Whether you’re an agency owner, business coach, or consultant, there’s a hard truth about growing your business: When you compare what your business is now to what you want, you’re letting yourself out of business life if you’re unhappy.
This is the main principle of the great book, The gap and the profit. This principle applies to all business owners.
In their book, organizational psychologist Benjamin Hardy, PhD, and entrepreneur coach Dan Sullivan present scientific theories that explain why we focus on the future and how we can train ourselves to focus on the past instead.
Hardy and Sullivan argue that making this change to focus on past benefits can greatly improve the quality of your life and business. In the book, he elaborates on psychological concepts and discusses how empirical research has supported the main ideas of the book.
Hardy Your ideal self is constantly changing, making it impossible to reach your goals. Instead, you should compare who you are now to who you used to be so you can see how far you’ve come. This simple change in mindset can make all the difference in leading a happy life.
Sounds like The Cow Barn Secret to me.
I wish you were there when my dad gave me The Cow Barn Secret when I started working on our dairy farm at age six.
I didn’t realize the full power of this new employee HR pep talk until 50 years later when I heard his praise. The secret of the cow barn helped him escape from a country devastated by Nazi occupation during World War II. The secret helped him survive three bouts of cancer. The secret helped him grow three businesses in America.
My father, an immigrant Dutch dairy farmer named Jack DeVries, gave me the secret to surviving adversity. And now let me share the secret.
I started my career on the family dairy farm in Chino, California when I was in kindergarten. Every day after school I had chores that included feeding and tending the cows. That was an easy task.
Saturday was a different story. I had to report to the dairy cow barn at 7 o’clock in the morning
Now, in a week, a lot of cow dung piles up on the concrete wall of the cowshed. When my father first showed me those walls, they looked like a football field to my six-year-old self.
My father gave me a bucket of hot water, rubber gloves and a metal scrubbing brush.
“I have a very important job for you,” my father began. “There are these things called germs, but you can’t see them. They are invisible and grow on dirty walls. Now the government inspector comes regularly to measure the germs. If we have too many germs, we cannot sell our milk. The manager pours it into the well and we don’t get money for food. you understand?”
I loved to eat, so I understood. I also understand that my father hates those government regulators.
“Now I want you to clean the walls, but in a certain way,” my father continued. Later, take another step back and clear the next section of the wall. Keep looking at the sections of the wall you cleared. Try it now.”
I took a step back, dipped the brush in hot water and scrubbed all the dirt off that small section of wall. I appreciate the clean wall section.
“Good job,” said Dad. “Now go ahead and work backwards. Before you know it, the back end will hit the back wall and you’ll know you’re done. Then you can go home and I’ll cook you your favorite breakfast, eggs, bacon, and fried potatoes. Then we’ll watch.” Bugs Bunny Road Runner Funny Hour together. Cleaning the barn takes no time. “
But then my father became cruel. And forgive me, I’m directly quoting a Dutch farmer here.
Dad said, “I have to warn you, whatever you do, don’t look ahead. If you face it and see all the s*** in front of you, then you give up and it will take forever.
As I was giving his thanks, I suddenly realized that my father didn’t need a six-year-old to help him run the business. He was training a six-year-old boy how to run a business.
There are many problems in business. Yes, we have to deal with a lot of creams. If you focus on the things you have yet to do, the gap and not the gain, you’ll give up.
But if you take it one step at a time and focus on a small part of what you need to do now, you’ll soon have a lot to appreciate (profit). When you reflect on what you have accomplished, you will be motivated to accomplish more. Set monthly goals and keep profit lists to grow your business.
You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve by combining profits.