Putting It in Perspective

Posted By Kate Harper, Tuesday, September 25, 2018

By Alex Thiersch, JD, founder and director of the American Med Spa Association

Every now and then, business owners should take stock of where they are in the world. What entrepreneurs do is not super complicated—they're not curing cancer or negotiating for world peace. Medical spa owners do make people's lives better through the use of esthetic medicine, granted, but it's important for their own sanity that they put their business lives into perspective so that they can properly evaluate where they are and where they're going.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a graduate of the University of Iowa, and recently I traveled to Iowa City to watch a Hawkeyes football game. A fairly new tradition was established at Iowa games, and being a part of it live moved me a great deal. In 2017, the new University of Iowa Children's Hospital building opened right next to Kinnick Stadium, where the Hawkeyes play football. The hospital is a tall building, and from the upper floors you can see right into the stadium. On game day, a number of the kids in the hospital go up to the top floor's Press Box Caf√© to watch the action; after the first quarter, everyone in the stadium—the fans, the players on both teams, and the referees—look up to the hospital and wave at the kids, and the kids wave back.

These kids are dealing with conditions and diseases that most of us can't even begin to imagine. What they're going through and what their families are going through is truly beyond what most of us can comprehend. The courage that these kids show is absolutely amazing.

When the wave happens, there's not a dry eye in the house. Actually being at Kinnick Stadium and taking part in it is an extremely emotional experience, as these people who are going through things that are much bigger than a silly football game.

Every now and then, it's very helpful to experience something like this. As business owners, you need to understand what you're doing in the context of the world. When you'e got both feet on the ground, it allows you to make better decisions. Managing employees, entering into deals, spending money, paying yourself, paying other people, and dealing with disputes and competition can feel overwhelming, and it can take over your life—believe me, I know. But when you see something like the Iowa wave and you think about what the kids at the children's hospital are going through, you get this overwhelming sense of smallness that tells us that the things that are stressing us out in our everyday lives and with our businesses are not all that important.

Travel to a foreign country to see how people outside your culture live. Volunteer at a hospital or a dog rescue to find out what others who are less fortunate are going through. You may be surprised by how trivial the things we think are important seem, and getting some perspective will ultimately make you a better business owner and a better person.

The next time you're struggling and feeling stressed out, come back to this page and watch the video again. Is your problem really that important? Spoiler alert: It's probably not.

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