For most people, the spirit of a capitalist enterprise is the exact opposite of the winter holiday spirit. This isn’t a new thought – it’s not without reason that the fictional elderly miser Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol is a wealthy businessman, and must learn generosity and kindness from the three spirits of Christmas.
Good values deeply instilled in your organizational culture are just as important to the thriving of a startup project as they are to a successful life as a whole.
So, just like Ebenezer Scrooge did 180 years ago, here’s what we can learn from the holiday spirit as startup founders.
“Think about your present blessings – of which everyone has many – not about your past misfortunes, of which all people have some.” -Charles Dickens
First and foremost, we must acknowledge and be thankful for the unique positions we find ourselves in. We live in a unique time in history. More resources are being invested disruptive organizations and technology every year. The frontier of what is possible is expanding at unprecedented speeds, and as founders we are part of the explorers on this frontier.
We have the unique opportunity to use our creativity not only to enrich ourselves, but also to generate real value for future generations.
As difficult as life gets, it’s worth remembering the immense potential and value of our struggle.
“There are many things I could have benefited from, which I have not profited from, dare I say” – Charles Dickens
Everything we do in our projects is deeply intertwined with the lives of others – there’s no escaping that. Not so good for nothing startup teams feel like a family.
If generosity and gratitude are core values in the culture you build, then the time you spend with the people you work with would become much more enjoyable, and we suspect much more productive.
This does not only apply within your organization. Adopting a net positive attitude is a great way to ensure you leave the world better than you found it, no matter how big your impact is.
The adoption of the net positive way of thinking about doing business is evident in the trend to become a benefit company – a type of company that strives to synergistically create value for its shareholders and all other stakeholders.
You don’t have to be a non-profit organization to do good. On the contrary – the free market is one of the main drivers behind the rising quality of life around the world and if companies of the future are committed to creating value for all stakeholders, this trend would not only continue but accelerate.
“Because by giving we receive.” – Francis of Assisi
“Any fool can criticize, complain and condemn – and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” -Dale Carnegie
Startups are by definition innovative. What we do is difficult, and consequently failures and mistakes are inevitable.
The right attitude to thrive in such an environment is to forgive both yourself and others quickly, but at the same time be relentless in learning and improving yourself so that you are better equipped to succeed in the future.
Joy and Celebration
Finally, cultivating joy and celebrating successes can help create a positive and motivating work culture.
“Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a state of mind.” —Valentine Davies
Adopting this state of mind can help you live both a happier and more productive professional life as an entrepreneur.