The price of business success?

- August 27, 2010 2 MIN READ

Have you thought about what business success has cost you lately? If you don’t consider yourself successful just yet, what would you be prepared to pay for your dreams?

We tend to think of business success in terms of what it gives us. Money, fancy toys, freedom, fame, respect and similar desires spring to mind immediately.

But what are you prepared to miss out on in return?

One day when I was 13 years old, my dad came to watch me play football. This was a rare event because my dad was always very busy being “successful”. I played the best game of my life that day. I scored three times, and every time, I turned to my dad to gauge his response. It was just the best!

My teammate Patrick’s dad was also a businessman in our hometown and like my own father, had a lot on his plate. Both men had plenty of reasons not to come and watch high school football on a Wednesday afternoon.

Pat’s dad Bill was a big man with thick bushy eyebrows and hairy ears, but his greatest attribute was his booming voice. Whenever Pat got the ball, Bill would yell out “GO SON!” and everyone would hear it.

As kids, we used to make fun of Bill’s antics, but now I see it in a whole different light. Firstly, Bill was there every week, while my dad seldom was. Secondly, Pat knew Bill was there every time he got the ball. And most importantly, the whole world knew that Pat was Bill’s son and that he was a very proud dad indeed.

Both these fathers were successful. They ran profitable businesses, and were well regarded in our local community. However, one paid a much bigger price for success. Which parent (and which small business owner) would you rather be?

So, what have you missed out on? What will your kids remember about their childhoods? Are your clients more important that your kids because they pay the bills?

I struggled to find balance in my life for years, and often felt torn setting priorities between trying to get ahead and enjoying the ride. Now I’ve realised that without balance, results do not equate to success.

As a small business owner you’ll be very familiar with attributes like passion, enthusiasm, drive, energy, vision and focus, all of which work together to bring success your way.

But if you want your business success to be meaningful, permanent and lasting, it’s important to add balance to the list of attributes you foster in yourself. Without it, you may burn out. Worse still, your family may burn out while you’re off being busy and successful.

What has your business success cost you? Or perhaps you became a soloist because it freed you up to spend your time meaningfully? Please share your stories below.