Everyone seems to want to change the world, but we all seem to forget the one person who needs us the most. I see this every day in entrepreneurship. As an entrepreneur myself, I get it. We are people of big vision! But I’ve learned it is often these big visions for changing the world that is the very thing that holds us back the most.
I remember when I first decided I wanted to explore my entrepreneurial side and start my own business. I had big aspirations and dreams. What I was doing was going to serve the world – I knew it would change many lives. I passionately believed that what I was about to do would change the world.
I was wrong. My first entrepreneurial exploration was a failed attempt.
But why? It was a good business idea. And more importantly (I thought) was that my heart was right. I wanted to change the world; I wanted it to be a better place. Why did I fail in such an honorable pursuit?
Here’s what I learned: Although having the mindset of positively changing the world through my business is an honorable thing, it’s a wrong perspective for an entrepreneur who wants to succeed. Throughout this post, I will explain the proper mindset for succeeding in your work and building a life of service.
Why you should stop trying to build a business that changes the world:
When we focus on changing the world, we stop focusing on the one person or small group that needs us the most. (These are the people that what we’re doing this for.)
We all have something that we believe will change the world. Or at least that is our desire. Again, this is an honorable desire, but there are two fundamental flaws in this thinking:
#1. It’s impossible to change the world.
Don’t get me wrong, it is possible to achieve the impossible, but it is improbable, and it takes a lifetime of devotion to achieve. Also, this level of power will likely corrupt you along the way. I pray that I never change the world. But if you want to, here is the science behind achieving the impossible.
#2. Trying to change the world causes us to neglect the people who truly need us.
If you take one thing away from this post, let it be this. If you are focused on everyone, you’re focused on no one. By thinking about helping everyone, you’re not helping anyone.
As entrepreneurs, we have the desire to change the world to make it a better place, and in the pursuit of this ambitious dream, we neglect those closest to us. As a result, we’re missing out on serving the person who need us the most.
Here’s the big secret in all of this:
The way you change the world is by changing one person’s life. Do for one what you wish you could do for all.
I’ve had to fight the urge to make what I’m doing bigger because everything in me wants to do something big for the world. But impacting one life is significant. If you don’t believe that, then you’ve placed the wrong value on the worth of a single soul. (Let that settle in for a minute!)
Here are two real-life examples to help re-enforce my point:
#1. The real-life example of someone with a heart in the right place.
Yesterday I was in a Club House room where one of the speakers was passionately sharing how he wants to help people. Then he expanded by saying I want to help everyone, then again expanding, “I want to help the entire world!” Everyone in the room was excited about it, except me, because I know the truth. By wanting to help everyone, you’re helping no one.
Unfortunately, without changing his mindset, this guy in the Club House room will never stop to help anyone until ‘everyone’ is in front of him, rendering him completely useless.
The person I’m explaining used to be me. If you’re reading this, to some extent, I’m likely describing you as well. Here’s my advice: Do for one what you wish you could do for all. (More on this)
When you help one person, they’ll help someone as well; that person will help someone else, that person may help a few people. And it goes on and on. It’s called the butterfly effect, and it echoes on through eternity. Help one person today!
#2. The real-life business example.
My startup, PodMatch, has four avatars. These are unique individuals that we’ve defined who are our ideal customers. With that said, we’ve estimated that this service will be for and help .002% of the entire earth’s population.
Did you catch that number??? .002% of the entire earth’s population!
Our co-educators (competitors, some call them) in the industry would tell you that their service is for anyone and everyone looking to expand their influence and grow their businesses. Therefore, they believe their potential customers are in the hundreds of millions. Wrong! Do you know how few businesses globally service more than 100 million customers?
The co-educators in our space do not stand a chance against PodMatch, although they are great companies that I respect. And here’s why, they are for everyone, AKA no one. And PodMatch is designed to serve four people and the few people who are similar to them, not everyone.
The proper perspective for succeeding in your work:
Focus on a minimum viable audience. What is the smallest group of people that you can offer a solution to a relevant problem for? Find them and assist them in overcoming their predicament wholeheartedly. To dive deeper into this, listen to this podcast episode where I interview Seth Godin: The Secret to Succeeding in Your Creative Work.
A. Today instead of thinking about your next move in global market domination or changing the lives of billions of people, think about what you can do for the one person who needs your product or service most right now.
B. Instead of attempting to create a company that will change the world, revolutionize an industry, or become a new household name or standard, focus on a minimum viable audience. Think about the fewest amount of people you can help the fastest, then serve only them!
C. As entrepreneurs, we solve problems for small groups of people, not for everyone. Never forget that.
My request to you today is this, please stop trying to change the world. There are already too many people attempting to do that. Instead, take care of it by serving one person at a time. That is needed more than anything else right now.