We start off life focused on self. We have basic needs and as long as they are met we are relatively happy.
As we get a little older, we become aware of others. Not just as things we interact with, but as individuals with their own sense of self. We develop some sense of sharing and a sense of competition.
The high-end of athletics is a prime example self and competition taken to its extreme conclusion. The goal is to prove you are the best, or are at least on the best team, and have the world acknowledge your worth.
As some people mature further, they start placing others ahead of themselves for limited periods of time.
Many parents show this trait instinctively in protecting and encouraging their children. However, if you dig deep there is sometimes either pride or self-motivation underlying the selflessness. Aggressive hockey or soccer parents are prime examples of living vicariously through children (your sense of self as a parent is tied up in your child's achievements, if your child is great at something it is somehow tied to you).
As we get older (and our children no longer need our attention) several other factors start affecting us:
- We start considering our mortality,
- We start looking for meaning beyond being parents and job,
- We start wanting to leave something behind that has significance.
Some people move to what I consider is a higher plane of emotional maturity; they start thinking of the welfare of others without tying that giving to any reward for self. There are extreme examples of this state of personal development, but it is not necessary to give up all material wealth or rewards for self to achieve it. It is also important to not give up all sense of self or at some point you may become bitter or regretful.
Many consider our purpose to be to evolve as human beings during our lives. Some do so early, some later and some never.
In any event, it is important to look at both where your customers are in their spiritual evolution and even more importantly where you are. It is best that your self and business are in alignment.
Just keep in mind… you are not your business and your business is not you. Many people lose sight of this important distinction.