Are you looking to build an empire? This missive’s goal is to challenge you to consider if you are creating the empire that will last the way you hope. This is not a discussion on building a professional empire or a vast and wondrous wealth from your entrepreneurial prowess. I want to know if you’re building an empire as a human? Have you even considered growing an empire through service to your community?
Let’s take a step back. I took this photo a few weeks ago. It’s part of the BC Mountaineering Club’s centennial publication, which celebrates the history of the club’s first 100 years of exploring BC’s mountains. The photo is of a copy of a resolution passed by the club October 15th, 1915. It basically just says the club thinks it’s a good idea to push to create a park around Mount Garibaldi. I know many of you are reading from across Canada or even around the world. To help give this context, Mount Garibaldi, and its park, is the pretty area you can see from the peak of Whistler. It’s gorgeous terrain that any naturalist would love to preserve. The BC Mountaineering Club went forward, as a group, to push (along with many others I imagine) to ensure this beautiful land was protected for generations to come. The relevancy of this to me is that the President of the club at the time, Charles Chapman, is my great-grandfather.
Let’s be very clear that this isn’t a ‘great-grandpa made a park’ note. It was him and many, many other people. He just happened to be the president at the time of the resolution. My point is, he was passionate about mountaineering. He was passionate about it to the point that he took on the presidency to ensure the club’s growth and future. He loved the mountains. You might think, well he was a guide or a forester or had a career in the mountains. You would be close in an abstract way. He used the trees—as a printer. By day, he controlled massive presses and bound books still in my library and in the evenings, he passed the odd resolution for his club. On the weekends, he went climbing.
The reason why this is so important to me is that his actions, along with so many others, lead to the creation of an epically beautiful park that I am abundantly proud my family was involved in. I can never see, hear, or smell his printing press the way my Mom and her siblings did. My own business is based on being paperless, which is how the world has turned in the last 100 years. I know that he cared enough about his community to try and build something outside of his entrepreneurial world. Basically, the dude had a life and he built a community service empire from it.
My question for you, is what empire are you building? What legacy, outside of your company, do you plan to leave? We tend to get so caught up in our entrepreneurial spire that the notion of volunteering is entirely foreign. Some people just give money. Because they can. Please don’t undervalue the importance of your time.
I’ve always been an avid volunteer. I admit as readily as you would, that it is Tough to do that as an entrepreneur. This, fundamentally, is my point. We specialize in tough. We specialize in problem solving. We specialize in getting shit done. This is why you, me, and great-grandpa were such valuable volunteers—we care and we know how to #GSD.
With this, I challenge you. Step away from your desk and find something other that fills you up and use your entrepreneurial badassery to raise that group up and lift them forward. Champion your club or group the way you would champion a client. Throw your fabulous around and let the greater good benefit. Help build an empire through action. You never know who you’ll inspire a hundred years ahead.