Why Aurora Victim Jessica Redfield Taught Me The Greatest Lesson I Ever Received About Business

Three things have happened to me in the last 24 hours which have tugged on my heart quite a bit and I knew I had to get some things off my chest. I also knew that there was a lesson that I could learn from the events that have taken place during this time, as I have found that there is always a lesson embedded in every event (good or bad) if we look hard enough…

The Last 24 Hours

Yesterday, I found out that my good friend (and agent) has inoperable brain cancer. This morning I had a very heart-wrenching conversation with a homeless man that I actually can’t help at the moment (I have a homeless foundation so I like to think I can always help)… and of course, I got the news of this horrible shooting in Colorado and the story of a passionate and budding professional woman named Jessica.

For the purposes of this post, however, I want to focus on Jessica Ghawi (also known as Jessica Redfield) and how she has forever changed the way I look at business.

What I Learned from Jessica Redfield

As an entrepreneur who dropped out of college (ironically, at The University of Colorado) to run my first business, over the last twenty-one years since that time, I have found the tragically consistent theme that most people tend to separate their business lives from their personal lives in a very damaging way (I have also been the poster child for this many times before).

It wasn’t until today that I really have full clarity that, no matter what we are doing, it is critically important to understand that EVERYTHING we do, whether business or personal, is still part of our lives. We don’t have a business life and a personal life, we have ONE, all-encompassing LIFE. Period. For this reason, we must take advantage of every moment of our lives, whether it be business or personal … because it can be taken away from us when we least expect it.

Business Is 50% of our lives

Statistically, work is one-third of our lives at the absolute minimum, the other third consists of whatever we do ‘outside of work’, and the remaining third is sleep. So, basically, our work, business, profession, whatever you want to call it, is 50% of our lives. I point this out because it is absolutely imperative that we have a passion for what we do professionally in order to truly love life the way Jessica did.

If You Love Your Work, You’re Not Working

I always use the quote “if you love your work, you’re not working.” It has always meant a lot to me, but never as much as it does at this very moment.

I took a look at Jessica’s twitter pics and I can see a person who exemplified this philosophy. Yes, she reported on all things hockey, but when I look at her pictures whether business or personal, you could tell she was hockey’s #1 fan. I can also tell she had tremendous passion for what she did, something, again I have always preached but have not always practiced.

When I started my first business I was all passion and no business. Before I knew it, I was all business and no passion, and without passion there was no joy, no matter how big the paycheck. I have had many businesses, and what I can say for certain is that all of them were born from passion, however, each time, the more and more of a business it became, the less and less of a passion I seemed to have for it (that’s probably why I love my not-for profit business the most).

Jessica practiced what I’m trying to preach, as she was a far greater practitioner of it than I ever was. I can tell Jessica loved her work, and loved her life. What’s so fascinating (and at the same time not fascinating at all but rather commonsensical) is that rarely have I ever found a person who loves life and hates their work. We can’t hate life half the day, and love life the second half, and then wake up and start hating life again. As emotional beings, it’s not humanly possible. Even if we did, and we spent half of our lives hating life, we really would never know what it’s like to truly love life (certainly not the way Jessica seemed to at least).

Jessica loved her work. For that reason, because she loved her work, she wasn’t working.

She has reminded me and I’d like to remind you to love your work and anything and everything else you do, and most importantly, even when you think you aren’t loving life, remember there is a lesson embedded in everything. Even tragedy. I learned the greatest lesson I have ever learned in business from someone I never knew.

Without life, there is no business. So love your business and love your life for every moment of it that you have because, like she has taught us, you never know when it will be taken away from you.

Thank you Jessica for teaching me one of the greatest lessons I have ever been taught. God bless you.

MJ

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14 thoughts on “Why Aurora Victim Jessica Redfield Taught Me The Greatest Lesson I Ever Received About Business

  1. I’ve always believed that as people we shouldn’t pretend to be someone else at work. We are one person. I think where a lot of people get messed up is that they feel they must appear to be someone else to get a job.

    I’m happy to see that going away though.

    Life is definitely too short to not do what we love, or to work with negative people. Of course we have to make money – that’s just how life is. However if you are doing what you love then money is a byproduct and like icing on the cake.

    If we take a full inventory of what’s truly important to us, I bet money is actually low on the totem pole. Despite what television may tell us, there’s much more to life than money. Happiness is at the top of that list for me. And happiness cannot come from being two people at once.

    Be true to yourself at all times, and you’ll attract like people. Trying to be what you believe people want you to be is a losing battle. Been there done that, and I’m not going back.

    My heart and prayers to out to all the victims of the Colorado shooting. It’s a horrible and senseless tragedy. I pray for swift recoveries and healing.

    1. Thanks so Much for the comment Robert. Yeah, crazy. People don’t seem to understand exactly how little money matters when they don’t have the health (or life) to enjoy. Thanks again so much my man. -MJ

    1. Yeahh man. I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately this is not the case for many people, as it wasn’t always with me either. Good reminder. Thanks my man

  2. Love this post MJ. IMHO the most important thing we can all do is bring our Heart and Humanity into our business and recognize that who we are as people… our loves, families, and passions. When we bring who we are to the table people feel it, connect with it, and truly like it. Today, in the world of technology, e-mail, voicemail and text messaging, social communication, what we really want is to connect. Even if we think we’re too busy, it’s what we really want.

    We must remember that it doesn’t matter what your business is, your clients will trust you when they sense your authenticity and sincere personal interest. It’s not just about good business but about humanity as well.

    1. So true Ted. I always say because the online environment is the trend, people think that offline is dead which I think is not the case at all. The main reason I operate online is to expand my outreach in hopes that the relationships I build online will turn into offline relationships in the future. Good luck on your upcoming book (if i remember it’s called Return On Relationship), I know it will be a tremendous success due to the ‘authenticity’ you speak about. I always enjoy your videos. Have a great day and thanks again. :-)

  3. MJ Your own personal feelings come through loud and clear! Great post – better luck with the integration! I am totally inline with your thoughts on this! I am unable to look to compartmentalizing work/life. For me – In my most powerful moments and times – It is all life – living your work and living your life. Separating them doesn’t work for me very well- it’s more about being present – showing up 100% to what you are doing at this moment. Bringing your best and being your best – Areté. Jessica brought her best!

    1. Great points Glenn. I definitely hear you and thanks. It has been very hard for me to do as well. Need to re-prioritize and integrate like you said “it is all LIFE”. Definitely hit me hard and taught me a precious lesson. Thanks again my man. Have a great one.

  4. MJ,

    Thank you for writing this post and giving more gravity to the point of loving your work AND your life.

    Sometimes it takes a tragedy for us to pay attention. Which is unfortunate, but all things have a purpose, eh?

    Teds words from above: “your clients will trust you when they sense your authenticity and sincere personal interest. It’s not just about good business but about humanity as well.”

    Sort of brings it all home!

    I’d add that we also must make it a point to take 2.2 minutes to remember these things and connect with those we like and respect.

    Thank you for sharing!

    ~Keri

    1. Thanks so much Keri. Yeah I always get so much out of Ted’s writing. I agree it is unfortunate I had to learn this from tragedy but all I cam think of is if jessica taught us so much without me ever knowing her, I can only imagine how much impact she had on those that she did know! Thanks again so much. :-)

    1. Thanks so much Joel it is very much appreciated. Its crazy how we can learn so much from someone we never met right? Thanks again for sharing. Have a great day. :-)

  5. MJ, this post hit me right between the eyes. I’ve been trying my best to avoid the details of the recent Colorado shootings because… well, out of frustration that this kind of thing has been going on for so long in this country (since Columbine – HOW many years ago?) and we’re no closer to stopping it.

    Well, looking at Jessica’s radiant smile brought the event front-and-center.

    Your post hits the mark with me because I, too, found starting my first business much more emotionally rewarding than running it. It went from joy to work. Indeed, that’s why I refer to myself as a happily-former CEO.

    You are absolutely right: whether work is 1/3 or 1/2 of your life, it is imperative that you enjoy each and every minute of it! Life is too short to settle for less.

    Thank you for sharing this, my friend.

    Ted

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Ted. Yeah, I had definetely lost my way. Its so important that we keep our passion and our love for life in everything we do. Best of luck to your new book. If it is anything like the posts you share it will be a home run
      ! But I guess it can only be a success if you are having fun the whole way thru right? Thanks again so much for such a great comment and share my man. :-) by the way, sorry for the tardy response as I just switched from my crackberry and am a week old android virgin and not used to these tiny little keys as it has taken 30 mins to write this reply! Lol. Have a great day and thanx again so much.

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