Put butter on your waffles

Audio is my preferred medium of consuming information (as opposed to print or video) because audio allows you to consume the information while doing something else, like driving, exercising, doing chores, etc.

I am a consumer of podcasts. Like millions of other people, The Tim Ferriss Show is one of my faves. Recently, Tim interviewed famed Good to Great (among other books) author Jim Collins for a second time. There were so many nuggets to pull from the interview and apply. I’d like to share a couple of them—one in this article and one in the next.

The first nugget was a lesson Collins learned from one of his mentors: 

Put Butter on Your Waffles. 

As the story goes, one morning Collins was having breakfast with the mentor not long after he (the mentor) had recovered from a heart attack. Collins watched the mentor order waffles and then proceed to load them up with butter and syrup. 

Collins politely asked his mentor if that was the best idea, given the recent health scare. The response was something along the lines of, I’ve enjoyed my life up until now, and I’ll continue to enjoy it until the good lord takes me away.

The lesson Collins took from this interaction was that life is meant to be lived to the fullest, and enjoyed. If you do what you love, and enjoy the process of living your life, then there’s no regrets when life comes to end, whenever that may be. That’s how the mentor had lived his life, according to Collins, so who was he to tell him NOT to put butter on his waffles?

The business application of the concept is to make sure you enjoy the process of building your business. All the money, growth, accolades, titles, or otherwise that may come from building and running a business aren’t worth much at the end of the day if you don’t enjoy the process of doing so. 

Later in the interview, Collins expanded on the Put Butter on Your Waffles idea by suggesting:

If you can’t figure out how to make it fun, don’t do it.

I love that. 

No matter what business you’re in, you’re not going to love everything about it. But the overall process has to be fun. It has to be enjoyable. Otherwise what’s the point? 

In my mind—and I assume based on the Ferriss interview that Collins would agree—building a multi-million (or more) business doesn’t constitute success if it comes at the expense of your happiness, health, or relationships.

If you’re finding you’re not enjoying the process of running your business as much as you’d like to, challenge yourself to figure out a way to make it more fun. Maybe you need to delegate more, or make a key hire (or a key fire), or add some fun incentives into the business, or shift your business’ culture, or something else.

Create some goals around making your business more enjoyable. You can check out this article for some tips on how to do that. 

And the next time you sit down to a plate of waffles, throw some butter and syrup on there and enjoy every bite.

Disclaimer: Don’t eat waffles every day and waffles are best enjoyed after exercise 🙂

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