I was talking with an acquaintance and asked “How are you?” and the response was, “Good I guess. I haven’t made any money this month.”
I said “Well, things can be great AND you might not have made money. One doesn’t require the other.” My acquaintance gave me a quizzical look and replied “I guess…” We were interrupted and didn’t end up talking more about it.
As I reflected on it later, I realized how easily I could have been on the other end of that conversation.
If a business friend or acquaintance asked me “How are you?” I felt like I was somehow lying if I said “good” but hadn’t met my financial goals for the week or month.
My personal worth was directly tied to how much money I thought I should be making. And how close or far from that mark I was.
Maybe you can relate.
Near the beginning of my business I attended a conference where the woman leading it said that if you’re not making a profit in your business, you don’t have a business, you have an expensive hobby.
And like everyone else in the audience, I nodded my head in agreement. And I tried not to outwardly show how ashamed I felt because I had just learned I wasn’t an entrepreneur, but someone with an expensive hobby.
A couple years later I heard someone else describe a business that’s not making a profit a different way. He asked if you were making progress, if you were trying new things, if you were learning, if you were implementing what you were learning AND if you were – then you were attending your own private school of entrepreneurship.
He pointed out that many people go to college to learn something they can get (hopefully) hired for later. They pay thousands of dollars a year for that privilege.
And you’re learning lessons from your business they don’t teach in college. You’re receiving an education about yourself that’s priceless.
So, when someone asks you “How are you?” I propose you toss out the measuring stick of “How much money am I making?”, “Am I making a profit – or enough of a profit?”, and “Did I reach my goals this week/month?” And replace it with “Am I learning?”, “Am I making progress?” and, most importantly, “Am I having fun?”