July 7, 2023

One Thing Has Always Guided My Career Success: Think and Act Like a Business

ONE THING that has been a constant since well before the pandemic and will remain long after is a belief system that has supported me through every major change I’ve made in my career: I was thinking and acting like a business.

If you’ve had a job during the last three years, chances are you’ve thought about where you’re working as much as what you’re doing. 

Who knew the “where” could mean as much as the “what” for some of us? If you think about it, where you worked was actually a vital concern. Your health depended on it.

ONE THING that has been a constant since well before the pandemic and will remain long after is a belief system that has supported me through every major change I’ve made in my career: 

I was thinking and acting like a business.

Let me be clear; thinking and acting like a business is very different from thinking and acting FOR a business. Believing in the former supports the latter. Allow me to explain.

I see myself as the leader of Me Inc.—or, as I prefer, SAW Inc. (Steven A. White). I am the chairman and CEO. You are the leader of You Inc. Your success—however you define it—depends on how well you invest in yourself by thinking and acting like a business. 

Thinking and acting like a business—in all parts of my life, not just in my career—shapes every decision I make, small and large. 

It challenges me to separate emotions from facts so that I can act intentionally in ways that align with my values and move me toward my why: creating a table of prosperity for others and reaping the fruits of a more meaningful life. 

Moving positively in the direction of my why means that I focus on three things:

  1. Be an owner, not a renter. 
    My responsibilities in life don’t end with me, but they begin with me. A successful life must include an unwavering investment in SAW Inc. And your success is tightly linked to your investment in You Inc. Invest in yourself as an owner, someone who knows the value of long-term improvements. 
  1. Don’t make it personal. An uncompromising approach to life involves radical responsibility, not just easy responsibility. Radical responsibility means we do the hard thing, the right thing, which often means setting aside our wounded pride so we can make the best choices for our lives. 
  1. Don’t go it alone. The gig economy has given rise to “solopreneurs.” Still, they don’t succeed on their own. They need people, just like employees who are part of a team. Surround yourself with people who share your values and support your why. They’ll believe in you. In turn, you believe in them, and making deposits into their lives comes naturally and creates synergy.

BONUS TIP: Earn it. 

I learned early in life that when you take full ownership of You Inc., you won’t allow yourself to be a victim. Instead, you take radical responsibility as the owner of whatever circumstances you’re in and whatever results you are getting.

Not everything may be your fault, but it’s still up to you to make it better. Businesses don’t like victims. They don’t enter into working relationships thinking that they’re owed something. They know they must earn that business. 

You have to offer better service, you have to get over it if life or work isn’t fair, and you have to jump at the chance to work on the company’s toughest problems if you want to get noticed and succeed. 

Everyone experiences unfairness, oppression, and injustice, and some people get far more than their share of it. I experienced more of it than many executives I know but not nearly as much as many other people have endured. 

Thinking and acting like a business doesn’t guarantee success, but it will ensure that you stay on the path toward achieving your fight. And achieving your fight means that you don’t live with any regrets. I can’t think of a better way to live.

Live your why,


P.S. I’m excited to announce my latest Uncompromising conversation with the betterHUMAN podcast host, Greg Witz. Explore and learn from this chat and more here. In case you missed it, I also released a new video series in partnership with RightNow Media. Scroll down the page to learn more.

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