I used to joke in the past with some of my associates. We would have deadlines to meet and in passing, I would notice the conversations were more focused on the previous night’s event rather than the current task at hand. I would tell them, “More work, less talk.” I wasn’t hard on them, but I wanted to steer their focus back to the work.
Those days were long ago. I no longer have associates that work for me, but this lesson of working more and talking less is even more important now than ever. And who needs the lesson the most? I do. Which is strange, because I really thought I was working as hard as or harder than anybody else. My work is primarily all on myself. I work out every day and eat mostly the right things so that I can improve my body. I read as much as I can and try to write daily. Heck, I even meditate two to three times a day so that I can be in that ideal state of mind. When I am actually at work or involved in other projects, I try to stay productive, even relentless. But for all that I am doing, there is one area where I have failed and failed miserably.
I told my wife that I was going to support her in her business. I told her that we were in it together, and I would be there. What I told her and what I did were two different things. Over the last week, I have been thinking about what went wrong. Why was I so gung-ho to help in the beginning and then so lackadaisical later? Why was I not following through on what I said I was going to do? Here is what I came up with:
- I became selfish. I was so focused on improving myself that I sacrificed the team. It is not all about me. There is nothing wrong with wanting to get better, but it will come with a cost. If I want to continue on this self-improvement journey, I need to manage my time better. I tell my son all the time that he cannot always do the things he wants to do, but instead he needs to do what he is supposed to do. I need to listen to my own words and apply them to myself. I need to be better balanced.
- I was uncomfortable. I don’t know the business as well as I could. Because it is not in a field where I have experience, I am not as passionate about it as I should be. Couple the lack of knowledge with the lack of passion and it equals discomfort. Instead of taking the hard road of learning the business, I took the easy path of not being fully involved. What a mistake! The hard road is where growth occurs. Not only is the growth in the business, but within me. Take public speaking for example. Some people have a fear of it. They want nothing to do with it and so they avoid it. But if they confront their fear, slowly immerse themselves in it, they have a chance to overcome that which is holding them back. And there it is. I need to confront that which makes me uncomfortable. I need to grow.
- Immediate gratification. I saw the money going out to support the business. I saw the time invested and even some of the frustration involved with a new business. I was not seeing the rewards. It is an easy thing to do when you are looking on the outside and not getting fully involved. I am spending a lot of time on my own personal businesses. None of which are expected to make any money in the near future. I am hoping my investment in them will eventually pay off. I get little or no gratification out of it, yet I still do it. Shouldn’t I have the same attitude with my wife’s business? Should I evaluate her business differently than my own ventures? No. So I let her down again in this area. And it comes down to attitude. I shouldn’t look at my investment from a “what can I get out of it now” perspective. I should be looking at it from a “what can I do to help you build it” viewpoint. I truly believe the business has the ability to be very profitable in the future. I need to keep my eyes to the future as I help lay the foundation now.
So of course, I have had my reasons for not helping. None of them good. However, all of them can be corrected, which puts me on that path to becoming a better person. I have some work to do. My wife can’t trust me to be there for her. I have to rebuild that trust. I can’t tell her that I am now willing to help. I have tried that line already and let her down. It is not in the words but in the action. This is how I can rebuild the trust. I have to do the work. I have to become faithful in what I do and just maybe I can come back into the fold. More work, less talk.
Lesson for my son:
In all labor there is profit, but mere talk tends only to loss. –Proverbs 14:23