It was 10pm on a cold January night. My business partner was out of town, and I was the lone man on the ground out here running our operation. Due to a series of terrible, terrible mechanical failures at one of the properties we manage, I found myself in a bathroom, with gloves, a mask, and a dust pan scooping up human waste from the bathroom floor.
Apparently, as luck would have it, when a guest had drained a tub upstairs, about 30-40 gallons of water surged down to the bottom floor, and then proceeded to back-flow out of the septic system out of the toilet and the bath tub, and filled the tub and covered the floor with a nice thick layer of the most disgustingly terrible thing I’ve ever had to deal with.
My partner felt like crap. 8 hours away, and all he could do was make calls and try to find someone who could get out to the property and help me fix it. He kept apologizing that he wasn’t there and kept encouraging me that I was going to get through it. He felt so helpless. He was a lot more help than he thought.
It was while I was dealing with this mess (ugh), that I found myself pretty distraught. Frustrated. Gagging in my mask repeatedly. Trying to figure out how someone who had just wrapped up a whirlwind year, breaking 7-figures in sales our first year, was now on the bottom floor of a property literally dealing with someone else’s crap.
But this was a pivotal moment for me. I thank the Lord for it honestly.
I realized, while I was brushing all sorts of semi-disposed waste particles from the base boards with a toothbrush, that money is not a personal success metric. Money – dollars – are a business success metric. Breaking 7 figures our first year in business was amazing, but it was completely irrelevant to my life, my joy, my personal feeling of success that night. Honestly, most days it makes little difference to how happy I feel.
Obviously, our contributions to a business directly influence the financial success of the business, but it’s all too easy to confuse the success of the business with your personal success and satisfaction. I definitely feel a sense of accomplishment some days when things are going well, we’re having a strong month, landing another deal, etc. All of it is Grace, and we’re thankful for it, but it has been invaluable to me to realize that the numbers on a P&L are a much greater indicator of the fact that I have a job tomorrow that is able to fund us doing something we’re passionate about, than it is of how successful I am as a person.
Getting the two confused(personal and business success) are the reason I see a lot of folks get their personal priorities all screwed up – they’re just so convinced if they can get that business to just make another dollar, or cross a financial line, then they’ll finally be happy.
That’s a dirty lie.
How much the business is making plays very little in to how I feel on any given day. It doesn’t make me any happier when I have to go scoop up some poop, then when I get to close another sale.
That’s why you have to find what you love to do. Work hard at it. Be an honest person. Be passionate every day. Get up, fight for it. Strive for it. Learn as much as you can. Keep showing up. Take the risks. Give it 100% even when you’re tired and burnt out.
The dollars don’t ultimately matter to your feeling of personal satisfaction. If they do – your priorities are broken. Get that through your head, and you’ll be set up for a lot more success that will matter a lot more through your life then how much your business made in the previous year.