As CEO of an organization dedicated to providing a full continuum of care for seniors in multiple retirement communities, I have learned a thing or two from our senior residents about living long and living well. What they may not have known while sharing their wisdom with my staff and me is that among their advice for daily living lies a treasure trove of business tips as well. Below I share with you some of my favorite pieces of advice and how I have translated them to the business world over the years.
Never stop learning. Graduating from college with a doctorate degree does not make people “life experts.” It does not necessarily make them experts in their field of study either. Business, markets, technology and consumer needs are constantly changing. Don’t become stuck in your ways because that’s how it was once taught. Stay driven and eager to learn. Your mind will stay sharp and your business will have a better chance of thriving.
Communication is key. This is true in business as much as it is in personal relationships. If you cannot communicate effectively with your spouse, the relationship will suffer. If you do not learn how to communicate with your customers, that relationship will suffer as well. Everyone from investors to employees to clients should always be informed and brought up to speed about changes, policies, and expectations in your business. Only then can your professional relationships reach their full potential.
Make a difference and do something that you can be proud of in your later years. When you are a young business owner, words like revenue and return can run your life. However, our elders know something we struggle to understand – revenue and return are important, but not what it’s all about. Through your business, make charitable contributions, or create a product or service that will help people and make a positive difference in their lives. Your community will show their appreciation for it by remaining loyal to your company. You’ll also feel proud of the work you’ve dedicated your life to and your contributions to society.
Find your passion and live it every day. To lead a happy and fulfilled life, people should do what they love and love what they do. If you are thinking of starting a business, make sure your mission focuses on your passion. If you love making music and nothing makes you happier than doing so, music making should be at the center of your business, whether that means launching a musical app, selling instruments, or running a music school. Find ways to involve your passion. Your love for what you do will shine through your work.
Our elders have so much to share about living life to the fullest. If we listen closely, we will find that their wisdom is applicable to all aspects of our lives.