I had a really interesting conversation with a friend of mine called Masa, who runs a very good Japanese restaurant. I knew the restaurant had been open for a while, but I couldn't recall exactly how long. Over some sushi, I asked him and his reply was that it had been open for 12 years. Then I asked him if he still enjoyed it? His response shocked me.
Masa said that for the first ten years he hated pretty much every minute, for the last two years, he's absolutely loved every minute. The fact that he stuck with it for so long was fascinating to me, but even more so was the radical change in the way he felt about his business.
Masa explained that in the early days he felt that he was trapped by his business, it had taken away his freedom to just up and go. He had to do the same thing, day in day out. He saw the same faces every week. He had the same conversations all the time. He felt bored, frustrated and stuck. But only for the first ten years.
Then just after the businesses ten year birthday, something changed in Masa. He started to appreciate seeing the same faces every week, and in fact he realized how ungrateful he was being in taking their business for granted for all of this time. He had become a part of their lives and they supported and appreciated him, his food and his business.
Masa realized that he loved the regularity of his business, which actually let him get better and better at mastering his craft. The certainty was an asset, not something to resent. And he challenged himself to keep getting better, to keep improving, to push himself harder, now that he had learned to appreciate what he had.
Last but not least, in the past he felt trapped by his business, now he feels supported by his business. His hard work has paid off, his income is regular, he loves his customers, he loves his suppliers, he loves the day to day of what he does and he can't imagine doing anything else.
So what has changed in Masa's business? Nothing. The change is all within him. His outlook on life, his appreciation for what he has, the humility of knowing that his customers have a lot of choice and they chose his business. There wasn't some imaginary line in the sand that meant all of the issues of running his business had disappeared, quite the opposite, but he had a new way of thinking and it totally re-energized him.
The big question for all of us is - "what are the parts of your business that you don't like and could your feelings be turned around if you simply changed your way of thinking and your perspective?". I'm pretty certain that most of would say yes to this. Whilst continuing to ponder this idea, I'll keep eating sushi and supporting my friend Masa and every time I have a negative thought about some aspect of my business, I'll give myself an attitude adjustment.