If you want to put me to sleep, don’t worry about sleeping pills.
Talk about EBITDA, profits, revenue, and ARPU. The financials of the business are where my dreamland is found. I prefer the pulse of people in business because they produce financial success that can never be found in spreadsheets.
Ever seen a stand-up meeting at work where people read out their “numbers?”
It’s painful to watch. It makes my ears bleed and my heart stops after every number. The innocent victims asked to read out their numbers are like slaves about to be hung in ancient times, saying their last words. They’re terrified.
What is a business?
It’s a legal entity. It’s a collective group of people under the same brand name. It’s a mythical legal construct that pays taxes and distributes paycheques.
A business is not real. You can’t touch it. You can feel its people, though.
Going to business school is strange. Have you ever met a person with an MBA who gives a presentation at work? It’s like they’re speaking Chinese when all you know is English. They talk about revenue and profits like they are real and are the meaning of human existence. “If we focus on the customer, profits will go up?”
I’ve always wondered if customers can feel a business’s desire for profits like a spiritual calling that awakens them from a deep sleep and causes them to open their wallets to a company with a logo.
Could a business predict your behavior based on the analysis of the numbers? I don’t think so. Science hasn’t come up with a breakthrough to humanity’s problems by looking at the data of company profits.
People solve problems. People create businesses. People work in businesses.
Perhaps worshipping people and not a business is another alternative.
No memory of bonus cheques
In 2016, I received a large bonus cheque. The date is not known to me and the year is only visible because it’s the same year I bought a car.
The bonus was a big deal. I remember hearing the figure and pretending not to be surprised. I pretended like it was obvious and I and Rocky Balboa shared the same last name. A few days later, the bonus evaporated into the financial markets. It’s still out there. Somewhere. In Amazon, or Facebook, or wherever the Index Fund gods believe is best.
The memory of that bonus is gone. The digits went from one bank account, to mine and then out the other end to a new account number. Each transfer was seamless and insignificant. If you ask me what I did with it, I couldn’t tell you. What I can describe for you were the people around me at the time.
It was the people with me that helped me find the bonus cheque, and later myself, who are superglued on my forehead for life. Those people were colleagues, then friends, and now people that can only be described with one word: love.
Love languages in business
I keep reading headlines about the five love languages. Being a relationship coach is probably a bad idea for me, so I stay away from reading these articles.
But business does have a love language. Do you know what the four love languages of business are?
If you spoke in these four love languages of business, you’d change your life.
Customers would beat down your door for your products and services. Your marketing wouldn’t require paid ads anymore. The way you talk would turn every bit of content into a mini Martin Luther King Speech.
Learning to love people
2016 was the year I learned to love people. I figured out this stupidly simple business hack: love people.
Love the customer, the secretary, the cleaner, the competitor, the supplier, the bank you deposit your pay into, and the person who leads you.
The better you get with people, the better life gets. You can’t buy people; only love them. Every other hack I tried before this realization was useless. The business suit didn’t make me confident and block out my anxiety.
Having goals didn’t motivate me to come to work; people did. Being an entrepreneur didn’t make me smarter than a white/blue-collar worker. Reading business books didn’t give me a mythical edge.
Loving people came about because business never managed to fill the void. Depression reigned supreme when excess money entered my life. People helped heal my mind through the work we did together because they saw themselves in my struggles.
I began to worship people because they gave me so much without ever asking for anything in return. The advice was plentiful. 1–1 chat with bottomless cups of tea was incredible. Introductions to new customers were frequent.
People loved me so I loved them back. The business did nothing for me, but people, they made the workday worth it.
A customer is a physical being with a heartbeat
Everyone talks about marketing and content. I tried the selfie with the BMW behind me, the late-night vodka shot with a beautiful girl, and posting photos of business books that looked cool but were never read.
Then one day I started putting emotion into my work.
I stopped marketing and started feeling. I stopped talking and started listening. I stopped pretending and started stating facts regardless of the mythical idea of a personal brand.
People started watching and leaving comments. 6 am became a time to check emails from people who felt something. There became less and less business talk and more and more human talk.
Pictures were painted with emotions and customers were convinced with vulnerability. Suddenly, I had a business, not a hobby.
If you were told customers had heartbeats, would you still communicate in the old financial language of business?
The more you understand people, the better you get at business
That one sub-heading is everything I know about business after multiple failed startups, one big business success, six years of blogging, several years of six-figure writing, three podcast interviews, and six years posting daily on LinkedIn about humanity, not the business.
Understanding people is good for business. When you do, you’ll see life is about so much more than business.
Nobody who ever saw low numbers and then high numbers in a spreadsheet ever went on to be endlessly happy and marry Prince Charming or Cinderella.
Love people and the business world will look different and change your life.
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