When it comes to understanding the Psychology of life, look no further than every lesson you ever learned in love. Lookback at your past for a minute. Do you remember your ex? How much passion do you have for that person today? Do you want to see him or her every day? Do you want to be in love with that person every day still, after all this time?
In business, it’s the same thing. It’s a day in, day out marriage you have with your business. It causes you pain, it causes you to grow. The business will have needs that you don’t really want to tend too. Not if you had your choice. This is much the same about relationships, yes? Passion usually keeps the frustrations down, if felt at all. You see, passion is the very thing that made you love that ex so much before the shine came off the brass. It’s the same mechanism.
You meet the love of your life (as you think at this time) and all is wonderful, and then after about 3 years (roughly), the passion and blind love goes away. But why? Research has been done on why love (the cultural depiction of love) ends and disgust often takes its place.
Helen Fisher, a PhD in Psychology, authored the book “Anatomy of Love” a Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray. This book explains what happens in the brain when we fall in love, and why. It also explains what happens when we fall out of love, and why. What is the why? Well, this short piece of writing that you are reading doesn’t have the time to rehash her entire book, but I will cut to the chase the best I can. In short, you were meant to fall in love, and fall out of love, time and time again. It is how it was designed the whole time! It is my true belief that business owners fall in love with their business and fall out of love with it. Life calls you to expand, and those who fall in love with a business can one day let it go willingly. Not because it is a bad business, but because it is not a soul match to the business owner any longer.
You see, those who go buy a business and believe that they will always have love and desire for the business, are the ones that believe in buying and holding. It sounds like great romance, but is it fundamentally correct when it comes to finance? Passions come and go; love comes and goes. In every marriage you will hear the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 in the ceremony. You will also inevitably hear the pastor or priest talk about how love is a choice, not a feeling. Newlyweds, and those who are under cupid’s spell simply can’t understand this at the time. It takes (about) 3 years for the love drugs such as Phenethylamine, Oxytocin, and Dopamine wear off. Again, I am certain that this is the case of owning a business as well.
You are working for someone else, and it feels like hell. You seek out a business to buy, and this is THE ONE, FOREVER! Right? Wrong. You were meant to own a business and buy another one. Just like you were meant to have a girlfriend and marry another one. You know, divorce court was busy the entire time of the covid pandemic. It was not suffering from clients. People are falling out of love daily, yet Elvis is very busy in Vegas marrying people. Similarly, the market has never been so hot for selling and buying businesses. The same mechanism that makes you want to fall in love with “this” business, and do it “forever, is the same culprit that makes you want to fall in love “with this woman” forever. The thing is, passion is at play when you buy, and soon enough (3 years), the feel-good wears off and the sound of your soul will alarm telling you its time to move on and find a new passion. We are passionate souls; you can’t fight it. Work with it instead.
On every tax return and profit and loss statement, I can look at the numbers and tell you when the passion dropped off. I then ask them, “when did you lose your passion for the business?” they will tell me a date and usually they are not being honest with themselves. If someone tells me they have been thinking of calling me for a few months now, I know they are lying. You see, it takes a lack of passion to look a guy up like me. You are calling me when its time to sell. How likely are you to consult your divorce attorney right after the wedding? My guess is you are on the honeymoon, in bliss, looking at the beach and being in love. Attorney who? The bottom line is, by the time someone calls me, I know they have been thinking and dreaming of not doing what they are doing for a few years.
Passion is what makes things alive and well. In this case we are talking about business. But how passionate are you about your wife, your husband, your kids? How passionate are you about your health? Where there is no passion, there is no profit!