Are We Having Fun Yet?

July 20, 2009 at 2:46 pm 1 comment

Years ago this was a favorite phrase to use when you were up to your elbows in alligators and had forgotten that your job was to drain the swamp. It was a way of telling everyone that you really weren’t having any fun with the task at hand. Life’s like that. You have to do things you don’t necessarily want to do but yet have to. Like paying taxes, changing a flat tire in the rain, or as in my case, painting the guest room.

For years I worked in the trades and one of the things I picked up was how to paint, sort of. I am very good and can cut a straight line around the trim. I get the paint on just right, not too thick or too thin, and afterwards the project looks like a professional did it. Yet the part that is missing is that I manage to get paint everywhere and spend a lot of time cleaning up instead of relaxing and admiring my work. It’s the part of the job I detest as I feel the paint is conspiring against me.

Sunday was the day to paint the guest room. It was a cool beautiful day and overall the project went well. Around 7:00 pm, tired and ready to quit the paint began to conspire. It started showing up on the carpet, in the entryway, and even on the garage door. It was out of control. The more tired I became the further the paint migrated. Ever have a project like that? Does running a business feel like that sometimes?

No matter how hard you try to make things happen, be productive, or give your clients the best you have to offer, things begin to get away from you. There you stand in a big mess asking yourself, “Am I having fun yet?” Thoughts of running off and living on a desert island invade your mind. You want to chuck it all and just disappear, especially in this economy. But wait.

Business can be fun. Just like painting a guest room on a Sunday can be. It’s all in your head when it comes down do it. Believe me, around 8:30 pm when I finally finished, stood back and saw the fruits of my labor I was thankful to have spent the time to do the job. I was filled with a sense of accomplishment, of a job well done. Building a business is just like that. It frustrates the living daylights out of you one minute and then takes you to the heights of joy the next, sometimes in a matter of seconds. Yes, business can be fun.

The difference is how you look at the problems. Seeing problems constantly will wear you down. Instead you need to be seeing opportunities. Keeping the paint under control was just a small task in comparison to the total job. I need to work on that skill by seeing it as an opportunity to improve. In comparison to the joy I felt once the room was done it was a small price to pay. Especially when the finished job made the wife very happy.

Business should be fun and here’s why. If you are having fun it will filter down through your organization to your customers. If the customers feel you are having fun and they get a good feeling because of it they will return, time and time again. It’s a natural law, people like having fun and love being around it. If you open the doors of your business each day with a frown you are setting the tone for your business. That frown will be heard on the phone, your counter person or sales staff will wear it, and your customers will have a bad experience when they patronize your establishment.

Conversely if you start the day with an attitude of having fun, when you are faced with that first crisis of the day (Oh, no the coffee machine just flooded the break room) you can choose to see it as an opportunity to problem solve or as a challenge, not as a crisis. The power lies within your head. As the day progresses that way of looking at life will carry you through all the opportunities and challenges of the day and before you know it you sailed through the day and had fun doing it. Now instead of asking yourself “Are we having fun yet?” you can proudly exclaim that “Yes, I’m having fun and loving it, isn’t owning a business wonderful”. It’s your choice, your business, and it affects your pocketbook. Something to think about.

Next week I’ll talk about pushing yourself out of the comfort zone.

By the way, if you agree with me and enjoy owning a small to medium sized business but need help telling the world the joy you feel, I’m your man. Let’s get together and discuss the possibilities and potential your business is waiting for you to unleash. My contact info is:

Michael Irvin
Creative Project Manager
913.677.7060 cell: 913.530.7030


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

The Mind is a Powerful Thing to Waste Are You Comfortable With Your Comfort Zone?

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. ALAN MCCLURE  |  July 20, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Michael–thanks for the positive spark for the day. I woke up today in high anxiety about what–as I think about it–is really a very minor issue in the grand scheme of things. As I was reading your blog today, that anxiety slipped away and your words made me remember a quote from Eckhart Tolle (author of The Power of Now):

    “The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self-created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life.”

    I read Tolle’s Power of Now book about 3 years ago, and it changed my life. Occasionally I have to re-stir the very powerful ideas that I learned from him, but it’s that re-stirring that brings new light.



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