I know someone whose business has been for sale many times over the length of our relationship.  In fact, he could actually have sold it on at least six occasions that I know about; and each would have given him a “never have to work again” lifestyle.  But, for reasons best known only to my friend Sam, he routinely leaves a willing buyer scratching his head in bewilderment.

He has another offer on the table.  It’s a very good one by most people’s standards, especially considering the nature of his industry.  Good as it is, the smart money is betting against the sale.  

Maybe some of you have been in a similar situation, either as a business owner or as a business advisor to someone like Sam.  Just after he told me about his most recent offer, he began expressing disappointment that the business was valued properly and that the negotiations were being handled by a bunch of young MBAs who had no appreciation wheeling and dealing.  “All they see,” said Sam, “is their worksheet.  They don’t know what to do without it.”

What is becoming obvious is that Sam does not really want to sell his business.  In short, he has become what he does; and he is afraid that when he does not, he won’t be anything. 

Oh, he likes the chase all right; and he apparently does not like the prospect of being caught.  There is probably no amount of reason, no compelling rational argument, no realistic offer that will cause Sam to sell.  He is more motivated to keep things going than he is to let go.

Whether you are caught in this trap or in some other “to do or not to do” scenario, here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you make a decision that will resonate with both your mind and your heart.

  • What do I really want?

  • What will it do for me?

  • What will happen if I do it?

  • What will happen if I don’t do it?

  • What won’t happen if I do it?

  • What won’t happen if I don’t do it?

Decisions do not have to be as difficult as Sam makes them.  You and Sam may have to ask yourselves that first question several times. You see, if and/or when you make a change in one area of your life at the expense of another area, the chances are very good that the change will be short lived. 

Just ask Sam.  He keeps trying to give up who he is; and deep down, he just can’t find an amount of money that is worth not being the Sam he has come to know and love.  Do you know anyone like that? 

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