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I’ve just started reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson and am loving it! If you’re offended by the “F” word, I’d still recommend it because, I think, the language actually helps get his message across in a clear and refreshing way. I’m only up to chapter four but I wanted to share one of the take-aways I’ve got so far. “Happiness requires struggle”.

woman holding balloonsHe explains that happiness comes, not from getting to a destination (I’ll be happy when…). Rather, happiness comes when you face your struggles head on, and overcome them. Interestingly, Mark also says “whatever makes you feel good will inevitably make you feel bad” and gives some examples. You marry the love of your life and you have to endure difficult conversations (and sometimes arguments). You want to be trim, taut, and terrific but to get that you have to get sweaty and exercise four times a week and cut out your favourite food for the next year (or forever).

I’ve got another example. If you’re like me (and pretty sure you are), you have decided to grow your own bookkeeping business instead of working for someone else because you wanted to have flexibility, earn more money and be your own boss. And, if you’ve been in business for more than 12 months and your books are filled, then you’ve probably discovered (as I did) that the reality is quite different from what you imagined. Hopefully you do have flexibility, more money and love being your own boss, but it’s not easy right? You have to overcome struggles and make sacrifices on a daily basis. Maybe that was one of the reasons why you became a licensee. You saw the success I achieved growing my business and wanted the same. Unfortunately, the reality is, it’s not as simple as that.

The PBS will definitely help you avoid many of the countless mistakes I made growing my business and our supportive community will help you overcome some of the struggles, but the struggles will keep coming. Why? Because, in Mark's words, “everything comes with an inherent sacrifice” and the sacrifice and struggles don’t stop when you reach $100,000 or $200,000 or $1,000,000. Some of the struggles will be lessons to learn and the lessons will be unique to you because of the “baggage” you’re carrying. Everyone has baggage. Your fears, uncertainties and what you think you know about yourself aren’t left at home. They come with you and, unfortunately, are magnified tenfold in your business.

For example, I rarely asked a family member or friend to repay me if they borrowed money or they were chipping in for a gift. If they forgot, I didn’t mention it. There’s no time here to go into why I was like that but that’s the way it was. How this played out in my business is that I would avoid asking my clients to pay me when I did the work. This, of course, caused huge cash flow issues when I had staff. And it kept happening over and over until I was prepared to face the irrational, but debilitating, fear of having a conversation with them about it.

You might find that a little strange but, hey, that’s me being honest. I’m certain, if you’re honest with yourself about the things you’re avoiding doing or are prepared to ask yourself that hard question of why does this same issue keep popping up and, then, if you’re prepared to acknowledge what’s really going on, you will at least be able to make a conscious choice about whether you’re doing to deal with it or accept the pain that’s going to come with that issue each and every time. When you do face it and do something about it, that’s when you’ll discover something about yourself that you never thought was possible.