Does Your Business Own You?

Not too long ago, I was sitting on a beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and noticed a couple holding hands, walking along the shoreline. They looked so peaceful, like an advertisement for an island getaway.  And then it happened: his cell phone went off.  She gave him a look as if to say, “I dare you!”  I couldn’t believe it.  The idiot took the dare.  Not only did he answer the phone, but he let go of her hand, walked away and talked for about ten minutes.  She shook her head, walked over to their beach set-up, which was about twenty feet from mine, and sat down under their umbrella.  By now the couple that looked like an advertisement for an island getaway were about to become prime candidates for the Dr. Phil Show.

He walked over to her and tried to explain.  I grimaced.  In my head I heard the booming catchphrase popularized by announcer Michael Buffer that boxing fans know so well:

“Let’s get ready to ruuuumble!”

Ding, ding!  She came out swinging.

“How could you?” she asked.  “I can’t even believe you brought your cell phone with you, but you had the nerve to answer it!” I feel sorry for you. Stop and look how beautiful this place is and you won’t allow yourself to be in the moment!”

Now what he should have done was listened to what she had to say. Of course, he didn’t.

“Hey!” he jabbed at her in his defense. “If it wasn’t for my business, we wouldn’t even be on this vacation!”

She rebounded with a combination of blows that seemed to shake the champ.  “Vacation?” she said, incredulous.  “Vacation?  You call this a vacation!?  This is our anniversary!  We’ve been here for three days so far and you can’t stay away from your cell phone and stupid computer!  You brought your job with you!  You just can’t stop yourself!  It’s like you’re addicted!  You don’t own your business. Your business owns you!”

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She picked up her belongings and took a few steps towards the hotel.  Then she stopped, turned, and delivered the final blow:

“You know, you used to be married to me.  Now you’re married to your job!”  The champ just stood there, looking like a real chump.  I thought the wife made an interesting choice of words.

Does this story come as a surprise?  Let’s face it.  We are living in a world that is moving at an amazing pace.  It is easy to get lost and misplace our feelings and values.

Most of us are conditioned to devote most of our waking hours on our jobs and professional goals leaving little, if any, time for other important aspects of our lives.  Who can deny that we live in a highly competitive society that stresses the importance of being the very best, rather than simply to do the best we can?  Many have bought into the grand deception of always wanting more, regardless of how much they already have.

We have adopted the illusion that money, power, and fame can fill that self-created emptiness and make us feel complete.  I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with these things.  It is the obsession with them that make them dangerous.

Maybe it would be wise for us to come to the realization that what we think we want in life may not necessarily be what we need in order to lead a truly successful and happy life.  Maybe, just maybe, we are leaving out important personal factors from the equation of what truly completes us as individuals.  Maybe it’s just a matter of making a slight shift, finding your balance and choosing a better way.  Maybe there are too many “maybes” in this paragraph. Or in your life.

I’m at a place right now where my philosophy about what’s important in my life has shifted significantly.  Yes, I love what I do for a living. I always did and I always will. But I know far too many people who are so caught up in trying to make a living that they’ve forgotten what it’s like to live.

Sometimes what we think we want in life isn’t what we really need to be truly happy and successful.  More often than not, what we want feeds the Ego.  When we fulfill our needs, we feed our Soul.  Pause today for just a moment and ask yourself, “Which one am I feeding right now?”

Choose wisely dear reader, because time has a cruel way of saying, “I told you so.”


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