I was chatting to a good friend of mine recently.
Abbas has been running his own business, a leading UK provider of air monitoring services, noise surveys and Legionella risk assessments, for a tad under 20-years.
That’s one hell of an achievement in itself.
I was living next door to Abs when he launched his business in a makeshift office at the back of his house in Galton Road, Bearwood, Birmingham back in 1998. One of the first things he did was ask me to record the answer phone message for his business on its main number. Don’t ask me why he wanted my dulcet Brummie tones welcoming his potential new clients to his business, but he did and I obliged.
Anyway, our conversations of today, regardless of the array of topics we discuss from business to family matters – tend come back to a constant theme;
I get plenty of that. I should think you do too. I find most growth-orientated, success-focused people do – particularly if they’re of the acutely impetuous kind like I am.
In my case, if the “F-word” isn’t managed intelligently, it can get a tad unhealthy and at times I can find myself teetering on the edge, especially if the cause of the frustration is what I’d consider to be unnecessary.
And God knows there’s been plenty of that kind knocking around this year. Don’t get me wrong, as much as 2017 has been a brilliant year for me on many levels, it’s also been laden with a “truck load” of the worst kind of frustration.
I can live with the frustration of plans not coming to fruition as quickly as I’d like. After all, anything of worth, anything representing major achievement and growth, always takes longer to come to fruition than we envisage – and I’ve grown accustomed to that kind of frustration over the years.
But when my valuable time is being sucked out of my life by incompetence, negligence, the pointless “red tape” of liberty-restricting authorities, or just good old-fashioned stupidity, it drives me nuts.
They say these things are sent to test us. If that’s the case – and I believe it is – I’m not convinced I’m always making the grade.
Anyway, back to my friend Abbas and his constant frustration.
I don’t coach friends. Not in an ongoing, formal coaching relationship. Never have, never will. It’s one of my major “no-no’s”. There’s good reason for it too. Despite being an undisputed master at my trade, I’m not the right man for the job when it comes to coaching friends or family. In fact, I’m the worst man for the job, because I’m too close to them.
At some level, I’m invested emotionally in maintaining the relationship and there’s a risk that attachment could inhibit my ability to ask the questions that need to be asked to help the other party get to where they need to go.
It wouldn’t be a conscious act and I’ve got no doubt after nearly 2 decades and thousands of hours perfecting my art, it’s very unlikely to happen, but if there’s a smidgen of the possibility, which there is, I’m not willing to wear it on my conscience.
Back to Abbas. He said, “I’ve been to your website several times and everything you say in that message describes my life”.
I already knew that. I’ve known it for years. I’ve observed Abbas build a great business and I’ve watched that business increasingly consume its owner. Every time Abbas and I speak, he’s at some far flung part of the country, hundreds of miles away from his home and family, serving his clients.
All very commendable and understandable in the early years, but nearly 20 years on, it’s a disaster. This wasn’t how it was meant to shape up for Abbas. It’s not what the entrepreneurial dream promised.
He’s got a successful business, plenty of disposable income, a beautiful and loving family, yet the chains that shackle him to his business, denying him the freedom to enjoy the many blessings of his life to the degree he should, are heavier today than they’ve ever been.
Something’s gone horribly wrong and no topic is more worthy of further discussion than this one, because Abbas is far from alone in his predicament. On the contrary, this is the way life shapes up for the vast majority of business owners, regardless of where they’re at in the life-cycle of their business and I can assure you, there’s only one cause to this unwanted effect.
If it remains unaddressed, there’s one hell of a price to pay. It’s said ignorance is bliss. You could have fooled me. From where I’m standing, ignorance is horribly expensive.
Christian Simpson is the UK’s leading coach and mentor to business owners and entrepreneurs. For COMPLIMENTARY ACCESS to tried, tested and proven entrepreneurial success strategies, click here