If you're thinking about your goals to better yourself, your organization and maybe even society, Sir Richard Branson is here to help.
In a blog post, the billionaire entrepreneur says that in order to make a difference in the world, you need to start by meeting your own needs. To do this, the Virgin Group founder suggests a simple visual trick he personally uses with himself, his family and his company: draw out your "circles of support."
"I start by drawing a circle around myself to make sure everything inside that circle is working well," Branson says. To perform this internal check on himself, Branson says he asks himself questions such as:
One way Branson works on taking care of his own work-life balance is by working from home six months out of the year.
"It's critical to get the balance between work and play right," he says. "Find time for yourself; work hard, but also play hard."
Assessing his own needs first then allows Branson to look toward others who are close to him.
"Once I feel that circle is fine I widen the circle to include family and friends and do everything I can to help them and make a difference there, too," he says.
Branson has noted in the past that success in life is not about material gains or losses, but rather, "it's how you bring up your children, it's your friends, these are the things that really matter in life."
The 67-year-old business mogul credits his appreciation for others to his mother, Eve Branson.
"I think that upbringing taught me never to say ill about anybody, always to look for the best in people, and I've found ever since that by looking for the best in people — you get the best," he tells CNBC Make It. "I think for a leader, it's absolutely critical that that's how you conduct your life."
Next, Branson recommends widening the circle to include your immediate neighbors.
"Make sure you get to know your neighbors well, what their issues are and try to help them," Branson says. "Keep the street outside your house as clean as you'd keep the carpets inside your house. If all neighbors drew circles around themselves and their homes soon many would overlap and the elderly, the lonely, and people more generally would feel connected, loved and cared for.
Branson adds that you should apply the same consideration for your neighbors to the environment, which "is in desperate need of this attention" and is included in his next circle.
"At my home in the Caribbean, we've drawn a circle around it covering the sea, the reefs and neighboring communities,'" Branson says.
When Necker Island, his private island home, faced devastating damage in September due to Hurricane Irma, Branson called upon the U.S. and U.K. governments to step up their support.
"Man-made climate change is contributing to increasingly strong hurricanes causing unprecedented damage," Branson said. "The whole world should be scrambling to get on top of the climate change issue before it is too late – for this generation, let alone the generations to come."
Branson argues that issues like climate change, drug reform, abolishing capital punishment, universal healthcare and LGBT rights "wouldn't exist if everyone in the world started off with a small circle around themselves that grew over time so that every circle in the world ultimately overlapped."
"Whether you have fitness goals, want to change your work-life balance or make any type of positive change in your life, draw a circle around yourself and start from there," Branson says. "Then expand to your family and friends, and then to your neighbors. You'll find your own goals are more easily achieved with their help too, as your circles overlap."
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