Did you know that the first year of a dog’s life is equal to approximately 15 years of a human’s life? The second year of a dog’s life equals about nine years for a human. And after that, every human year equals approximately four or five years for a dog.
Chatting with a client the other day about the stresses of running a business and joking about the grey hairs we were growing and feeling like we were sometimes ageing at a faster rate, it struck me that if we weren’t careful, the impact of being a business owner might be something like the compounding effect of dog years on our mental and physical health as well as our mindset in business.
Sometimes it truly feels that way – the first year of business is exciting and new but also incredibly stressful and draining as you take a crash course in everything about running a business – accounts, IT, marketing – and are probably awake for more hours that you ever have been before while you try to do everything yourself. With the hours you put in and the experiences you pack into a year, it’s not surprising really that it feels like you’ve lived multiple years condensed in one. The second year is (hopefully) a touch calmer but you might introduce a new learning in people and workload management if you grow your team and face the challenge of keeping up your energy in delivering to increasing demand. After that, as each year goes past you feel a little more ‘OK’ about being a business owner and you develop an ability to roll with the punches.
After nearly 10 years I am reaching a point of an unexpected sense of calm that come what may, we will handle it. I’ve faced ups and downs in client demand, gaining and losing people, venturing into new opportunities and enjoying success while learning from failure. Don’t get me wrong – I am not ‘relaxed’ or ‘laissez faire’ and I am certainly not taking anything for granted. I do however have a strong confidence in my business, the business community, the trusted advisors around me, and my friends and family who support me to feel that we can deal with the challenges as they arise.
This hasn’t happened by chance either – it has grown and strengthened over time as we’ve grown our ability to think and plan strategically, become stronger in our convictions to have the right people around us, and pushed ourselves almost relentlessly to master the space in which we work.
Has it aged me? Absolutely. Is it worth it? 100% Would I do it any other way? Absolutely not!
Perhaps as we get greyer and wiser in business, we become more like the elephant – did you know that they age only 1.14 years to every human year? It’s certainly much better stats than dog years anyway!