Occasionally, we experience a speaker that touches our hearts, souls, and minds in a profoundly impactful way. This was my experience last week at the Inc. Magazine Iconic conference in Washington, DC. Conference, when Life Is Good Founder Bert Jacobs took the stage.
Bert and his brother John dreamed of building a business together since they were very young. They grew up in a home with 4 other siblings and a lot of love, but with very little of anything else. Despite the hardships, no matter what was happening, their mother Joan made one request every night at the dinner table: “Tell me something good today.”
This commitment to optimism stuck with Bert & John, and became the basis for their international company, Life is Good.
In a moment, the Life is Good icon “Jake” was born. Bert and John were committed to sharing the power of optimism with the world by creating emotional connections with consumers through their messaging.
“Each one of us has a choice: to focus our energy on obstacles or opportunities. To fixate on our problems, or focus on solutions. We can harp on what’s wrong with the world (see most news media), or we can cultivate what’s right with the world. What we focus on grows.
That’s why the Life is Good community shares one simple, unifying mission: to spread the power of optimism. Optimism is not irrational cheerfulness or “blind” positivity. It’s a pragmatic strategy for approaching life. Optimism empowers us to explore the world with open arms and an eye toward solutions, progress, and growth. It also makes life a hell of a lot more fun.”
While consumers may see Life Is Good as a clothing & accessories company, it’s actually a communications company. Their mission is to become the hub of optimism. Their approaches apply to the real world and to the corporate world.
Every Life is Good meeting begins with the question, “Tell Me Something Good That Happened Today.” Their organizational culture revolves around optimism, and is reflected in the extraordinary work they do for others outside of the organization. In addition to donating 10% of its net profits too kids in need, Life is Good has launched national events that have raised millions of dollars for sick children. Their social commitments are integrated into every aspect of their business.
Social Enterprise: Leveraging Business to Change The World
Social enterprise, and “doing good while doing well,” is the future of all businesses. Businesses that do not serve a purpose beyond profitability will not survive. My long-time close friend Yanik Silver recently discussed this movement in his new book, “Evolved Enterprise: How to Re-Think, Re-Imagine, and Re-Invent Your Business to Deliver Meaningful Impact and Even Greater Profits.” Yanik is a 20+ year entrepreneur and best-selling author. The book evolved from a question he was asked: Do you want to push water down the river, or do you want to change the course of the river?” He decided he wanted to change the course of the river…to be a part of the conversation about how businesses can be a force for good to change the world, and not simply be about profits. Yanik is giving away copies of his book. Just click on the link above, and you will pay shipping plus $1 which goes to a charity.
Business owners have never been more empowered to use their enterprises to make a difference. No longer is philanthropy a separate component of business. No longer do we need to choose between building a for-profit model or a non-profit model. The businesses of the future will serve a higher purpose, which will elevate the standards of living for all of us.
Successful Culture has been a long-time supporter of Tigerlily Foundation which provides breast cancer support to women under the age of 40. The founder, Maimah Karmo is one of my closest friends, and is a 9-year survivor of breast cancer. Maimah started TigerLily while she was going through treatment for an aggressive cancer, and while raising her daughter (now 12) as a single mom. Successful Culture will continue to support Tigerlily as Maimah works tirelessly to expand her impact. Now in 42 states, Tigerlily last year generated $1 million in aid for women across the country who are fighting breast cancer.
So the question is, how are you changing the world through business? Imagine if every business committed itself to changing the world. It all starts with you.
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CEO, Successful Culture
“Taking Leaders from Triage to Transformation.”