This week, I had a long conversation with a dear friend of mine.
We’ve been trying to catch up for quite some time but kept missing one another.
He’s in a similar business, and we have both been at “it” for the same number of years. Both of us have enjoyed a modicum of success along the way.
During our conversation, while hearing about some of the things he was doing and experiencing, I must admit to feeling a little bit of “FOMO” – fear of missing out.
Did I do everything the right way? Was I missing out on anything in my business? Was I making the right choices?
Don’t get me wrong – I’m very happy for him and have always been one of his biggest fans. But at the same time, by the time we ended our call I fell victim to the trap of comparing myself to him, judging from afar how our two businesses measured up.
But, sometime during this internal deliberation (which we all fall victim to), I realized something: his business is built solely around and on him. Don’t get me wrong; my business was built around me, too. That’s true.
However, much of our genuine success comes from the success of others. I’ve always wanted to nurture and encourage the potential of those people around me, and intentionally built my business in that light. I truly enjoy watching their growth and success – in business and in life.
That was a whole other component to my business and what I do that possibly couldn’t be measured in X’s and O’s.
That realization got me thinking.
In life and in business, we all showcase our skills every day. Whether it be coaching our children in sports, helping them with their homework, or managing a household (not to mention a marriage!) with our spouses.
In business, it’s the same.
We showcase our skills with our clients. We lead in our communities, not only with money and what we can do with it but with our actions and how we comport ourselves.
And when it comes to leadership and choosing when and how to exhibit our skills, I have found it’s imminently rewarding to be “the black velvet behind the stone.”
What do I mean by that?
How much more beautiful does a diamond sparkle when shown on the surface of that black velvet pad behind it? As perfect as that stone is, without that elegant midnight background, some of that luster would cease to shine through.
It shouldn’t be about us solely. It’s NOT about us. It’s also how we can be the black velvet that showcases other people’s brilliant diamond.
With our kids, we always make it about them (or at least we should). With our businesses, it can NEVER be just about us. That stone needs the black velvet just as the black velvet needs that stone. They work with one another, each serving the other’s purpose.
While my good friend has been very successful, and I am incredibly happy for him, I needed to take a minute to realize that not all success is the same.
At 44 years of age and with two children and many people that depend on me every day, I am most certainly comfortable being the black velvet behind the stone.
And during those occasions when I do need to shine, I believe that I’ve surrounded myself with the most beautiful black velvet background one could ask for.