Let’s face it: You’re not Richard Branson
And that’s a good thing
Most small business owners I know, dream of being Richard Branson. I know, I’ve had those dreams, but I don’t anymore and I think you should start changing your dreams as well.
Let’s be clear, by any measure you’d like to put up, Sir Richard has done pretty well for himself. I saw a photo of him in an ambulance the other day with scrapes and blood all over his face, because he just hurtled himself down a massive hill on a mountain bike… I’m Dutch, I grew up on a bike, but I can assure you I never did stuff like that on my bikes, and he’s recently turned 66… Next week he’ll probably make another billion dollars on some new internet venture or donate some insane amount of money to a worthy cause or do a solo kayak trip to the South Pole and back. And to make matters worse it seems by all accounts, that he’s a truly nice guy as well.
As role models go, he makes me sick.
How are we ever meant to feel good about ourselves when we are forced to look up to people like that every day.
No matter what we do, we’ll never get that island in the Bahamas, nor look as good in a wet suit when in our late sixties. It’s just not going to happen.
Pretty fair grounds to get depressed don’t you think?
Well no, actually. It turns out that feeling good about ourselves, about our lives and about our business has nothing to do with our achievements. Feeling good about our lives, feeling good about ourselves is about two things:
- Relationships, because we are herd animals
- The journey, because we are human beings
If Sir Richard Branson feels good about himself, about his life and his (many) businesses, it will be because of those two things only.
Firstly, as herd animals we actually are, we only get to feel really good about ourselves as a consequence of the relationships we develop with loved ones and family, with friends and with our community. The quality, intimacy and intensity of our interaction with the people around us leads us through life and allows us to feel happy.
Going on journeys that never end
And as the special animals called human beings we need to go on journeys. Journeys are about challenge and adventure and scary stuff; stepping out of your comfort zone and staying there. Journeys are never actually about getting there, sure you may need a rest every now and then and charge up the batteries from time to time, but the never ending adventure is where it’s at.
But the biggest journeys are not taken in a Kayak or on a mountain bike or in a hot air balloon.
The biggest journeys any of us can ever take, are in our own heads. There can be no greater journey for some people than overcoming the fear of public speaking, or for you as a small business owner, it may that learning to understand your Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss reports, are an ongoing struggle and source of discomfort.
For some of us the greatest journey we can ever undertake is to become a great employer of 1 or two people.
People and journey’s, your own personal journeys… Focus on those and you’ll feel just as good about yourself as Richard Branson does when he continues on his next crazy adventure… I promise you.
And if you ever need a self-assessment to give you some food for thought on whether you’re a small business owner who can juggle between the demands of life and business, here’s my treat for you:
You will get a score on my “Richard Branson” scale and I will send you back a short commentary on your score… I hope it will throw up some useful thoughts for you.