Living a Life of Meaning

As my dear friend Paul Polman often says, the world is short on two things — trees and leaders. This is not because people care about their own lives over the health of our planet and of others. I believe it’s quite the opposite, actually. All human beings want to live, laugh, smile, connect, and exist fully and wholly. We all have a burning desire to find meaning in our lives, but we’re conflicted about our own goals, overwhelmed by a world we can’t control and left feeling powerless to affect change.

Instead of focusing on the change we want to make, we think of our lives as a set of chapters, with success defined by what needs to be accomplished in each chapter: graduate from college, get a good job, find a partner, buy a house, have children, etc. While these are all admirable achievements and incredible life experiences, this fractured approach keeps us from making our biggest impact.

How many times have you heard the story of the man who, on his deathbed, wished he had spent more time with his family instead of at his job? What if, instead, we reached the end of our lives proud of the long-term impact we’ve made in the world?

I believe that this is possible. But if we want to build a better world, we need to have clear goals to guide us. We need what I call Omnipreneurship — an organized approach that integrates everything we care about to help live a life of meaning.

What does an omnipreneur look like? It looks like Ahmed Al Asheq, a husband and father in Bangladesh who recently launched a social enterprise to address educational inequities in his country. Or Kelly O’Lauge Dulka, a social worker, therapist and now Vice President of a YMCA chapter in California who is looking for new ways to expand mental health services and make her program more impactful. For me, it means leading a family business, the Al-Dabbagh Group, our philanthropic platforms, the Stars Foundation and Philanthropy University, in a way that will bring meaning and fulfillment to our employees and the customers we serve, while also improving the lives of 100 million people by 2020.

If we don’t deliver on our meaning for life, we aren’t living. I invite you to join me on the journey of Omnipreneurship so that we can make a better world — together. 
Amr Al-Dabbagh is CEO of the Al-Dabbagh Group, which operates 62 companies in 60 countries employing over 15,000 men and women around the world. Follow him on Twitter at @theomnipreneur and buy his book, Omnipreneurship, now available for Kindle and in hardback on Amazon.