I recently met a businessman from Kuwait. He is a LifeETC Community member and got in touch with me via email. We finally coordinated to meet here in Lahore. We had a good round of coffee and soup. We talked about business. We talked about community. We talked about Life etcetera. LifeETC community talking about life etcetera. Figures.

A completely different set of realities, different backgrounds, different cultures, but we sat there sipping gourmet coffee because we both shared the same idea. And we both welcomed each other’s company.

Islamabad is not just famous for a non-existent night life (thought I do hear otherwise), it is also famous for its great roads for cyclists and runners. Having a conversation over email with another LifeETC Community member, we’ve already made plans to trek the infamous trail number three. I will be visiting Islamabad next month, God willing, and am looking forward to some fun climbing.

I received an email from another member, from Spain. He told me how he’d want to visit Pakistan one day and meet up. He is an entrepreneur running two enterprises and is learning English. And he signed off by a simple one-liner, “a friend in Spain, Anthony”.

The Dazzling Landscape

Making others feel welcomed is a practiced art. I try to do it. Sometimes I fail. But lately, I have seen the benefit of entertaining friends. And making new ones.

This whole community building effort is not just “for the blog”. This blog may be the centrepiece, but it is a tool, nothing more. The mission is to push the idea of creative self-employment,  living life to the fullest and living a life of adventure.

So many people are doing such amazing things that eventually change their surroundings for the better. So many people with so many interesting stories to tell. In the rush of stories, some happy some sad, you realise that you yourself are changing. The stories leave a mark, an impression here, an imprint there. Soon, you realise you too have changed.

We can follow the supposed words of wisdom and “always be selling” or “focus on the bottom line”. But isn’t “the bottom line” or “the profits” sometimes justification for insatiable greed? Wasn’t the whole idea of business to solve someone’s problem for a profit? When did it become about “earning a profit” and nothing else? Why has it come to a stage that I have to remind myself that I am doing “for-profit philanthropy” or I am doing something wrong?

The mad run towards “earning” the shiniest tool is too distracting. Making a hundred thousand dollars so I can buy a tincan on wheels takes too much energy. While the world waits to be seen. How can I discover myself, my world and my Creator when I am too busy earning my next wrung on the ladder? Perhaps the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall? Perhaps.

The 500mm Lens

Isn’t the complexity of life dazzling? But the simplicity of choice helps you focus, like you have a 500mm lens mounted on your thoughts.

The focus comes from the overarching vision which is the ultimate tool for all adventurers and entrepreneurs. It tells you WHY you are doing what you are doing. If you don’t like the answer to your WHY, then you know which stories to adapt, which change to encourage.

All because you practiced the art of welcoming someone. Of actually taking the time out to know people. Reading about them. Or meeting them via Skype, Facebook, Twitter or Face-2-Face: you tried to nurture and serve your community. That is why the LifeETC Community meet up was so special. That is why the next planned meet up (in February 2013, God willing) is being planned now. A group of independent thinkers assures one thing: independent thinking.

And in practicing the art of welcoming someone, you mess up sometimes. But failure is just feedback. As long as you are determined to learn from it and move past it, failure is just feedback.

There is comfort in knowing that you will be welcomed and not rudely turned away. There is comfort in knowing that your phone calls will be returned and a hot cup of tea with your name on it will always lie in wait.

I count my blessings and I can’t. I count my cups of tea and I can’t. Thank you for being a part in all of this.

Here’s to helping each other in achieving their dreams. Thank you and you are always welcome.

God willing, I will be giving a talk on “Why You Shouldn’t Call Yourself an Entrepreneur” at TEDxAnarkali tomorrow (17 Nov’12). Your prayers and support, as always, are welcome.

I have also registered for the triathlon in Abu Dhabi in March 2013. One friend has already shown interest in joining me! 🙂 The adventure continues… 

For more frequent updates and happenings, you can “like” the Facebook page of this community by clicking here

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