Business owners should take time to celebrate
Updated: May 7, 2018
Someone asked me yesterday if I missed the mayhem of owning my business at Christmas time. The truth is that I do. While I don't miss taking inventory, all the extra hours, the squeeze of finding enough time for family and customers, figuring out if there should be a Christmas bonus or another program, organizing staff Christmas parties, and figuring out what to write on a card, there are things that I do miss.
I miss the celebration, the binding together as a staff to get everything done before the holidays, the rush of customers, the extra time spent catching up with customers and sharing good wishes for the coming year, the feeling of satisfaction that a lot got accomplished today, this week, this year. I also miss spending time with my staff and their families at a Christmas party and hearing the sincere "thank yous" for a bonus that will make a difference for a staff member's family.
In business, we don't celebrate enough anymore! We are too busy. We are exhausted after the Christmas rush, the end of the year, preparing for the holidays.
Celebration is different than just a Christmas party or a staff event. Celebration means that we put aside time to remember what we have accomplished.
This is hard to do in society today, never mind business. And just how do we make time? Perhaps we take a day or two off of work or away from the business. Time when we sit quietly really contemplating what we have done during the year. Maybe, we already know what we have accomplished and we spend time being thankful with our employees, or partners, relaxing in the memories of those accomplishments.
The problem is that we never take time to truly celebrate. Sure, we will have a staff Christmas party, but as owners it's often just another event that we "have to get through," an obligation like taking inventory. We rarely take time to shut things off and contemplate. Our phones are constantly with us reminding us that our employees have a problem, that a customer has complained, that our family needs us right now.
It's not the phones that are a problem it's us as business people. Let's face it - we have an addiction to that device and it keeps us on a leash to our business. We worry that if we don't have our phones, something will go wrong. "How will they contact us?" "What will happen if my customers can't reach me 24-7?" "What will I be missing if my phone is off?" "I won't know what is going on!"
Research show that when we get a text, an email, a message on our phones, that something happens in our brains and chemicals get released by our body.
We get excited. This is similar to what happens when an alcoholic gets a drink. Over time, we don't think we can live without that excitement and we can't put the phones down. We have them on from early morning to late at night waiting for that next exciting message. What will it be about? Our brain rewards us when we hear that message come in.
The result is that when we have something that we really should be celebrating - that big sale, those fabulous customers or an employee achievement, we feel the same as we do when we got another text. We are gradually conditioned to feel that it's not enough. The truth is that we feel a little blas because it's not meaningful to us anymore. But what is meaningful?
In business, as in life we need to celebrate the little things in life. The beautiful sunrise or sunset, the smile on our children or grandchildren's faces, the tender touch and those wins, big and small. We need to remember that in order to feel like celebrating it's essential that we take time to contemplate what is important and to relegate that unimportant text message on our phone to somewhere near the bottom of the pile.
Perhaps this is the Christmas that you will have the guts to turn off the phone for a few days. Ok, start with one day and contemplate what you need to celebrate. Once you realize that the world doesn't need you to reply to every message right away you might make a new year's resolution to go device free one day a week. It's a novel idea but it might change your life.
Dave Fuller, MBA, business coach and strategist is the author of the book Profit Yourself Healthy.