Why does the business that you own primarily exist?

  • to replace your last boss’s poor values with your core values?
  • to free you from corporate bureaucracy and the rat race?
  • to provide you and your family with a good to great lifestyle?
  • to pay for bigger toys?
  • to service the debt you took on board when you started or bought it?
  • to pay interest and returns to a Private Equity investor?
  • to satisfy shareholder demand for dividends?
  • to scale a product to the extent that you can capitalise and sell it?

What price are you paying for this?

I’ve met a lot of wealthy people who are unwell and/or unhappy because their reason why was in the list above.

I’ve met a lot more people who are not so wealthy but are healthy and happy.


Let’s consider an alternative:

  • your work is art that moves people
  • your work is science that enables people

The challenge we are set by society is to become 1. wealthy, 2. healthy and 3. happy

(with due attribution to my friend Jane Lelean, who talks eloquently about this).

We are told that success is achieving all three.

In 43 years of full-time “work” I have met few, if any, who managed that.

So the question I pose is……

If you could only choose 2 of those 3 attributes AND THE PRICE YOU PAID WAS THE THIRD, which would you choose?

Coaching isn’t about showing people some miracle method to get all three – that’s statistically unlikely and the people who claim to know the solution are deluding themselves (or you).

There aren’t enough Bransons, Bezos’s and Brins to make a sample reliable enough to call it a formula for success (assuming they are healthy and happy).

Read Job’s biography and tell me he was healthy and happy?

But chasing that spurious statistic sells a lot of books, on-line courses and workshop seats for the self-proclaimed prophets of the solution.

“just buy my book, programme, course, seminar, webinar and you will discover the secret.”

Some secret.

They don’t sell books about how to pick winning Lottery numbers because everyone acknowledges that it is just random – the numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6 in sequence have just as much chance of winning as any others – and that’s remote.

We are told that you have to be in it to have a 1 in 14,000,000 chance to win it.

It may be that the real secret of how to get wealthy, healthy and happy is to sell books, courses and workshops on how to get wealthy, healthy and happy to people who cannot simply accept health and happiness and the randomness of financial success.

Perhaps these self-help gurus should be obliged to carry a guide to probability – “if you buy my course and do everything I say, you will have a 1 in 14,000,000 chance of being the next Mark Zukerberg”.

Would that sell as many copies?

All a success lottery really – but as Barnum said, you can fool some of the people all of the time.

As a business coach I invest in teaching and mentoring my clients in the habits of successful businesses but as their friend I’m constantly reminding them not to tolerate the situations, things and people that drain away at their health and happiness – and sometimes I tell them to quit – or quit myself – or I get fired – if I see them going down that rabbit hole.

It was the founder of the Four Seasons hotel group, Isadore Sharpe who quoted “when you love what you do, you will never work another day in your life”.

I’m not wealthy and I’m not bothered.

I’m 62, healthy and happy, working 40 weeks a year at my own pace, with no finish line in my imagination.


My biggest wish for my clients is for them to be healthy and happy.

Oh – by the way.

Customers buy WHAT you do.

They want to know the price.

They come and go.

Clients and patients buy WHY you do it.

The seldom query the price.

They stay for a lifetime.


Published by

Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.