Love + Business = The New Path to Success?
The old formula: love + business = disaster.
The new formula: love + business = brilliance.
Love is a word business schools—not to mention consulting and advisory firms—shy away from. We are taught to make our case with value propositions. With analysis. With cold-hard logical facts.
But here’s the thing.
No matter how we decide to (analytically) justify it, we humans make decisions based on emotion.
We make flash-point choices, sometimes with tens of thousands or even millions of dollars hanging in the balance, based on how it makes us feel. Strong, proud, excited, smart…
So what’s love got to do with it?
Your sweet-spot clients need to feel the love. What entrepreneur/angel investor Wendy Lea calls “an intense feeling of connection”.
They need to feel you care about what you do. Not just by your words, but also through your actions: what you share, how you share it, how you evangelize for your big idea.
They need to feel you care—that you actually feel for them. That you’re focused on how you can best serve and even delight them in ways both professional and personal.
They need to feel your love.
Love as in your drive—your calling—to plow through obstacles and face down fears because you have a bigger purpose.
Because when you’re not afraid to show your love—even when it’s not perfect—that’s when your work and your business start to change. When your trust opens new relationships or sparks a re-flowering of those beginning to stale.
It’s not what they taught us in school or the big (and small) firms where we learned our craft.
But mixing love with our business is how we become brilliant.
How you become a lustrous, shining light in your world.
How you build a tribe that shines that light into corners you only dared dream of reaching solo.
How you build a sustainable business that produces work that matters far beyond yourself alone.
Love + business = the new path to success.
When it Comes to Your Money, Does the Truth Hurt?
“We’ve been arguing about this for year, and here we are in our 50’s. It’s time to stop!” Laura said empathically.
Paul’s downcast eyes and silence spoke volumes.
Laura continued, “We’ve worked with several advisors who have tried to help us invest our money in a sensible way. Then whenever the market goes down, Paul calls the advisor and tells him to sell everything! In all these years, no matter how much we work to build our financial security, we’re always playing catchup.”
Her words hung like a rain cloud about to burst when Paul began to speak. “I know, I know. I just can’t help it. I get nervous that we’re going to lose all our money. When the market goes down, I scramble—in my thoughts and in my actions. The driving force behind it is: At least if it’s in cash, the balance won’t go down.”
This is the moment where I felt I could lend my advice. First, I needed to learn about this particular couple and their values. Then, I could begin helping them take control of their finances.
“Tell me Paul,” I said. “What did you learn about money growing up? What messages did you hear as a child about money? From your father? From your mother?”
Paul’s eyes moved up and to the left, indicating his mind was reaching for memory. “My parents never talked to us kids about money, really. The one thing that stands out is my grandfather talking about The Great Depression and how it was such a tragic time. My parents both worked, but they never made a lot of money. They fought about money sometimes.”
“Any other memories about money?”
“Actually, yes. I remember when my father took me to the bank to open up a passbook savings and how exciting it was. The bank manager typed the passbook on this old manual typewriter and gave it to me. He showed me how the interest on the account added to the amount I deposited. I felt very grown up that day! But I guess that was the sum total of money training from my parents.”
“Can you help me understand how you and Laura make financial decisions?”
The question couldn’t be more impactful if a boulder had landed on his head. While Laura looked at Paul with a mildly accusatory glare, Paul searched for something to say that would keep his well-conceived protective fortress from crumbling. I interjected to ease the tension. I could feel the guilt in the air.
“Let me frame that another way, Paul and Laura. We all do the best we can as we live our lives. Let’s face it, our lives are filled with responsibilities in our families and our jobs, not to mention outside interests, health, and friends. While financial issues are important, unless you either have the knowledge and experience—or the help, most people avoid getting too deep into the confusion of managing their finances by doing the very least they can. What we don’t know scares us. So we defer, delay, make rash decisions based on our lack of time, knowledge, desire. Add a dash of fear to that equation, and you have a formula for financial problems. I want you to know, you are not alone. It’s more common than you could even imagine. The question is, do we allow the truth in so that we can move forward?”
It’s important to admit the truth behind our actions in order to rectify past and future mistakes or regrets. Living in denial only perpetuates making decisions that could potentially lead to financial disaster.
“I hate to admit it,” Paul said. “I guess in my desire to protect Laura from stress, I’ve made decisions that have hurt us, and I’m sorry. Michael, you hit the nail on the head. You defer, avoid, and allow your emotions to take over. And as a result, bad stuff happens. I think I’m ready to ask for help.”
Laura’s expression softened, and said, half-kiddingly, “You think?”
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