“It’s Not Personal; It’s Just Business.”… REALLY?!?

Although my intention today was to write more surrounding the topic of  VC funding, I instead felt moved to write regarding a subject about which I have very strong feelings!


“It’s not personal; it’s just business.”

Would you agree that when anyone has ever said this to you, it felt incredibly personal?  After all…would any business even exist or succeed without the people who build it, run it and are served by it? I honestly don’t know how you can get more personal than that.

Now, I have great faith in people; but I, too, have grown tired of this remark being thrown around by those who basically have no intention of honoring a commitment they have made.  When someone uses that phrase, doesn’t it feel as though what he or she is really saying is:

“Thanks for trusting in me and my integrity when things were going great; but how dare you count on me when things didn’t go according to plan…even if it’s the result of my misguided efforts.”

Please understand that in no way am I suggesting most things go according to plan, because that, in fact, is rare.  However, I believe people who make commitments of any kind need to walk their talk in integrity. When things go wrong, they need to put their best efforts forward to find the best alternative outcomes for all those involved, rather than taking the easy way out of…

“Hey, it’s just business, so don’t take it personally.”

Is it not our challenges and obstacles in life that shape who we are, as well as what we give and take from the people who make up the world in which we live?  Is it not our response to those challenges that tells those around us who we really are and what we stand for as individuals?

I believe this to be true; because all we really have of genuine value in this world is our relationships … how we honor them, protect them, and cherish them… especially when things don’t go according to plan.  This is when PERSONAL commitment and responsibility take precedence over accepting failure as an option.  This is when you are given the opportunity to PERSONALLY work with others in finding a new path that keeps you in integrity and walking your talk.

So when you find yourself at a crossroad with challenges in your business and are about to utter these simple words to someone you’ve made a commitment to… “I’m sorry things didn’t go as expected; but it’s not personal, it’s just business.” … please stop and remember this:

Everything in life is PERSONAL and should be treated and protected as such.

Do this and I can guarantee you that, despite challenges or perceived failures you face in business, they will never outweigh your successes in life.

Mary Kay Sheets – Rethinking Business and Making Sure it’s Personal!