Absolute trepidation. Hanging on every word. I’ve never seen anyone so nervous. Standing close to him. Completely fixated on everything he was saying.
I chose to sit facing outside, but I soon reoriented so I could watch. Not many words except for answering spec questions. Then must have come his findings. He talked. Her body language read as a middle school girl being chastised by a principal. Shoulders slumped. Nodding. The occasional “Okay.” Lips pursed. Then, arms crossed. Forehead slightly bowed forward. “Thank you”, “Okay, I understand”. Picking her arm. Dead eyes. Though, not really dead. More like exercising emotion control. Sad. The kind of look that you hold on your face all day when someone obliterated your heart in middle school and then when you get home, you let it out and cry.
We’re not stone-cold business people. We are people.
A few minutes later, lit up. Her eyes were bright, connecting with a customer. Smiles, nods.
He was still there. Taking off his inspection coat. Folding it.
I want cafe owners to care when the health inspector comes. I want them to be emotionally invested. I want them to hope that it goes well and when they get bad news, I want them to feel like they were punched in the gut. I don’t want them to get bad news. I don’t want them to feel sad. But I want them to be emotionally invested. I want them to care. I don’t want it just to be about money.
You know you're probably putting your heart into your work when you are emotionally invested.
The aftermath was beautiful. Employees genuinely cared. Asking, “How’d it go?” Seriously invested. She talked to them about the rest of the process. She was vulnerable. It was awesome. They were people invested in this together. On a mission together.
This is how business should be. This is how it brings life. This is how it will succeed. It is not simply an owner doing all she can to ensure its success. It is a team of people with different skills, passions and talents, invested in seeing the business succeed.
When business is personal to an owner, she puts care into it as she may for her own home. Her home isn’t her. It doesn’t define her. But she cares about it personally. In such a way that she would be emotional about it if she lost it.
Emotional investment isn't weakness. It could simply mean your business is your art. Which is a beautiful way to do business.