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Aristotle coined a phrase – practical wisdom – to stand for the will to do the right thing and the skill to figure out what that is on a daily basis. He considered it the key to happiness, because practical wisdom is the path to fulfilling the two things that matter most – love and work.


To have meaningful relationships and to make a difference through your contribution are the essential measurements of a satisfying life. This goes far beyond mere incentives (like money or material possessions) to do the right thing – the reward is in the doing.


To have practical wisdom means that you know when to innovate, when to bend the rules, when to be flexible, when to improvise a solution. No set of rules can give us what we want because they become inherently constrictive. And rules can often require the individual to sacrifice their own beliefs in order to adhere to the rule.


One other concept that bears consideration here – it’s what Aristotle called ‘proper telos’, meaning to build on and nurture character in order to keep a profession true to its proper mission.


By working with the business, people can often see the impact of their beliefs, blocks, confusion and chaos because they’re not getting the business results they want; quite honestly, this is what shows them the extent of the need to develop their character, practical wisdom, potential, consciousness and their own self-belief. They rise to meet who they are here to be… and it’s through choosing movement, to do something different, that it can occur.   


You cannot grow if you stay in one place. You cannot get new results if you keep doing the same thing over and over again. You cannot honor your gifts if you stick to cookie-cutter systems and the ‘rules’, whether it’s the hidden rules for success in your head or the rules you follow that don’t align with your authentic being. And you can’t see your own thoughts as distorted because they are normal to you.


In order to develop your practical wisdom and to contribute ‘proper telos’ to your industry, pay attention to what pulls you, be aware of the triggers that trip you up and the opportunities that invite you to be more. Make the commitment to cultivate your best self and express that through every facet of your business. And be in gratitude for the ‘teachers’ who show up for you, regardless of their form (challenge, problem, issue, betrayal, disappointment) because it is these teachers who can show you the fastest path to your next best level both personally and professionally.


Cultivate your practical wisdom to innovate, improvise and improve your business. Then get ready to watch it – and you – grow exponentially.

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