Mahogany is about a woman who rises up from poverty to become world famous fashion designer.  In the midst of her success there becomes the realization that she has left true love behind.  The movie makes love and career an either/or proposition and the wonder for what might have been sets in for Diana’s character.  I don’t necessarily agree with the premise entirely but let me tell you what I do agree with and the lesson that exists for your business.

The first thing is that when you set business targets for yourself, you need to consider your values as part of that process.  The reality is that some people do value love over their careers and that’s OK.  These love relationships may include God, your spouse or partner, your kids, your siblings, etc.  You just need to be clear about that at the beginning.  For example if you truly love your family, it may not make sense to have a business that requires you to be away from them constantly.  This may present a conflict in your values.  Once you get to a certain point in your career or business, it’s hard to turn back.

The second lesson is the question the song asks about which is do you know where you are going to?  The second question is why.  Defining your end result is important but knowing why makes it complete.  Take Diana Ross’ character in Mahogany.  She struggled in poverty and was then driven to success to escape that poverty.  It seems reasonable but sometimes we do what we think is right without ever considering what we truly want.  Many of the business owners I work with want to grow their business.  When I ask them why they want to do that or what that would help them achieve, they think I am crazy for asking.  That is, until they realize that there is a lot to growing their business that they hadn’t considered.  There are a lot of by-products to an expanding business that start to infringe on your personal life.  Make sure you think about that.

Do you know where you are going?  Do you know why?  Think about your business, your career or your life.  Why are you doing what you are doing?  What is your product or service truly supposed to help people achieve?  What does it look like in 5 years?  These are the questions I want you to spend some time with today.  Please weigh in on these questions on this post as well.  Would love to hear your comments.


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