Chapter 5Don't wear ‘busy’ as a badge of honour

By 2014, my accreditation business had 14 staff, 100 clients and $2 million in revenue. Our core products at the time were writing operations manuals, conducting audits, and delivering occupational health and safety training. All the metrics I valued were ticking up, the clients were satisfied and my staff enjoyed the culture we had created. I was as busy as a one-armed brick layer, but I was happy. The business was going great guns.

To celebrate landing a new contract, I went out to a nice restaurant with my wife and three other couples. There was a bit of one-upmanship going on with the men in the group, each of whom owned a small business.

‘We just took on a new hire,’ said one. ‘A fabulous guy. We poached him from an international investment bank. He's expensive, but worth it.’

‘We just moved to a new office,’ said another. ‘Twice the size of what we had to accommodate all our new staff. We'll probably have to move again now we've won this monster contract.’

I'd had a few wines under my belt so when my turn came to spruik my achievements, I was well primed.

‘I've just bought a new boat. A Halvorsen 40’ Flybridge Cruiser. It's too big for what we need, but we'll get used to it. Ha ha.’

I was glad to get home that night. The constant one-upmanship was draining. I gave as good as I got but I was exhausted. On the other hand, I did feel quietly proud that I was able to match them dollar for dollar for what I had achieved, and ...

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