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.
With the advent of COVID 19, almost a year ago in the United States, there has been a transformation in how we look at ourselves, our relationships, work, and as a society in general. Where pre-COVID we trafficked in a currency of confidence and a “can-do” attitude we now use the currency of fear. Fear shuts down connections. Fear shuts down conversations. Fear shuts down moving forward. Fear isolates us. As social human beings this last one, isolation, is the one that has wreaked the most mental and emotional damage.
Fear causes us to grieve. We grieve because we have lost our sense of normal. We may have lost loved ones, our jobs, or our homes. Grief is the death of something. And fear triggers grief because we have lost our sense of normal and at the same time, as we move forward day by day, we have no sense of certainty about the future. In a way we are afraid to step out and move forward.
Grief is everywhere! Our experience with COVID 19 has and continues to bring us grief. In my business coaching practice and in my own life grief is at the forefront.
Grief is the loss of normal. Grief is the death of something. In the businesses I collaborate as well as many others I know all of us are dealing with grief. What was normal, the way we did things is gone.
And when there is a loss of normal it is replaced by fear. We are grieving because we are fearful about the future. In the United States we are grieving as a society because we miss each other. With COVID 19 we are hearing grief in almost all aspects of our society. Why? We are collectively dealing with the loss of the world we knew.