Seeking the “good life” & being a visionary entrepreneur

November 28th, 2008 by Admin

Below are two blogs we wrote for Harvard Business, one on how to create your own personal vision of the “good life” (and why it can be so powerful), and the other on how an enterprising optometrist saw a need in the developing world and created an organization that helps thousands.

“What’s Your Vision of the Good Life?” Harvard Business Publishing, August 18, 2008.

While world-class organizations craft banner vision statements to inspire their efforts toward success, most people haven’t thought to do so for themselves. As we watch the Olympic Games in Beijing, we are reminded in interview after interview with champion athletes about the importance of envisioning their success, of visualizing their performance flowing perfectly, leading to the medal ceremony and their dreams coming true. Aristotle observed that “the soul never thinks without a picture.”

Creating a compelling vision for our lives — one that includes not just a vision of our professional accomplishments but also a vision for family life, education, health, community engagements, travel, and adventures — can point us in new directions and provide the drive we need to get there. A personal vision statement asks: what do I want to be, do, and contribute in life — and who do I want to share it with?

Some people struggle with the notion of having a vision of the good life because it sounds abstract and distant. Fortunately, authors Richard Leider and David Shapiro have come to the rescue with an elegantly simple definition of the good life: “living in the place you belong, with the people you love, doing the right work — on purpose.”

To view the entire blog, click here.

“Vision(ary) Entrepreneur,” Harvard Business Publishing, August 14, 2008.

Here’s the basic formula for entrepreneurship: Understand a problem, grasp its full context, connect previously unconnected dots, and have the vision, courage, resourcefulness, and persistence to see the solution through to fruition.
Case in point…

Today, over 400 million people worldwide live in poverty. Most depend on the use of their hands and their eyesight to provide for themselves and their families. As they age, near-sightedness threatens their livelihoods. For more than 40% of these people, a pair of over-the-counter glasses sold in any Western drugstore would substantially increase their productivity and quality of life. But many people don’t have access to these eyeglasses.

To view the entire blog, click here.

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The Opportunity of Recession & The Power of Mistakes

November 25th, 2008 by Admin

Today’s blog will kick-off a series that introduces some blogs and columns that we have recently penned for Harvard Business Online,, and the Washington Times. Each blog entry will have 2-3 such postings with a short description of the piece followed by an excerpt and a link to the actual piece. Please note that not all of our pieces are included here. To get a complete list of stories, please visit the Life Entrepreneur’s publication page.

This first installment includes two contrarian blogs we wrote for Harvard Business, one on how an economic downturn (or even a recession) can actually be a good time to start a business, and the other on how we need to re-wire our thinking about failure, because it’s often through our failures that we learn the most.

“Why Entrepreneurs Love a Downturn,” Harvard Business Publishing, August 26, 2008.

During our interviews with 55 successful business and social entrepreneurs worldwide, we were struck by the fact that many had started their enterprises during a recession or in the wake of one. Prominent examples include Clif Bar, Chipotle, and Hanna Andersson. Several others started their companies (including Cranium and Honest Tea) just before a recession.Many people assume that entrepreneurs are allergic to recessions. It turns out that downturns can be times of tremendous opportunity–and, yes, profit–for entrepreneurs. But only if they play their cards right.

That’s exactly what the founders of Clif Bar, the organic nutrition bar enterprise, and Method, the environmentally friendly cleaning supplies company, did. (Both were recently featured by

To view the entire blog, click here.

“The Value of Failure,” Harvard Business Publishing, October 2, 2008.

There is much talk in this year’s historic presidential campaign about how much voters should weigh the candidates’ experience. Turns out that entrepreneurs have much to teach us here.

Experience is an essential factor to consider, but not in the way that most people view it. When evaluating a candidate, most people seek a litany of accomplishments that demonstrate sound judgment, and failure is considered radioactive. Fair enough, but more often than not the character and worldview of leaders are shaped not via their accomplishments but by their setbacks in the crucibles of challenge.

We tend to learn more from our mistakes than our successes. At our best, we turn them to our advantage. Thomas Edison once said, “I make more mistakes than anyone I know. And eventually I patent them.”

To view the entire blog, click here.

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