Five Years Ago
Five years ago I was talking to my father about my work as a human rights advocate. He was proud of my work, my commitment to the rights and dignity of all people, and my willingness to sacrifice comfort to work in difficult settings.
But he was frustrated by the fact that – fifteen years into my career as a human rights lawyer – I still worked for other people. I’d worked for a large law firm, small non-governmental bodies and the United Nations. Some of these were highly effective organizations with great integrity and purpose. Others, less so.
Having grown up with parents who worked for themselves, I had no romantic notions about entrepreneurship. I knew it was hard work. But I also knew my parents answered to themselves when it came to matter of integrity and value. And I was ready to answer to myself too.
Five Years Later
Five years later I’m co-owner of a restaurant, owner of an online yoga business, a freelance writer, published author, radio journalist, public speaker and founder of a non-profit. And if you ask me what’s the most important – and valuable – part of owning my own business, I’ll tell you it’s being answerable to myself when it comes to my values.
It’s being able to insist on serving only sustainably harvested fish in our restaurant even when it costs more. It’s being able to teach my online yoga courses at a pace and by a method that I know works best for my students (fast-yoga, like fast-food, loses much of it’s nutritional value). It’s being able to take two hours to interview an Afghan farmer, even if only 10 minutes will make it on to air.
Following My Passion
I took my passion – my life-long work to contribute to a fairer, safer, kinder world – and turned it into my business mostly so that I could answer to myself. Which means having the chance to take risks, to do things in ways they’ve never been done before. It means being able to ask myself – what matters most to me?
My business is shaped, directed & driven by my values. And here’s my not-so-secret formula to success: when you build your business on your own values, you’ll attract clients & employees who share your values. And nothing is more rewarding than that.
This is my post for the Connected Women community blogathon. Connected-Women.com is a FREE open global community site, created by an Icelandic entrepreneur, international personal branding speaker & trainer, Runa Magnusdottir.