Financial Statements are Like a Drug Test

I had to give a urine sample last week and I immediately thought about financial statements and drug tests. It's kind of a natural connection.

So I sent an email to the illustrator I worked with and asked if she could work up an illustration to illustrate my brilliant little insight and she demurred, saying: "Eh, if it were me I'd steer clear of that idea. :)"

So she did a different illustration (above), but I still like my original idea. She's clearly more mature than I am, but she's my illustrator and not my editor so I'm going to pull rank.

A drug test measures all the recent things you've put in your body (Don't worry--I passed the drug test. It's just like remembering Person, Woman, Man, Camera, TV--only you have to pee first.) That's kind of what a financial statement is, too: a measurement of all the things that you've "put into" your business. Things like:

  • How effectively you priced things.
  • How you managed expenses.
  • How much profit you had after you paid yourself some reasonable amount.
  • How (profitably) busy you kept your team based on new business efforts.
  • How courageous you were in turning down work that doesn't deliver a profit.

It only measures the recent things--not the big mistakes or the huge successes you had in the distant past. In that sense you need to keep earning good financial statements or they'll degrade. The world around you is discriminatory, but math isn't. It doesn't really care about those external factors or even the excuses you make for yourself.

Money is important. It's how the world in which you operate keeps score, and it's how you buy the things you need and enjoy. It enables you to support the causes and people that share your values. In almost every case, I'd rather trust you with that money than someone else who wants to make decisions about that money. You know, those elected people (of which I used to be one).

But there are some things that a financial statement doesn't measure, and I think those can be just as important:

  • The culture you build and maintain.
  • How much control/choice you have over your client base.
  • How much time you spend learning.
  • How you invest time in developing the next level of leader at your firm.
  • The combined impact you have as a human. Where should I start?

Your financial statement matters. Even in a numbing 2020. But so does what people say about you. Especially the ones who know you.

What I am trying to do is to achieve good results all around without any appreciable compromise, and the majority of my business life has been dedicated to helping you do the same.

That's it. Nothing really to sell or pitch you this week. But there is another free webinar next Thursday at 2p eastern. This one is on how to test your current or proposed positioning.

  • Secret Tradecraft of Elite Advisors

    Secret Tradecraft of Elite Advisors

    Covert Techniques For A Remarkable Practice

    Buy Now