This business sucks!”

Have you ever heard that? Have you ever personally felt that? Have you ever wanted to yell it at the top of your lungs from a mountain top? If so, you’re not alone.

We work with a very diverse group of clients from all over the U.S., Canada and Australia. Those different markets and unique companies have various perspectives, but one that I’ve heard way too many times in my 24 years as a contractor is, “This business sucks!”

Sure, there are times you’ve been challenged, you’ve had a “bad day” or a client or team member has made you want to throw your hands in the air and just give up. We’ve all had those moments, or days, or longer, but I want to challenge your perspective right now because, let’s face the truth — your perspective creates your reality.

If you think this business is so miserable and is sucking the life out of you on a daily basis, then it is and will continue to do so — until you make a change. That change will come in one of two forms: leaving the industry or altering your perspective. Personally, I feel the latter makes a whole lot more sense.

I’m not going to go cliché on you here, but I have a quick story about perspective regarding how you feel about this business, and a short exercise for you to do — I’ll even call it a challenge — at the end of this column.

Here’s the (every bit true) story.

One of my best friends and mentors has made a huge deal of influence, impact and profit from our great industry in the last 30 years or so. He has created a lot of wealth for himself, his family, his partners and his team members over the years. Now, he’s at a time in his life where he is seeking to invest in other quality businesses within and outside our industry.

Recently, when we were having a phone conversation, he asked me what other exceptional investment opportunities I’ve seen other than the residential home service business. He is having a hard time finding other industries with better potential profit margins that can also be systematized as well as ours.

Think about that right now! He has the means to buy, own, operate or simply angel-invest in any type of company on the planet, and he can’t find a better opportunity than our industry! Let that sink in!

Why do you think the rollups keep coming back with Wall Street money behind them? Simply because this is a great business and a great industry, and if you’re willing to implement proven strategies, then success is a simple recipe that takes a ton of effort.

I said simple — I didn’t say easy.

Those are two very different things. But, guess what? I can’t think of a multitude of rewarding aspects of life that are considered easy. Think about it. I haven’t talked to a great deal of people who have ever claimed that things like having children and a successful marriage, or building their dream homes, are easy. They are very rewarding, however, and can be simple if you allow them to be, but they still take time and effort. Every situation is a matter of how you view it, and sometimes all you need to do is look at it differently.

Before I get to your challenge, I have a few pointers that might help:

  • When you are frustrated or stressed, ask yourself: Is it the problem, or how you are dealing with the problem? From my experience, it is usually how the issue is being dealt with. For example, a “problem” tech is typically not being led effectively. I’m not saying there aren’t exceptions to this, but globally this is the truth.

  • Avoid negative people who are always talking about how much they hate their jobs or lives. We’ve all heard “misery loves company,” and those people will negatively impact how you view your own situation, consciously or subconsciously, making it harder for you to see all the great aspects of your life and work.

  • Make sure you take free time to de-stress. Nothing creates better perspective than getting outside of your daily routine, spending time doing something you love. I have clients come to me and say, “I don’t take any time off — the business can’t function without me.” As I help them realize the business truly can serve their lives (not the other way around), they start to incorporate systems to hold team members accountable, and are actually able to take true vacations again.

Over the summer, Christy and I went to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks for a true vacation, and I came back feeling rejuvenated and energized. My team took care of the business while we were away, and I only checked email every few days. You can do that, too — trust me!

Now, here’s the challenge I promised: First, I want you to make a list of everything you love about your work, your business and our industry as a whole. Your list can contain everything from the great life it provides your family to protecting clients’ health, meeting new people and creating jobs. It’s really about what gives you satisfaction and purpose as well as why you initially chose this industry. Every day, you make the choice to be in this great industry, so you might as well enjoy it, right?

Next, I want you to make three or more copies of this list, keeping one at home, one at the office and one in each of your vehicles. Alternately, you could keep the list on your phone, because I know that’s always with you! I want you to read this list every morning and always keep it handy for those frustrating times when you question your own sanity, are dealing with a difficult situation or are simply feeling run down. Challenge yourself to do this for three weeks, and really pay attention to how much better you feel.

Trust me, this reminder will help tremendously with your daily perspective, and since your reality is a direct reflection of your perspective, it’s pretty easy to see how improving the way you view your work and our industry will also increase your level of happiness and fulfillment.

Does this business suck, or is it the best opportunity on the planet? I guess it’s a matter of perspective.