The sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, penned the following eloquent words regarding Elul, the final month of the Jewish calendar year:

The month of Elul is the month of reckoning. In the material world, if a businessman wishes to conduct his affairs properly and with great profit, he must periodically take an accounting and correct any deficiencies... Likewise in the spiritual service of G‑d. Throughout the year all Israel is occupied with Torah, Mitzvot and (developing and expressing) good traits. The month of Elul is the month of reckoning, when every Jew — each commensurate with his abilities, whether scholar or businessman — must make an accurate accounting in his soul of everything that occurred during the course of the year. Each individual must know the good qualities in his service of G‑d and strengthen them; he must also be aware of the deficiencies in himself and in his service, and correct these. Through this excellent preparation, one merits a good and sweet year, materially and spiritually.

Perhaps the first order of business for the month of reckoning is some soul-searching regarding our approach to our Jewish obligations. Do we run our spiritual business like an entrepreneur, or like a low-level, nine-to-five employee?

Let's use the example of a retail establishment. The owner is preoccupied with the venture 24 hours a day. Even when he is sleeping, he dreams about his business. If sales aren't up to par – and even if they are – he is busy developing new advertising techniques and marketing gimmicks to drum up more business.

Do we run our spiritual business like an entrepreneur, or like a nine-to-five employee?Conversely, even the best clerks and stockers have very limited interest in the success of the store. If a shopper walks in, they will offer superb customer service. If there are no customers—well, it's not their problem. And from the moment they punch their timecards at the end of their shift until they show up for their next shift, the business is the farthest thing from their minds. Incidentally, that's why these fine workers get paid minimum wage; they have no emotional investment whatsoever…

Just as each of us needs a material occupation to provide us with financial income, so too we are required to make a "spiritual living," to bring holiness into our surroundings through the study of Torah and observance of mitzvot. Every individual is provided with the necessary talents and abilities to illuminate his particular and unique niche in this world.

There are two ways to approach this spiritual livelihood. We can sit in the store and patiently wait for customers, or we can pursue them. We can wait for someone to request assistance in studying Torah and/or the performance of a mitzvah, or we can actively search for such opportunities. We can wait for mitzvah opportunities to stumble upon us, or we can search for them like lost treasure. As King David said, "I rejoice over Your word as one who finds great spoil."

This is especially true regarding Ahavat Yisrael, loving and caring for our fellow Jews, the mitzvah which is the cornerstone of the entire Torah. Jews are naturally good-hearted and caring. It is second-nature (or maybe first-nature) for a Jew to respond generously – both financially and emotionally – to a fellow in distress. But we must go beyond that. We cannot wait to be confronted with tragedy, G‑d forbid, before we exercise kindness and mercy. We must actively seek ways to help our brothers and sisters, even before they walk through our shop-front door asking for help.

Mitzvot are more than obligations. They are our life's ambition and goal.

So, for the next year, do you want to sit in Dilbert's cubicle, or would you prefer the corner office with the panoramic view? If you intend to ask G‑d for the CEO's office—act the part!