Why You Do, What You Do
We celebrated our twins birthdays at the weekend (Lily turned ten a whole minute before James!).
Each year, I share a short story, as a reminder of what is important to me. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I picture myself in the scene and it becomes real to me.
Before I do, I want to focus on WHY we all do WHAT we do.
- Why do we go to bed late with a zillion ideas racing around our heads?
- Why do we get up at stupid o-clock to exercise?
- Why do we become obsessed with shiny new things?
I’m sure you have your ‘thing’ that keeps you going on those days when a client rips into you, or a member of your team makes that same mistake AGAIN!
But we take stock, focus on our “thing”, and go again.
It’s vital to keep reminding ourselves of our personal ‘why’, because as Entrepreneurs, we’re fortunate to do what we do.
Eleven years ago, Jacki and I tragically lost our first daughter, Louise. No one expects death at birth, and our lives changed forever. I never returned to my CEO role at a plc.
It’s a crying shame that it takes something of such a huge magnitude to make us realise what is important to us. It did for me that day, and I hope that the short story below helps some of you to re-focus on what is important to you, whatever that may be.
So, here’s the story….
A busy Entrepreneur dad arrives home from work late (again) and is greeted by his young son…
Son: “Dad, may I ask you a question?”
Dad: “Yeah sure, what is it son?”
Son: “How much do you make in an hour?”
Dad: “That’s none of your business. Why do you ask?”
Son: “I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?”
Dad: “If you must know, I make (thinks for a while) about £100 an hour.”
Son: “Oh!” (bowing his head down).
Son: “Daddy, may I please borrow £50?”
The father was furious.
Dad: “If the only reason you asked me that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy, then take yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish, I work extremely hard every day.”
The little boy quietly retreats to his bedroom and shuts the door.
The dad sits down and starts to get even angrier about his son’s questions.
After an hour, the dad calms down, and starts to think…perhaps there is something he needs to buy, as he doesn’t ask for money often. The man goes upstairs to the boy’s bedroom door:
Dad: “Are you asleep?”
Son: “No, I’m awake”.
Dad: “I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier. It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the £50 you asked for.”
The little boy sits straight up, smiling.
Son: “Oh, thank you dad!”
Then, reaching under his pillow, he pulls out his piggy bank and starts to count the coins and notes. The man sees that the boy already has money and starts to get angry again.
The little boy slowly counts out his money, and then looks up at his father.
Dad: “Why do you want more money if you already have some?”
Son: “Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do, I have £100! Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow, I would like to have dinner with you.”
The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness.
I make no apologies for this story; it always brings a lump to my throat and tear to my eye.
Still to this day, I don’t work Fridays or weekends or late evenings. Of course, there’s the odd time when I make an exception, but it must be a special reason as my ‘thing, my ‘why’, is Lily, James, Jacki and the memory of our beautiful Louise.
I’ve found there’s nothing that can really happen in my business day, week, month that will deter me from providing what I can for those four people and that is what drives me on, but also ensures that I spend quality time with them all.
So, what is YOUR thing?
- What keeps you focused when you have had a bad day?
- What drives you forward?
- In the future, perhaps you’ll dedicate time to taking stock, rediscovering why you do what you do to allow that push forward to success.
I hope this story helps all of you focus on your Why.
Investor | Business Mentor at Advocate | Author of I don’t work Fridays