I stumbled across Blake Mycoskie’s book, Start Something That Matters, in a profile about him in the Sunday New York Times. Mycoskie is the founder of TOMS shoes, a company that gives a pair of shoes to a person in need for every pair of shoes that it sells. More recently, he started TOMS sunglasses, which give a pair of glasses or an eye medical treatment or surgery to someone in need for every pair that it sells. Start Something That Matters tells the story of TOMS and other businesses that operate on a “one for one” model.
Reading about companies that have adopted this new approach is a breath of fresh air. The old-school corporate mindset of “greed is good” is no longer cutting it for many of us. As Mycoskie explains:
“People are hungry for success—that’s nothing new. What’s changed is the definition of that success. Increasingly, the quest for success is not the same as the quest for status and money. The definition has broadened to include contributing something to the world and living and working on one’s own terms.”
Start Something That Matters contains lots of tips for anyone who may want to start a “one for one” business of their own. For those of us who aren’t entrepreneurs, the book provides inspiration and practical advice about giving back to the world and finding your true self in the process. One thing that particularly struck a chord with me is Mycoskie’s story about moving from a loft apartment to a 200-square-foot sailboat. The much smaller living space required Mycoskie to give away most of his belongings, and he now advises people to “own as little as you can get away with”:
“Seriously—how much do you need? The fact is, the more you have, the more effort and money you have to spend taking care of it, which distracts you from enjoying it. People tend to buy lots of luxury goods, thinking it will give them a better lifestyle, but what they really create is a drain for their time and energy as well as their savings.”
As someone with much more stuff than I really need, I had an “Aha!” moment when I read this part of Mycoskie’s story. It inspired me to go through my things and donate a good amount to charity. (More on that in next week’s post….)
Regardless of your circumstances, you’ll find some nuggets of wisdom in Start Something That Matters:
“Even if you’re not going to start a company that matters, you can still start something small that can be built into something that matters in a very big way. Whoever you are and whatever you do, giving is important. Start now. Start by helping other people—anyone you can. Do something simple. You don’t have to start a business or big initiative right away—you can begin just by changing your mindset. Commit to seeing the world though the lens of how you can initiate meaningful change.”
You can download Start Something That Matters on your Kindle or Ipad, or get a “regular” copy of the book. For every copy sold, a new book is provided to a child in need. To learn more about Start Something That Matters and Mycoskie, click here.