Washing machines help us clean dirty clothes. Some of the clothes come out perfectly clean. Others may still have the remnants of a stain that is now barely visible. And then there are some clothes where the machine, no matter how you well it cleans, cannot remove the stain. The stain remains visible to where you will decide to discard that piece of clothing.
Washing machines are also a great metaphor for relationships. All of us are imperfect. We have dirt and stains that need to be cleaned up. As with washing clothes, our relationships need repeated washings to keep them looking good to where they can perform as we need them to. In my personal business coaching practice in The Woodlands business and personal relationships are very often dominate over the topics of sales, operations and profitability.
Holding on to what you cannot change is like wrestling with your shadow. It makes for a frustrating relationship with yourself. The shadow is visible, but you will be continually frustrated and unhappy because you cannot control or change it.
In your business and personal world, you must know when you are wrestling with your shadow. Your shadow is all the things you cannot control.
Self-improvement is your own personal elevator. As you rise to the top you will have to let some people off. When you focus on self-improvement you are always in transition. As you rise, you must let go of those relationships that no longer serve you and the new person you are becoming.
If you don’t, you will end up feeling stuck which eventually robs you of energy and happiness. Look at your relationships. Ask yourself, “Who do they have me becoming?” And then ask yourself, “Is this acceptable?”
Tugboats and trains perform distinct and separate functions in real life. Tugboats operate on water. Their mission is to push, nudge and help direct the barges and large vessels that cannot turn very precisely in the confined areas of a harbor. Trains are designed to pull and transport heavy loads over steel rails to a specific destination.
In business, to be successful, you must have both the tugboat and train. You need people who are tugboats. And you need people who are trains. As a personal business coach in Houston and The Woodlands, I have seen successful businesses. the necessity for both over a forty-year career in business.
Faucets and drains are two things designed to work together. Water comes out of a faucet and goes into a sink. Once in the sink, it flows toward the drain and goes away. Or you can stop up the drain and let the sink collect water. As a personal business coach in The Woodlands and in Houston, I look for the faucets in a business such as cash flow, marketing, advertising, operational and financial processes, administrative and management style, and most importantly, the people. And I also look for the drains.
Interestingly, there are several ways to look at faucets and drains in business. A company invests a great deal of money in an advertising program. The money is the faucet. It pours out into the advertising program. The advertising program is wildly successful at bringing in new and profitable sales. The sink, the company’s cash reserves, start to fill up. The drain, which is the money going out for advertising, is slower than the faucet that is bringing in new sales causing more money to back up in the sink.
There is a song by the musical group, Alabama, “I’m in a Hurry.”
All of us appear to be in a hurry. Is that something that benefits us? At times we are in a season of hurriedness. That is understandable. But, if your whole life is that way I suggest that you are missing many things.
The first verse of the song states:
“I’m in a hurry to get things done
Oh I rush and rush until life’s no fun
All I really gotta do is live and die
But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.”
One of the biggest challenges I have seen in my personal business coaching practice and in life over the past year is how to meet the challenge that fear, surrounding COVID represents. If there were a perfect answer, I would give it to you, and we could all happily move forward. But there is not.
The ultimate goal in business and life is to first survive and then thrive. Many businesses and individuals have gone from thriving to surviving. And some have experienced the most feared outcome, death.
For myself and my clients, we have fears. The fears are valid. Yet how we choose to act on them is our choice. Once again, if there was the perfect answer on how to react to our fears, I would be happy to provide it. Unfortunately, there is not.