Over the years, attorney and accountant friends have reminded me how setting up a new corporation is somewhat like giving birth to a baby. For all intents and purposes, the corporation is treated as a separate entity, expected to sally forth into an unpredictable world. And those who invest in it (so long as they play by the rules) are not held accountable for the consequences that befall the business.

Perhaps it’s my ego, but I’ve always thought I was a bit superior to these entities birthed through legal bunkum. After all, they don’t breathe and they don’t bleed. Then again, both the corporation and me will eventually go defunct, based in part on the choices we’ve made along the way.

Maybe there are more similarities than I give credit for, especially when it comes to measuring success. Business books and hard-earned experience have taught me that for a corporation to sustain itself and thrive, it needs to do three things well: it must develop a positive culture, it must be founded on a clear (and well-communicated) mission and it must make wise choices about which strategies to pursue.

How might these apply to the living, breathing me? I see my culture as being my personality and values that show what I’m all about. Am I consistent and clear about what these are? How is my “culture” viewed by the other important people in my life?

What about a core mission for myself? I find purpose in making positive contributions to a greater good. I work to hold myself accountable to this personal mission, and share it with others as I move forward.

And, lastly, do I make wise choices about my life during the times that really count? Whenever I come to a fork in the road, I hope I will always examine the possibilities of each path, and then choose the one that moves me in the best direction.

This analogy between a human being and a corporation has its limitations. Corporations don’t have feelings, and I have a bunch of them. Sometimes these feelings get in my way and sometimes they boost me forward. Corporations don’t have dear friends; thank goodness I do, and I count on them immensely.

And lastly, I’m made of soft tissue: a heart and a brain, and I believe I’m held accountable for all of my behaviors, some which do not add to my personal bottom line, but speak to the essence of being a tiny but significant member of humanity.