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Yes, You Can Have It All!

17 June, 2019

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The Most Important Business Metric that Few Owners Measure and Manage

By Bill Silverman

As a painting company owner, I’m sure that you use a variety of metrics to gauge the success of your business. At least I hope that you do! Sales, gross profit, expenses, net profit, quality and customer satisfaction are some of the most common measures of success. You’ve probably heard the old saying: “What gets measured, gets done.” And it’s true! By tracking these metrics, you can keep your fingers on the pulse of your business and make proactive adjustments when needed to keep you moving toward your goals.

But there’s one measure of your business success that hardly anyone I know measures and manages: Your personal happiness. You heard me right: How happy are you? Not how happy are you with your business. How happy are you in your business and life? Do you enjoy coming to work every day? Do you love the work that you do when you get there? Does it energize you? Are you having fun? Does it give you balance in your life?

Now I can hear some of you saying, “Come on, Bill, work isn’t supposed to be fun. Work is hard. I’ll have my fun on the weekends and after I retire. Right now, I’m running a business. And everyone knows that the larger a business gets, the more headaches, problems and fires, hours at work and stress there is. That’s just the way things are.”

Raise your hand if you were thinking any of these thoughts. I knew you were out there!

Well, I want to challenge this notion. I’m a firm believer that your work should be fun and enjoyable and give you a balanced life—and that you have control over your happiness.

 


    

Want to know how other contractors find happiness in their work? Listen to Why Paint? Repeat only on Paint Radio.


How happy are you today?

Before I share some things that you can do to make yourself happier, let’s first take your happiness temperature. It’s simple. First, think about how happy you’ve been in your business and life over the last 30 days. Now, rate your happiness on a scale of 0 to 100 where 0 means things in your life are incredibly bleak and 100 means that you’re in a constant state of ecstasy. You get the picture, right? Got a number? Good!

If you’re like most people that I know, your rating is probably between 40 and 75. You’re not in the black hole of despair, but you’re not jumping for joy happy either. Here’s how you can improve your happiness and your score.

Three ways to increase your happiness

There is a large and growing body of research on what makes people happy and how to make yourself happier. Below are three happiness practices that I use personally and use with my clients that have made a big difference in my life and the lives of my clients.

1. Add more of what makes you happy back in to your life. Sit down for a few minutes and make a list of 50 things that make you happy. I know that 50 sounds like a lot, but once you get going, you’ll realize that there are actually hundreds of things that make you happy. Nothing is too small or silly to put on this list. It’s your list. What kinds of things, people, activities, music, memories, places, foods, smells, etc., make you feel energized and alive in your business and life? Don’t think. Just write whatever comes to mind.

That wasn’t too hard, was it? Now, look over your list and circle the top three items that make you happy but are missing or in short supply in your business or life today. Think about how you can add more of these things back in to your life. Now do it! It will make a big difference in your daily happiness.

2. Eliminate some things from your life that make you unhappy. What are you unhappy about with your business or life as it is today? Where are you settling for less than you really want? What causes you stress and frustration? Just like you did in the exercise above, make a list. Then pick the top three things that you want to change or eliminate from your life this month that will reduce your stress and frustration and make you happier. Some of the things that you want to eliminate or change might be too big to eliminate this month, so for starters, pick three things that you can realistically change that will improve your happiness in the short run.

If you have any big items that will take longer to change, pick one and map out a game plan to change it over the next six to 12 months or more. Many of my clients, for example, have over a year or two stopped working with all but the best general contractors and have experienced dramatic spikes in their personal happiness as a result.

3. Appreciate the good things you have. As business owners, most of you are programmed to identify and fix the things that are broken or aren’t working well. In fact, continuously finding ways to improve is one of the keys to success in business.

But when it comes to happiness in your business and life, much of the happiness research suggests that happiness comes from appreciating the good things around you instead of focusing only on what’s wrong. A simple way to appreciate the good things in your life is to take a little time every day to write down three things for which you are grateful. These things can be big or small. If it’s a rough day, they can be as simple as “my dog met me at the door” or “the sun is shining today.” I do this practice myself and it’s have made a huge difference in my happiness.

Commit to a happier life

There’s a saying that I like that goes, “Most of us are just about as happy as we make up our minds to be.” I think that it’s true. So, commit to a happier life and try these three happiness practices for 30 days. Then rate yourself again on the 100- point happiness rating scale. You’ll be happy at what a difference they will make in your life!

But, don’t stop at 30 days. Measure your happiness and use these happiness practices every month. You’ll be happy that you did!

Bill Silverman is the owner of Springboard Business Coaching. He is dedicated to helping you propel your business to the next level of growth and profit while you work less. He can be reached at (856) 751-1989 or bill@springboardbizcoaching.com.

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