We all know the saying, “money doesn’t buy happiness”.  Ever wonder if it’s actually true?  A 2015 study by a team of Ohio State and University of Georgia professors found that 2008’s Great Recession caused psychological distress, depression, and even physical illness in those with a shrinking net worth.

It’s only natural to be disappointed if your wealth, or business success, suffers a setback.  But does it really have to lead to depression and physical distress?

Define success by more than profit.  That’s how you protect your heart and business when the numbers aren’t strong.    

Lately, we’ve experienced a tremendous string of economic expansion.  Most business are doing well.  But remember, it was not long ago we slogged our way through the Great Recession.  And a cyclical economy guarantees there will be lean times again.  But you can prepare your heart and business to face those times with confidence.

Here are three ways to guard against a big letdown when things get tight:

Remember Who You Are.

Your identity is not in business success- it’s in your relationship with Christ.  Stock market crashes, business failures, bad press for your brand- those earthly things do not impact who you are, or what you’re worth.  Disappointment is normal, despair is not. You and I, as followers of Christ, have a greater hope.  Focus your heart and mind on things above to protect against business-related anxiety and stress.  Colossians 3, puts it this way:

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”  – Colossians 3. 1-2

Define Your Success. 

Define what business success actually means to you- beyond the numbers.  As a believer, you should have business goals that stretch well beyond making a profit.  This way, you still have purpose for your business even if profitability is down.  What if your definition of business success includes partnering in community service, creating a positive and Christ centered workplace, and giving employees meaningful time off?  You can meet those goals even in the lean times.  And that success will create a culture of hope to position you well for a future upswing.  For us, success is about transforming our business into a tool to serve God’s kingdom, and renewing how we think about our work:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12.2

Prepare for Lean Times.  

When your business is rolling, it’s easy to think the ride will last forever. But good leaders prepare for bad times, even in a strong economy.  Imagine the slowdown hits.  Businesses are competing for a shrinking customer base, stopping investment, and downsizing their team.   But you used the good times to get cash strong, pay down debt, and diversify your customer base.  You’ll be the company that survives, maybe even thrives, through a downturn.  While your competitors are stressed and depressed, you’re confident you can ride out the storm:

“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” – Proverbs 27.12

Anchor your worth in Christ.  Define your business success.  Prepare for the slowdown.  Stay healthy and focused with these three steps, even when the numbers are off.  The problems of this world are no match for a mind that is set above.