From The Department Of Many Grievances

Chris Rock said, “You can be married and bored or single and lonely. Ain’t no happiness nowhere.”

Nothing confirms that last sentence more than a quick peek at social media or the news these days. Seems like nobody is happy about much right now, with LONG lists of grievances, complaints and things to be angry over. The “divided” States of America.

As you know, most people’s p’ing and moaning is over trivial and petty stuff – but if anyone has reason to complain, it’s small business owners who are endlessly frustrated with a Covid hangover, the lack of people wanting to work, skyrocketing inflation, soaring gas prices, supply chain problems, increased taxes and now the government imposing various mandates for vaccines, masks and gatherings that vary by state.

Running a business was never easy, but the famous words of Thomas Paine (appropriate name) are more appropriate than ever: “These are the times that try men’s souls.”

And while it’s healthy to stop and remind ourselves that we all have it FAR better than most, it is that ever-present restlessness and dissatisfaction that drives us to work, to improve, to innovate and strive for a better life, a better business, more money and more convenience. To that end, those emotions are actually good things when used as FUEL to drive change.

When you’re absolutely disgusted with your weight, you’ll do something about it…but not if you’re just unhappy over what the scale says. When you’re finally fed up with being broke and financially strapped, you’ll change your habits to remedy the situation. When you finally have had enough of any bad situation or outcome – and I do mean have truly had enough – you’ll DO something about it.

Until then, you’ll hate your situation, be annoyed by it, complain about it endlessly and walk around generally unhappy, but you will continue to do the things that screw up your life (or fail to do the things necessary to change). As the trite but true saying goes, if it’s important you’ll find a way, if it’s not you’ll find an excuse.

Some business owners complain about PARTS of their business: managing people, the necessity of doing marketing, having to do paperwork, the complexity of creating systems and processes, etc. But the reality is, if you cannot get excited about ALL the aspects of growing a business, you’re going to have productivity problems and bottlenecks. In fact, that’s a big reason why some don’t grow – they’d rather complain about something they have to accomplish or do in their business rather than simply rolling up their sleeves and getting it done. Far easier to complain about how hard it is to find good people than it is to invest the necessary time and energy into actually fixing the situation – and it IS fixable, although not easy.

Certainly there’d be a lot more “happiness” for business owners if we only had to do the things that come easy and that we like to do, like my 7-year-old, who eats her treat for lunch and throws away the vegetables. And while it feels good in the short term, it’s a train wreck waiting to happen long-term – and that is why so many people fail to succeed: they live in the NOW, only doing those things they like or are good at, barely scraping by doing the things they don’t like or ignoring them altogether, kicking the proverbial can down the road.

This is a BIG reason there’s so little competition at the top. It’s not because there’s no opportunity. It’s not because there are barriers and fences erected to keep the folks at the bottom out. It’s because the number of people who are willing to do the things they aren’t motivated to do, on a consistent basis, is SMALL.

Lots of people SAY they want to grow their business, get more and higher-paying clients, take more time off the business, have less stress, make more money, etc. But very, VERY few are willing to put in the work to make those things happen. They might start doing what’s necessary, but quickly have their drive and determination dissolve when smacked with the complexity, difficulty and problems they must master to get ’er done. It doesn’t take long for them to start complaining about “how hard it is” or that “it’s impossible to.”

In business – and particularly in America – you get to choose the life you want to live and the price you are willing to pay for the privilege of having it. Just don’t complain about your misery on the curb when you failed to pay the price of admission to get in. You are either willing to do the work or you’re not – so, think twice about complaining.

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