Growing up in the shadow of a business-oriented family, especially when your employer is your father, presents a unique set of challenges and learnings. My Dad passed away in 2021 but one of the most profound lessons I learned from him still rings on in my head every day when I communicate with clients, partners & colleagues. “There is no good / bad news in business. There is just news.” This principle, simple yet profound, has not only shaped my approach towards business but has also been a cornerstone of my success in the various roles that I’ve encountered in my professional life so far.

As a child and young adult, communicating with my dad about the business was often fraught with anxiety, especially when it came to delivering news that I perceived as negative. Similarly, I found myself embellishing what I thought was positive news, in a bid to win his approval or avoid disappointment. However, the constant emphasis on viewing news as neutral information rather than categorizing it as good or bad gradually instilled in me a sense of objectivity and resilience that proved invaluable in my professional life.

Me & my Dad in the St. Catharines, 2013, outside of a previous venture. Source: St. Catharines Standard

In high-pressure environments like sales, the ability to remain unemotional and focused on solutions rather than getting bogged down by the perceived quality of news is critical. Adopting a neutral stance towards business developments allows for a clearer assessment of situations, fostering a problem-solving mindset that is essential for success. This approach enabled me to excel in my sales career, where the ups and downs are part and parcel of the job. By focusing on the task at hand and looking for ways to navigate through challenges, I was able to consistently meet and exceed targets, proving that success lies in action and adaptation, not in emotional reactions to every piece of news.

For small business owners, this lesson is particularly pertinent. In the tumultuous sea of business, where changes and challenges are constant, adopting a neutral perspective on news can be the difference between sinking and steering the ship through rough waters. It encourages leaders to focus on what can be controlled and to use every piece of information, regardless of its initial perception, as a tool for navigation and decision-making.

This mindset is also crucial when building a team. Encouraging employees to adopt a similar stance towards business developments can foster a culture of resilience and innovation. When the team views every situation as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than a hurdle to fear, the business is better positioned to adapt and thrive in the face of change.

The lesson my dad instilled in me, that there is no good or bad news, only news, has been a guiding principle not only in my life and plays a pivotal role in the myriad of projects I find myself taking on today. This principle has enabled me to navigate the complexities of business with a clear head and a steady hand, always looking for solutions and opportunities rather than getting caught up in emotional responses to the ever-changing landscape of business news.

To fellow business owners, embracing this perspective can transform challenges into stepping stones for success. By viewing news as neutral information, we equip ourselves with the clarity and objectivity needed to make informed decisions, adapt to change, and steer our businesses towards growth and success.