Ten questions for businesses that matter (or businesses that want to)

I ask myself these questions all the time. In fact, I once made a desktop screensaver for my laptop, so I’d be guaranteed to see them at least 50 times each day…how’s that for crazy? I just wanted to be sure I internalized them thoroughly, and that they’re not lost in the crush of day-to-day obligations.

Why did you choose the area of work you currently do, rather than something else?

What are you finding is the hardest thing about doing it?

What’s the one thing you’re good at that few people truly ARE good at?

What’s in short supply in our human lives, and you’d like to see more of it?

What do we have too much of all around us, and you’d like to see less of it?

Who are the human beacons you pay attention to, and who are the human beacons you want to help create?

What do you fear the most, in terms of working for yourself?

What thing do you wish you had more of?

What do you want people to say when they talk about you to their best friend or coolest colleague?

How do you answer this question? The work I do is creating (will create) more _________ in the world.

There are no rights or wrongs here. But there are sneaky clues. If you find a question hard to answer, try freewriting about it. If there’s one that makes you feel the tug of resistance inside, think about why. If there’s one you can’t answer in 1-2 sentences, there may be an opportunity there to tighten up your mission or your messaging.

In a business that matters, your “why” is just as important as your “how much.”

Feel free to take any of these and riff on it in a blog post of your own. You might be surprised where it takes you.

Happy day to all.

Of work and gardens: How to survive and thrive in any weather

Many may not know that when I’m not at a keyboard I’m outside growing a mountain of organic food every year. When I’m not helping people with their online marketing stuff, for a big part of the year I can be found in my 30′ x 40′ patch out back, monkeying with the tomatoes and garlic and kale and pumpkins.

We have a very short growing season here at 7300 feet elevation — about 3 months in between frosts, to be precise — and so I relish every minute I get to spend out there eating snow peas fresh from the dewy vines.

From the too-hot of August, I can look back at winter with a clear head. Though I wrote the following from the deep freeze of January, I can still feel it just as strongly now.

January 16:

When you’re a gardener in northern climates, January stinks. The ground is frozen solid, with not a speck of green to be seen anywhere. I stood out there this morning, steaming mug of coffee in hand, and indulged myself in a little melancholy. What kind of person willingly does this to herself? Who grows things in a place where 3/4 of the year is spent wishing for the other fourth? Suffering hail storms and freak cold snaps and squirrels just to have the perfect Caprese Salad?

Being burdened with a brain that whips out analogies without provocation, that long-suffering person is not much different than the folks I serve with my work.

They struggle to get the word out about the wonderful work they’re doing in the world, using a medium that can be challenging at best, exasperating at its worst. They try websites, email campaigns, free giveaways, social media, YouTube videos. They write blogs so people will get to know them; they suffer through Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm that seems stacked against their posts ever being seen. They try to please Google, just to have Google change its mind every quarter about what ought to rank in its top ten. Some days, despite all the TLC in the world, their efforts seem to bear only a scrawny carrot and an undernourished bean or two.

Here are five things I’ve learned from growing food in an unpredictable place:

Give your efforts the best chance for success.

I’ve been accused of being an over-preparer. When I want something to grow, I give it deep, loose, fertile soil – sometimes two feet deep – so that it has every opportunity to grow up strong. Deep healthy roots mean a resilient plant that in turn produces delicious things for you. In the same way, investing a lot of love and time and thought into your new efforts to market yourself gives those efforts deep roots that are far-reaching, able to withstand drought and disaster.

Yeah but, you’ll say, I do put a ton of time into what I offer.

I know you do. But it goes even deeper than that. Identifying who you’re speaking to, and what they need the most, then creating something that solves a known need — this is the path to fine relationships and a fine harvest. What you offer might be incredibly soulful and beautiful and the work you were meant to do. And you should do it. But if you need to involve other people in it, or make money offering it, you have to find a way for it to be relevant to something your people are feeling acutely and specifically right now.

Sometimes you just have to trust.

Each year I grow at least three kinds of potatoes. In between spring planting and the time when I turn over the soil and find bucket of spuds underneath, I have to trust that something’s happening under there. I do the best I can to get the green plants above ground healthy, but if I go digging around twice a week to find proof that it’s paying off, I’m just wasting time.

There’s an element of trust at work in both soil and business. I can’t force it. I just have to do my best, build all the relationships I can, and trust that the payoff is coming. There is no sense panicking because you don’t see 1000 hits on your website in its first week. Things can take time to grow, to attract links and friends, and percolate through your audience. Much can be happening underground and you just can’t see it yet. Keep sharing your work and your thoughts, keep connecting with people, and it will pay off.

Remember that everything goes in cycles.

Underneath the frozen earth of one patch, I have a year’s worth of garlic for my kitchen. It was planted in the fall and will be harvested next summer. This is not its time to be green. Right now, down deep, it is slowly growing, feeling out its environment, sending out roots before shoots. It knows its proper time. I am compelled to write a book this year, but it is not time to sit down and knock out chapters yet. My coach friend wants to offer an innovative flavor of coaching, but first, she’s working with a few test clients to see if it actually benefits them. I have several clients who want a website, and are immersed in the work of gathering what they want to say and offer before rushing into that next step. Be aware of the different seasons of your work — which phase of it is best for the energy and resources you have right now?

The right tools are critical.

There’s a business owner locally who can pinch a penny until Lincoln says “ouch.” He looks for the absolute cheapest in everything, regardless of whether it will serve him best beyond next month. The place he hosts his website is free, but severely limits what he can do with his site, and it’s hard to find on the Web. He uses the cheapest printer, and the substandard materials his clients see affects how they think about him. The email provider he uses won’t send out his blog posts to subscribers automatically, so he ends up writing them twice. And so forth.

I have a shovel I purchased 22 years ago, hand-forged in England, heavy steel with a sturdy ash handle. It is still the shovel I use every day. It cost me $70.00 in 1993. If I had purchased the cheapest tool for the job, not only would I have likely had to replace it every year ($14 x 22 years) but I would have suffered the frustration of having the thing break at a bad time, or not be able to do what I needed to do.

We always advise folks to invest in the right tools and services that will move you forward, right from the beginning. Note that I don’t mean the most expensive — just the ones that truly serve your needs, and create space for you to do your best work.

Stay aware of whatever’s out there that will help free time, money, and brain damage for the work you love.

I have a tiny tool in my toolbox that looks like a horse syringe: a clear tube with a red plunger at one end, a little hole at the other. It has one job. You fill it with the teensy-weensy seeds like carrots and lettuce, ones that are so tiny it’s impossible to just plant one at a time with clumsy bare fingers. Without it, I wouldn’t die, but I would waste seeds, waste time, and spend hours later thinning the seedlings that come up in clumps, a process that always traumatizes the survivors. A $3 gadget saves time and ensures a better harvest.

There are new tools and services out there that can take the stress and adversity out of a small business owner’s life. The ones you use are 100% dependent on what you need. They might include things like

Time Etc., a virtual assistant service that offers thousands of talented potential helpers to time-stressed people for less than $30/hour….perfect when you’re trying to research the best email service, flight to Brussels, nontoxic office supplies, etc.

Taskrabbit.com is an in-person version, vetted/insured somebodies who can do things like shop for your groceries so you don’t have to live on Big Macs when you bump through an 80-hour work week.

Fiverr.com helps with tiny but important tasks, the kind that would take you hours but will take them fifteen minutes (ahem, for $10).

Postmates gets your package across town in an hour.

(I wrote about Privacy Badger, Boomerang, Acuity Scheduling, Zoom, Loom and FB Purity in this post recently – lifesavers.)

There are new and different tools every day that make life easier, free your time, or get things done that have been languishing. For most, you can give them a try with little or no investment. Seek them out; it will save time for the things that matter more to you.

Whether you are cultivating buyers for your book or roses next to your porch, may your harvest be astonishing this year.

Building a small business that matters: 3 ways to be a force for good AND be profitable

Last year I wrote a book called Storytelling for Small Business: Creating and Growing an Authentic Business Through the Power of Story. (It’s a cool little bite-sized book, or so they tell me. Check it out if you’re interested in that topic.)

What most folks who’ve read it don’t know is that the subtitle of the book was originally slated to be Building a Business That Matters Through the Power of Story. But someone in my trusted circles raised a red flag. “To me, that sounds like I have to have an ‘I’m-changing-the-world’ mentality in order to benefit from the book. There are lots of good people who just don’t think of themselves like that…I’d advise you to change that if you want people to read it.”

So I did.

Hey, now, cut me some slack. It was an introvert’s first book. I’d been sleepless about the whole process already, and that advice sounded reasonable enough. Of course I wanted people to read it. So I changed the name.

And, of course, I regretted it the minute I punched the publish button on Amazon.

Because here’s the awful truth about me: With every tiny cell in my body, I think our businesses should matter. And what’s more, our businesses can matter.

All of them.

The art of “doing well by doing good” isn’t just for the behemoths with a whole floor devoted to their department of Corporate Social Responsibility.  From an artist painting in her garage after her day job, to brick-and-mortar stores and restaurants, to the biggest brands we can name, every one of us has the ability to shape our livelihood into a force for good. Let me show you.

What ARE you going on about, Margaret?

What does it mean to have a “business that matters”? It may mean different things to different people, but for me it means looking at what my business creates and shares—products, services, artwork, knowledge—and seeing it through the wide-angle lens of what I want to be able to show for the 80-odd years I get to spend on this planet. 

  • What do I stand for/against? What matters to me? If that’s a tough question for you, look around your life, your social media, or your record of charitable contributions. Whatever it is that riles you up—or chokes you up—should give you a clue about what you stand for.
  • What am I doing to put legs on the things I care about, over and above “likes” on Facebook or the occasional donation?
  • Given all the hours and energy I spend doing my “work,” how can this time support something that matters to me so that my head, heart, and feet are all pointed in the same direction?

There’s always some grumbling about the idea of altruism in business. In addition to the hardliners who prefer keeping work and purpose separate, many will dismiss the idea of weaving them together because it sounds hard, futile, and expensive. It doesn’t have to be any of those things. In fact, I’m seeing more examples every day of small businesses who’ve connected with a bigger purpose and suddenly gained the traction and the following that had eluded them before. Why is that?

Times are changing.

Buyers care more about who they buy things from. Mission matters. People will keep buying cars from Tesla (regardless of deliverability woes) because their vision is to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy” rather than “be the industry leader in blah blah blah.”

People are willing (and often able) to pay more for something created by a business that has a heart and a conscious (in other words, by businesses that matter). It often comes with the bonus of it simply feeling great to support someone we like and admire.

Employees want to work for businesses that are run by good people. They want to work for people they like and admire, and want to feel like part of something bigger and more important than just keeping shareholders happy.

The face of business startups is shifting. As the social world gets more difficult to navigate, there’s a rising wave of self-employed people who are guided by the “triple bottom line” (profit, people, and planet) and not just dollars in, dollars out.

If that last one is you, well, welcome to the clubhouse. I’m glad you’re here.

And I’d invite you to consider these three ways to build a bigger “why” into the work you do.

1) Do it to add a little soul to what you already offer: Go beyond trading a good product or service for money

Ever think about what your work/business is already creating MORE of or LESS of in the world?  More peace of mind. Less poison in our cosmetics. More independence from the broken medical establishment. Less isolation and loneliness. More beauty to make our home feel like home. Less factory-made food. My point? If you’re looking for ways to make money while making a difference, you may already be halfway there.

Even if you find yourself teetering toward bummer, I’m not one of those types, know this: it’s not something reserved for artists and coaches and activists and nonprofits. You can add a thoughtful, soulful element of connection to any business. You just may need to find the right road to it.

A cafe or restaurant can choose to cooperate with other businesses in town to help solve a local problem.

A real estate broker can educate young couples or even college students on saving to buy a first home, or special loans/programs available to help them.

A small farm can set up a day for “gleaning” (picking whatever is left after a big harvest) to support local hunger efforts.

A private trash collection company can host a workshop (or give away an ebook) on how easy it is to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

A bookstore can set aside a corner of the shop with comfy chairs for purposes like job help, tutoring, or teaching ESL.

A hardware store can help teach people to be more frugal and self-sufficient by holding a class on easy fixes around the house or helping tools last longer through proper care of them.

An accountant can set up a payment button on her website that allows people to donate small amounts to a fund that helps older people/nonprofits afford her financial advice and guidance.

Anyone who offers a healing service/product of some kind can offer different price tiers so that more people can at least experience a taste of the goodness you offer.

All of these things matter. They make something better in addition to satisfying the need to turn a profit. And, in fact, they often help you turn a profit.

2) Do it to go big or to go…little.

You know why I like Patagonia? Well, there are a hundred reasons. But the main one is probably that they pledge at least 1% of sales or 10% of their pre-tax profits—whichever is more—to grassroots environmental groups often overlooked or rejected by other corporate donors.

You know why I like the small eco-friendly burger chain Larkburger ? Because they wrapped an entire business around responsibly-sourced/scratch-made food and recyclable/compostable everything, and profitably model what every restaurant in the world should be like. It’s hard to find a quick place to eat that lets me be zero waste (We’ll go a dozen miles out of our way to patronize their businesses.)

You don’t have to be Patagonia, or even Larkburger. But maybe you could be like Steamers Coffeehouse in Arvada, Colorado, which trains and employs developmentally disabled people to staff its restaurant, prep kitchen, and jam businesses. Or like my friend Michael, a psychologist in New York who volunteers as a Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Worker. Or our little local saloon that reduces and recycles everything, including recycling fryer oil (they donate the rebate check for that to children’s charities in Africa). This isn’t one-size-fits-all.

Even if you’re tiny, or still trying to get traction financially, you can matter. Some ways:

  • Joining an affiliate program offered by a vendor you use often, with proceeds going to a cause
  • A donate button to support a charity
  • Explaining yourself on your About page, include your reason for doing this
  • Giving a certain percentage each year to a particular organization or movement
  • Taking a day off each month to volunteer (and blogging about it to shine a light on that cause)
  • If you sell knowledge—think practical, hands-on, marketable skills—consider gifting a local women’s shelter, job assistance center, or charity to help elevate their clients.
  • Rather than using Fiverr for subcontractors, investigate the local community college’s intern program or job board.

Just pick something that matters to you, and find a way to support it with your business. Not for the press or the marketing bump, but because it’s who you are.

Do it to know who you are.

In Bernadette Jiwa’s great little book Story Driven: You Don’t Need to Compete When You Know Who You Are, she defined a great company this way: “…They don’t try to matter by winning. They win by mattering. The people who build them know what they stand for and act on those beliefs.”

It doesn’t matter whether you consider yourself a small business or a solopreneur or a freelancer or just someone who works for yourself. If your work matters, you are part of pushing us toward something better, or at least helping arrest our slide into something worse.

To me, building a business that has the guts to stand for something isn’t just one of the best ways to spend a life. It’s also one of the best ways to stand out in the noisy world of mainstream marketing, and make a good living that makes a difference.

Here’s to working on something that matters to you, and growing a business that matters to everyone.


Doing small things with great love

Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.
Mother Teresa (paraphrased by many)

When we work for ourselves, we can be doing big things or small things.

Big things might include creating an offering that reaches and enhances the lives of thousands upon thousands of people. Starting a foundation. Quitting your job and devoting your life to building schools in Africa. Beautiful stuff.

And then there are small things, like

being 100% honest with your marketing on every level so you don’t contribute to the disillusionment and hardening being caused by common marketingspeak

responding to all people with patience and civility, even if they are unskilled in how they phrase their “ask”

running your business in a way that doesn’t add to the mountains of paper, plastic, and toxic waste that will sit in a landfill for a thousand years

just being kind and clear in your day-to-day contact with the world

Remember that doing the small things with great love can have a positive ripple effect in the world that matches that of the big things. And it creates a You that makes life feel better on every level. It can make us feel more at peace with ourselves, de-stress us, lower our blood pressure, and generally help us tune into the “…the current of poetry that runs through all things” (actually written by J.D. Salinger).

Two quotes, both wise, source not important

Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
—A quote often attributed to Theodore Roosevelt

Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.
—An actual quote by Theodore Roosevelt

I was in a “pithy sayings” mood today, and bumped into both of these, all memed up and posted all over the internet.

They are both wise, but Mr. Roosevelt only said one of them. 

That part doesn’t really matter to me. In fact, whenever I see some wise saying plastered on an atmospheric photo and attributed to someone, the last part is what matters least, because it’s probably wrong. There’s even a site called Fake Buddha Quotes (“I Can’t Believe It’s Not Buddha!”)  to log all the famous sayings falsely attributed to the Buddha — kinda funny. 

If people want to slap them on a colored background and share them, the more the merrier. Hopefully, they will strike a chord in those they’re meant to strike a chord in, and some good will be done courtesy of the misquote.

Because the fact is, we need all the wisdom we can get.

In the above examples there are two unshakeable truths for people like us. One quote is about operating from the heart, and the other is about the need to be present, resourceful and resilient, and they are both absolutely essential to working for ourselves.

Stick ’em on a post-it. Write ’em on your whiteboard. Go to Canva.com and make your own meme, print it out and put it on your vision board.

I’m sure Mr. Roosevelt would approve.

You can wait for a sign until it falls on you

The title of this post comes from a catchy chapter heading from a book I read more than a decade ago. It was one of those “how to attract abundance” books that intrigued me back then, as I explored my relationship with money.

Confession? I didn’t make all the way through the book. I’m not cut out for those chatty books written by entrepreneurs who fall into the category I think of as “extraverts-with-a-capital-E who treat every life event as an opportunity to network and sell something, and love it.”

But I found that book as I was decluttering recently, and as I packed it into the library donation box the booked fell open to that page again, and I saw that line again: “You can wait for a sign until it falls on you.”

The funny thing is that I actually DID have a sign fall on me once, giving me a bloody head, a concussion, and a headache that lasted about a year. As I was leaving a small-town grocery store in Australia, a macho-looking dude was trying to show off his muscles for some passing girls, and stretched his arms up to rest his hands on the sign above the door. It was a sign painted on a piece of lumber that was 4″ by 12″ by about 8 feet long, and the sign promptly fell and cracked me in the back of the head.

But that aside, I understand the wisdom of that pithy little statement. How many of us are waiting for
…just the right moment to launch this or that
…an opportune time to sever ties with a client that drains us
…bolt-from-the-blue inspiration to create a new offering for our business
…the elusive “free time” to really think through where we’re going
…that “busy spell” to end before we can start taking care of ourselves?

We’re waiting for a sign. Not just a little sign, like the tent card that sits on the table where you eat lunch. No, a big fat sign, the kind we can’t say no to, the kind that whacks us on the back of the head and says, “Hey! Knucklehead! Are you paying attention? The right way’s over HERE.” And then we will 100% certainty about the wisdom and possibility of it all, and we all live happily ever after.

You will wait a long time, in my experience.

The best ideas don’t always hit you in the head, clamoring for your attention. Oftentimes, the best ones show up to the party unannounced, wearing earth tones, speaking quietly, giving you a side-hug goodbye as they leave. There’s something about them you like, but you can’t quite put your finger on it.

And you wake up at 2:00 am thinking about those ideas. That book that would be SO much fun to write. Or that group you could start which would be good for you AND other people. Or that new class that answers the questions a lot of your clients have these days.

Or that thing you’d rather be doing with your life.

Get up at 2:05 am and write that one down, wouldja? And the next day, future-cast yourself into having done it already. How do you feel? What has it solved for you? Are you smiling?

Consider not waiting for the sign to fall on you. It might not even be the right sign.

Those first small business steps–they’re not carved in stone

Oh, I know, there’s supposed to be a rigid formula you follow when you start any sort of business:

  • A concept, tested by research and proven viable
  • A set of offerings – product, services, knowledge, etc.
  • Knowing your ideal client – the person your offerings are best suited for
  • Setting up your business “stuff” and hanging out your shingle
  • Doing marketing according to all the formulas available online
  • Networking like a maniac, even if you hate networking
  • Getting your first client(s)
  • Learning from the experience and then
  • Lather, rinse, repeat

And yet I know so many great people who did it all “wrong”:

My friend Sharla dreamed up a set of services that made life easier for local business owners – things she loved doing and was good at, and it seemed like lots of people needed them. She gave away some free sessions first, and completely blew people away. Soon she had her first word-of-mouth client, learned from the experience, went back and re-tooled what she wanted to offer, did a little research, then started marketing.

A pal in California has been coaching clients for years and still doesn’t have a business. He’s making enough money, healing the world, loving life, and thinks maybe next year he’ll print some business cards. Just to see.

Matthias, a designer I met in Mexico City, has had a steady stream of design clients since 2002, when someone in a cafe saw the doodles in his journal and asked if he could please help their nonprofit make a brochure. That client told the next, who referred the next, who referred the next. He’s far too introverted to turn people down, so this steady-supply kind of business works perfectly for him . . . he doesn’t want to be swamped with requests and doesn’t want employees.

As for me, well, I got my first client before I even knew I wanted to start a business. It was a friend of a friend who needed web design help. She became the blueprint for my ideal client. Some time around my third or fourth client (many months later), I made my own logo and website. I officially developed service offerings a year later and started marketing . . . somewhere around my tenth year.

For all of these people, the keys to beginning were very different from all of the ones recommended by the big gurus. They were firmly rooted in three basic actions:

  1. Visualize a person/population who you might want to help, someone for whom you have genuine empathy and respect.
  2. Brainstorm some ways to help that someone’s life be easier, happier, healthier, more connected, or more fulfilling.
  3. Find one person who fits your focus and your product/service, and approach them with an open heart and an authentic desire to help.



Have you been waiting to really move forward with your work, or struggling to keep going? Do you keep following all the popular advice and it really doesn’t feel right? If you’re afraid you’re not following the right dance steps, not stepping in the right footprints, maybe it’s time to ditch the one-size-fits-all programs and let your heart lead you to something more authentic, more solid.

Shake it up. Do it another way—a more personal way.

You might really be surprised. And you might have fun.


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Zing! Becoming truer and truer versions of ourselves

The problem with reading good books is that there’s never just ONE great, soul-opening quote, there are always several. I can’t get this one out of my head either, from the introduction to this book:

“…I hope the story of our company can serve as a little light that will shine into people’s hearts…so that many more of us will actively transform the world, day by day, with meaningful work that allows us all to become truer and truer versions of ourselves.
—Shawn Askinosie, Meaningful Work: A Quest to Do Great Business, Find Your Calling, and Feed Your Soul

Beautiful arrow straight to the heart.

Looking back through the years since I started working for myself, I can see the pattern of becoming a truer version of myself so very clearly. Nothing’s been so surprising.

People I talk to believe that when you do it for a while, you get better at this ‘business thing.’  They think you’re constantly getting bigger, broader, building UP with skills and experiences. They want to build UP too.

But in fact, what I’ve found is the opposite: As the years pass I’m peeling away layers. It hasn’t been like stacking boxes of skills and wisdom higher and higher so I can get somewhere. It’s been like digging down, allowing myself to get closer and closer to what lies at the core of me.

And as we close in on that, something magical happens: Our intuition can finally take over, and the evolution of our work isn’t arduous anymore. Writing blog posts isn’t hard anymore. Even day to day business “bumps” aren’t a chore anymore, because the answers come singing out from that omniscient center of us that knows what’s meant to happen.

Who knew?  Not me. Not until now.

The notion of our work being a two-part harmony

Sometimes my mantra for the day comes to me early. Sometimes later. Sometimes right before bed. Today, I was fortunate to find this thought upon which to meditate almost immediately after opening my eyes in the morning.

“All business vocations should strive for greatness (excellence/quality) and goodness (heart). All business vocations should have a harmony between profit and the desire to do good work for the world. How do you do this? By pursuing both priorities all the time.”
Shawn Askinosie in Meaningful Work: A Quest To Do Great Business, Find Your Calling, And Feed Your Soul

Do I pursue both of these priorities all the time? I know that, when woven together, they make an almost unbreakable combination that can carry me through “dry” times, times of doubt, and times of excitement with grace and purpose.

Do I give them equal weight and equal space in my daily activities?

Your destination will be all around you

I’ve never been very interested in relying on a GPS device in my car to get where I’m going.

I’m one of those crazies who loves maps, and I want to know where I’m going by seeing it on a map. I like knowing what’s on the way, just off the route. I like knowing whether I’m going east or west, and what landmarks exist that can help me to orient myself. I like to see the hospitable things along the way, like where I might buy some apples, or a friendly place to stop in for a cool drink and a snack. I like to know where I am, so, if technology fails, I can tell someone where to find me.

Even as we’ve entered the age of digital maps on Google, I still want to SEE where I am going by looking at a map, not be told step-by-bite-sized step by an electronic voice. The latter tells you nothing about where you are in the big scheme of things when you get there. And when you don’t know where you are, you don’t know how to get home if your gadget can’t figure it out.

The GPS approach to business doesn’t appeal to me either. There are so many formulas out there to get us to “success.”

Do this.
Be this way.
Then do this.
Then buy this.
Then go here.
Then write this, say this, sell this, herd them into a pen, funnel them into your mailing list, sell sell sell, all under the disguise of helping people.

Then you’ll be rich like your business guru (except you probably won’t). You will have reached the outcome they assured you was the right one, and the happy electronic voice will say “You’ve reached your destination.”

That isn’t too interesting to me either. I’m on a new path every moment of every day, with a map in my heart that shows me how I want to feel at the end of the day, where I want to wind up, and all the unexpected beauty and kindness that’s available all along the way.

I’d be interested in a nightstand GPS device that, every night when I lay down, whispers quietly to me, “Your destination is all around you. Nice job on the trip today.”