Gut Check (Issue 545)

In which we pause for a moment to consider whether we’re balancing well.

 “It’s hard,” he said, and he paused for a long time, silent.  I heard him swallow.  “It’s hard to win.”   He spoke slowly. His voice sounded deep… hollow… tired… and I heard just enough echo around his voice that I knew he’d answered his cell phone in a mens’ room somewhere. It was 5:30 am on the November Friday before election day, four days left in his run for mayor. So much for leaving him an early morning encouraging  message.

He said, “There’s just so much good to be done, but you can’t do any good unless you get elected…. You wake up every morning feeling like you haven’t done enough, that every moment you rested you should have been doing something, that whatever you have done isn’t working well enough. And, you know,  it gets worse as we get closer to the election.”

I let that sink in for a while.

“So, what are you going to do today?” I asked.

“We’re running a food drive tomorrow,” he replied. “We’ll spend all day getting ready for that….  I don’t know whether that’s the right thing.”   His voice trailed off.

In many industries, it’s been hard to win in the last two to three years and we haven’t always known whether what we have been doing is the right thing. In these conditions, especially, when sales “election days” approach – when our clients and prospects and our managers determine whether we “win the election” or “get into office,” when we’re threatened with the possibility we may not get invited back, it gets worse for us, too, particularly if we’re running behind.

Entrepreneur and writer Josh S. Hinds wrote, “Business is a game. The minute you think of it any differently it ceases to be fun and immediately begins to control your life and ultimately drives you crazy with wild obsessions and eventually ruins your family life.”

It’s hard … to see the wisdom of that statement when we’re up to our waists in alligators, when we’re feeling the fear of not making our numbers and the pressure from our managers to perform. It’s hard to think of sales or our businesses as games when our cash flow isn’t good.   Good time of year for a gut check.

It’s hard… to see the wisdom of the statement, too,  if we’re tonnin’ it, if we’re killing the numbers. Man, if we’re on a roll, stay on a roll, run that baby hard ‘till the rings burn out and the engine falls out. Maximize!

Good time of year for a gut check… how we’re doing with this game, are we playing the way we want to play?    Are we making ourselves crazy with wild obsessions?  Are we ruining our family life? Have we got the balance we want or the balance we want to build. I’m just saying….

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