“It’s not personal, Sonny, it’s strictly business.” So spoke Michael Corleone in The Godfather and, by my count, nearly every business book I’ve read over the past thirteen years. And yet I struggle with this every day.
Employees are wonderful and I want to pay them more than the company can afford. Employees depart and I feel abandoned. Our vendor starts selling to a competitor without telling me? Knife in my Back.
It’s my company. I spoke it into being. I’ve given my life to it for the last thirteen years. I still worry every decision. Curtain width. How many flyers to print. How can it not be personal? Gangsters and businessmen are liars. They say it’s not personal so they can jump over the feeling part.
The last crazy couple of weeks before getting the doors open, are not unlike finally going into labor: You swore the last time you were at this moment you’d never do it again; it seems like you’ve been pregnant for years, not months; time has lost all meaning–has it been 12 hours or two weeks of excruciating pain? There is no going back. You’re at 5 centimeters, then back to 4, then 8, and then the guy who’s delivering the carpet doesn’t show up. OK that’s where I’ll end this analogy, except to say, you absolutely do blame your partner for getting you into this.
Thirteen years ago we had the crazy idea to bring back the neighborhood bra store corner by corner across the United States. With our Atlanta Buckhead location being store six, it doesn’t look like we’ll make it in this lifetime, but as the saying goes, “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.”
But you certainly can take a long nap.