Mar 30


It was on a slump day this week when I found myself sitting in front of my computer screen, taking in the harrowing words of a man who recounted the horrific details of a young woman’s life, 14 and living in Darfur, Africa. She lost everything to the Janjaweed, an extremist group who have slaughtered and raped over 400,000 Darfui people.   Anyonya had both of her parents killed, her home taken, and the woman who saved her & her sibling’s life murdered in cold blood, and then hung on a cross outside her refugee camp.

“At that moment, after all that I have been through, I realized something. I made a pact with myself: I will keep this until the end. I will die for my freedom. I will die for my brother. I will die for my sister. I will die for the woman beside me. I will die for the peasant. I will die for Ms. Catherine. I will let the Janjaweed rip my skin and crush my bones and spit on my beliefs, but I will never give up. I will die trying. I know why God has put this in front of me. I know why he has put me here in Darfur, and not in America. It is because I am supposed to die for the things that I love, for things that I’ve lost. For others to see. I will be the example my father and mother always told me to be. I will trust in the Lord. I will follow His example. I will walk in his footsteps, and make my own as well. My name is Anyonya. I live in Darfur, and this is my life.”

After watching and rewatching this story, I found myself grasping for something, wondering what I was doing to consecrate what I had been given in my life, what I had been blessed with in my life to make a significant difference, to lift the feeble knees, comfort those that stand in need of comfort, rescue those of my brother and sisters who are hurting, helpless, and have nothing more than the clothes on their back. I still don’t have the answer. But I do have questions, questions like, “what am I willing to give up to be more grounded in the work of serving others?”, “is what I’m pursuing helpful and meaningful? And if not, how can I change my career while still aligning with my talents to have a greater impact?” Right now, I’m still searching for the answers, I’m still trying to understand where the next step for me is because right now, I’m not satisfied with what I’m doing, I want more, and when I say I want more, I mean, I want to do more. I want to help more. I don’t wish to stand on the sidelines and make advertisements so that the rich can get richer, yet I understand that greater abundance equals greater means to act. I want to give back more, I want to reach beyond myself more, because that is what business *should* be all about, helping, serving, making a difference, and impacting lives for the better. I have no room in my heart for greed, for accolades, for ego-driven entrepreneurism, for self-centered success stories.

I love what Robert Gay had to say about this profound letter, “…it is our imperative duty that we go to God, to angels with whom we should be brought to stand, and to ourselves, and to our wives and children and all those who have been made to bow down with grief, sorrow and care under the most damning hand of murder, tyranny and oppression. That we should waste and wear our lives in bringing to light all of the hidden things of darkness. These should be attended to with great earnestness.”

Perhaps if, and only if we center ourselves on the principles of integrity and virtue, our business models can change. Perhaps by following guidelines that stretch alongside the need to always be truthful, to always give back, to let go of the nickel and diming mentality that so many of our businesses here in America posses, that ever drug fix of getting more out of people for less. Maybe that’s when we can start this business revolution of refining our models, refilling our hearts, and replenishing the spirits and souls of those who desperately need us to use our resources for something bigger, something better.

In the Harvard Business Review, Charles Handy says it so eloquently, “The purpose of a business, in other words, is not to make a profit, full stop. It is to make a profit so that the business can do something more or better.”

I hope that you and as I continue in our love and passion for business and entrepreneurship, that we come to full terms that this isn’t about us. This isn’t *really* our business, this business belongs to the world, to those who have less than we, and our business should be in place to help aid in their healing, their joy, their betterment of their lives. As we continue to use our businesses to look outward, we will have the greatest rewards imaginable, and that my friends are the successes and quality of life of others.