Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Who’s the Biggest Clown of Them All? – #0028

I once had 2 friends that were in business together. Both had very similar educational background, and almost identical upbringing. Both fun to be around, both outgoing, their business was doing OK, but could have been going better. I won’t name the industry or my friends, but keen for change, one of the partners (let’s call him Kevin) approached the other (let’s call him John) with a plan to split the company. Kevin was convinced it John’s fault the company had started to falter. Kevin even jokingly often refereed to John as a “clown”. Having heard the stories about John from Kevin, I was inclined to agree. An amicable agreement followed. Still good friends, but with John now cleared from Kevin’s path, I expected the 2 new companies to have very different fortunes in the next few years, and I was right…but also, very wrong. You see it wasn’t Kevin’s business that flew, it was John’s.

5 Years On

It’s now 5 years on, and whilst Kevin is still very much at the coal face, toiling and working hard, his business has actually shrunk since the split. John now has 5 times the business Kevin has….and more than that, I often bump into John in a local hotel. I’m usually finishing a lunch time meeting, and he’s coming down from the gym on the top floor of the building. You see, John has built his business into something that only now requires him 3 days a week. Who’s the clown now?
Kevin’s issue in all of this, is something I see in many, many business operators and entrepreneurs, myself included sometimes! An inability to admit where WE are at fault. There is so much content online these days in “believing in yourself” and “don’t let people tell you that you can’t”…when in actual fact, a harsh dose of reality, and a good look in the mirror is often what we all need.

The Blame Game

Locally, there is a small business that is due to close. On the social post, the owner blamed Brexit, inflation, the war in Ukraine and COVID for their business being on the brink of collapse. It’s curious, because 15 doors down in the same high street, there is another business selling very similar products, and they are thriving.
Once you take ultimate accountability, then you are on back on the long path to success. Admitting our own failures gives you the power to change the future. Don’t deny yourself the power to know you can change the outcome for your business and yourself. Average business operators blame the market, they blame previous business partners, they blame the team members that left. Good operators accept they may have played a part. Excellent business operators will understand exactly how much they are at fault, and will work to improve. Humility of accountability will lead to advanced results.
Let this year be the year, you hold the mirror up to yourself, as well as others.

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