I watched Equaliser 3 last night.
It is every bit as good as its predecessors.
There were many memorable moments, but one in particular struck home for me.
So as to not spoil the movie, I’m going to leave out the context, but keep the essence of the exchange:
In the second scene, Denzel is asked: “Are you a good man, or a bad man?”
Denzel replies, “I don’t know.”
A simple exchange on the surface, but a deep business lesson beneath once you peel back the layers.
I’m calling the lesson the Good Man’s paradox (although I make no claim that it relates to my last name).
This is the takeaway:
Good men don’t know if they’re good. They are filled with doubt, riddled with hypocrisy, and spend the quiet moments in their own head second-guessing themselves in the pursuit of an ideal.
Bad men, on the other hand, have a dog-to-a-bone-like conviction that their agenda is superior to anyone else who gets in their way. They see their vision as ‘good for thee’ regardless of whether it’s good for anyone else. They have far less doubt.
You can copy and paste this analogy right into any business that was built on good intentions.
We all have to bear the weight of both intuition and doubt resting on each shoulder. In one ear, intuition is telling you you’re right. On the other ear, doubt is telling you you’re wrong. Add in the expanse of the world’s opinions and it’s no surprise many of us feel like we’re trying to run a business while stuck in quicksand.
What experience is teaching me in business, is you never really know if what you’re doing is good. Everything is a hunch, a scale of probability, and a hope that you’re acting not just in the best interests of you and your company, but those under your employ, and those who you’re in service to.
But at the end of the day, you’ll never really know how you’ll be judged, or how things will play out. We are not the arbiters of our reputation, no matter how hard we try to curate it.
I mention this because I’m about to turn 33, and I’ve run my own business(es) since 18 when I became a Personal Trainer. For the last 8 years since 2015, it’s been all AA…
And despite hundreds of conversations with other gym owners and close to 3000 continuous days of running an S&C gym with a solid track record, the reality is…
“I still don’t know.”
Like Denzel in the movie, I may never know…. But regardless, both you and I have to soldier on, hopefully, motivated by good intentions, grounded by humility and driven by vision.
– Karl Goodman