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It's Just Business

... It's Not Personal

"It's just business; it's not personal." Running multiple companies over the years, I have heard this said more times than I could count. From people, I've had the pleasure of leading to those telling me of a perceived wrong by another person in their life. About a month ago, I began to ponder this phrase: is it just business, or is it personal? 

I have concluded that in many cases, it's a business decision that one knows will affect someone else personally. Someone justifies it by adding the phrase, "It's just business; it's not personal." 

Following down this rabbit hole of thought, I was led to the words, "The love of money is the root of all evil." Who would say they love money? No one I know. They may say they like money. They may say they like what money can do. But "I love money." No, I have never heard someone actually say they love money (outside of joking). Maybe because it's almost taboo to say I love money and mean it. Yet, does "its business, not personal" show and say just that?

Follow me on this thought. If you make a financial decision that affects someone close to you personally, did you choose money over that relationship? I'm speaking directly to instances where the business decision ends or deeply hurts the personal relationship. In such cases, I wonder, was it worth it in the long run? Did the financial rewards of the business decision outweigh the loss on a personal level? In cases where I made the decision, I can say no; it was not worth it. Looking back at friendships lost, definitely not worth the financial gain weighed against the personal loss.  

 On one such occasion where I made a business decision that affected a personal relationship, I had the opportunity to make amends and learn a lesson in friendship. My friend called me and said, "I understand why you made that decision, but that decision hurt me.". We discussed it for a time, and by the end of the conversation, I asked my friend for forgiveness and later undid that business decision as best I could. Thankfully we remain good friends still to this day. So I leave you with this if you find yourself needing to say, "It's business, not personal," ask yourself first, "Am I choosing to love money over the love for another person?"

- Peter Levinson

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