Momentum Podcast: 147
You Don't Want a Pain-Free Business
by Alex Charfen
This will take away your time, rob you of your energy, and make managing the team feel increasingly overwhelming.
Full Audio Transcript
I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum podcast, made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, and then re-write them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how.
While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. And instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent positive human evolution, and we always will be.
You don't want a pain-free business. I'm learning more and more every day that there are very few people that do what I do with entrepreneurs who are over a million dollars in revenue. I show entrepreneurs how to create a communication system and structure, infrastructure within their business so that everyone on their team knows exactly where the company's going. They understand what role they play and what role the people around them play and how to get there. And they have clear measurement as to whether they're winning or not. And when you provide those things for a team, it's crazy how quickly they can grow. And so I help entrepreneurs create the structure so that they can grow and scale an opportunity that they know they could be doing more with.
And there's a few other people out there who do something similar to what I do, but there's a lot of people who advertise understanding and knowing how to do this, and some of it's really frustrating, as far as what the ads say and how they talk to entrepreneurs because what they tell you is that you want a pain-free business or a self-managing company or some other metaphor that says that your business is just going to glide along easily. Well, I'm here to tell you something. Anybody who tells you that is selling you a bill of goods because you don't want a pain-free business.
Now, you want a business where there's less pain, but here's the fact: the reflection of pain is how you started your business. It's why you're in business right now. There was some type of pain that you had or were feeling, or someone else was feeling, or some type of pain that you wanted to extinguish in the world that you started your business around. And, as you've grown your business, it's the reflection of the pain, the friction, the places where things aren't going well that have allowed you to grow the business even more. And as you've gotten to know your clients, it's understanding their pain at a deeper level, understanding where else you can effect pain they feel, understanding how to help them do better is exactly why you've been successful with those clients. It's why you've gotten better over time. It's why you now understand them in a better way.
And the fact is, is that for entrepreneurs, we are the small percentage of society that moves towards pain as a way of our guiding north star. We will move towards pain. We want to extinguish pain in the world in some way. We want to help the people who we are addressing in some way to make things easier, to make pain go away. And the irony of this is that it is exactly where we feel pain that drives us forward.
And entrepreneurs are known for if they stop feeling the pain in a business, or if they do too much, they'll actually create another goal where there's even that much more pain. So you look at like, Bill Gates. Microsoft had the goal, "a computer in every home." Gates is known for having not just felt pain in running his business, but having and expressed it. He used to yell like crazy.
At Microsoft, there were different colored name badges that would allow you to get on different colored carpet in the building. And if you didn't have the right color, you couldn't go on that carpet at all. And so, there was carpet that surrounded Gates's office, and that was the color that hardly anyone ever visiting Microsoft got, because they measured away from his office how loud you could hear him yell, and that's where that carpet ended so that anything he was yelling, a visitor wouldn't actually hear.
So, he felt a lot of pain. That is the expression of pain. And, he then got to the point where he started to emotionally self-regulate much better. And he grew Microsoft by calming himself down and having a better awareness of what was going on around him and being able to understand his team's pain, and then being able to actually work with people in a different way, empathizing with the people around him. And understanding where they felt pain, and where they were frustrated. And then understanding where people in the market felt pain and where they felt frustrated, and Microsoft achieved "a computer in every home."
It's not cool anymore, because most of us including me use Macs, but it's an incredible story of entrepreneurial achievement, and really moving it in the direction of solving for "a computer in every home", and moving towards frustration, moving towards where people wanted it to be easier. And they pulled it off.
And once he did, Gates had to go out and get the reflection of pain back in the world for himself. Like, once he actually achieved, he had to say well, what's the new thing that's going to reflect that pain back to me? Well, he had more money than anyone ever needed, and he wasn't the type of entrepreneur who's going to blow it. But a lot of entrepreneurs who sell a company or move away from a company like Gates did will end up blowing their money, because they need to get back in touch with something that's going to drive them, back in touch with something that's going to propel them forward, back in touch with some type of pain that they can extinguish.
What Gates did, well he started a foundation, which a lot of successful entrepreneurs do. And he went on to solve all the world's diseases with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and that's really their outcome. Like, now he can have the reflection of pain and suffering in the world for the rest of his life. Because entrepreneurs like us intuitively know that there's something about the overcoming, there's something about the being in it, there's something about making it happen that was what makes us feel alive. And so you will always be experiencing some type of friction, some type of pain because the only time you won't is when you stop growing, and it's almost like hitting the top of an arc where you're going up, and then as soon as you stop growing, it feels like you're coming down. And then, that's the pain you'll start feeling.
And so, as an entrepreneur, you want to walk away from these people who tell you they can make it pain-free, because there's no such thing. The way that you will be driven forward is by following that pain, like Warren Buffett. You know, his early goal in life was to build more wealth for stakeholders, for his shareholders than anyone ever had. That was really his goal. He wanted to take Berkshire Hathaway and build more wealth for shareholders than anyone ever had, and he did it. He created the biggest company ever with a tiny little team, 68 people in the corporate office. Highest value company in the world. And once he did that, he actually did it for a few years in a row and then bounced in and out of first place, competing with Bill Gates. But then when it was apparent he could just do that as much as he wanted to, he had to move on to another goal, and he started his foundation where he's out talking to every billionaire in the world and trying to convince them to give all of their wealth away. And they've now have committed the largest private fund of wealth in history.
So, he didn't just do it once, trying to build more wealth than anyone, like how much pain is reflected back in that journey? And then, he did it again with biggest charity in history and going out and telling really wealthy, successful people, who are known to be difficult, that they should give all their money away.
So, I want you to think about this. You're not looking for a pain-free business, and you're certainly not looking for a system or a coach or someone out there to sell you on the notion of pain-free, or self-managing, or you're not involved, because that's not real.
You know, I watch it all the time when entrepreneurs' businesses get too easy for them, when they stop growing, when they're not still pushing themselves, the next thing you know they're running marathons or triathlons or driving cars really fast, or something, because we need to have that reflection of that pain, that danger, that solving something, that doing something that drives us forward.
So, what you really want is a system and a process so that you can identify what is making you uncomfortable, where that pain is coming from. And then on a daily basis, move out of that space because that's how you will grow the infrastructure to grow your business. And it doesn't matter where you are right now in your business journey, it doesn't matter what size you are. I specialize in working with people over a million dollars to much far higher than that, but it doesn't matter where you are, here's a fact: there is a pain in your business right now that you've been avoiding. In fact, I know you've been avoiding it because people like you and I, that's what we do. When we're in pain, we know how to be in pain in a situation. We know how to be frustrated. We know what it feels like when everything feels like it's against you, and then you suddenly break through and you get past it, and everything feels good. So, we expect to be in pain. We get really good at justifying it and putting up with it, moving around it. But, right now there's a pain in your business that you're avoiding, and it's probably the most important thing you should do, and it's what's making you most uncomfortable.
And so, think to yourself, what's making you most uncomfortable in your business right now that is creating the greatest pain for you? And that's where your focus should be in moving the business forward, because until you address your greatest pain in any moment while you're moving your business forward, you're taking the most important person in the building out of the game. So, the faster you address that pain, the faster you address where you're feeling frustrated, the faster where you address where you're feeling uncomfortable, the faster you build the infrastructure in the business and around you so that you can get this business to where you know it should be. And you can grow this business to the point where you've dreamt of, and you know you can make bigger outcomes, and you know you can be serving more people, and you know that this could be such a bigger opportunity.
Well, the way to get there is to stop trying to avoid the pain, feel it, and then put either a process, a project, or a person in place to delegate that away. And then be aware of where it comes up next. Because day to day, you're the visionary, you're the person who's building this business. And whether you're in the visionary role or operations role, in entrepreneurial businesses there's visionary-visionaries, and then there's visionary-operators. So, you're the person who on a day to day basis is creating this business's future. So, by addressing where you're uncomfortable on a daily basis, we align where you're uncomfortable in your perspective of the business, and what the future is, and where you're uncomfortable in your personal life, and where you're feeling pressure, and then you put process, or a project, or a person in place to take those things away. And that's how you really grow a business.
So, stop having people tell you they can make it pain-free or stop even having the delusion that that's how you want it. What you want is a clear understanding and processes so that when the pain comes up, you're moving through it as quickly as you possibly can so that you can continue to press forward and reach that greater contribution that you know is out there. And really have the impact and the effect that you want to have.
Don't try and avoid the pain. Lean into it, and then make it go away.
If you're an entrepreneur who's building a business, if you are building a team and you are feeling the frustration and the friction of trying to do that, and you're feeling like each person you hire is making your life more difficult, and you're having that fantasy about going back to doing it all yourself, let me help you. You've already won part of the battle. You've started hiring, you've asked for help, and you've gotten somebody who is actually trying to help you. If you've started building a team, you're ahead of 90% of entrepreneurs who never do. And if you've did it, you did it for a reason, so don't stop. If you learn the process through which your team trusts you and you trust them, you can build any sized team you want, I guarantee it.
Reach out to us, and I'd love to talk to you.