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.”
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.
There is something I do know. The two most important concepts for a civil, peaceful society to function are to have a clear definition of “what is okay” and “what is not okay.
In your own life you determine “what is okay” and “what is not okay.” For society, “What is okay” has laws, customs and guidelines. “What is not okay” creates its own law, which in truth is the rule of men and their decisions at the moment as to “what is okay,” not law, along with their own special customs and guidelines. When “what is okay,” is not enforced, then “what is not okay” takes over. This is when lawlessness becomes the law. Fear sets in.
In previous posts, we have looked at gratitude, happiness and serving others and how your self-talk can guide you in these areas. Also, we have looked at an essential element of your mindset for successful networking. You must focus on what you can control, which is you and your thoughts. Do not focus on what you cannot control, which is others.
Part of the control issue is that when we first network with someone there can be a tendency to have a “fixer upper attitude” or “I am here to help.” While both of these may sound good, they actually can work against you and your goal of building deeper relationships through networking.
In the previous posts we looked at several factors that can keep your networking working. In the last post we looked at the culture you bring into every encounter. A large part of your culture revolves around what do you say when you talk to yourself.
Your self-talk is critical to your success, let alone happiness. Why is this important? What you are saying to yourself on the inside will manifest itself in your words and actions on the outside. Obviously, this will be a key determinant in achieving the goal of networking, to build deeper relationships.
In the previous post we looked at some factors that can take your networking to not working. Lack of soft skills, people skills is the biggest challenge in today’s fast paced world. For networking to work we must be effective with others which means being truly interested in them and willing to listen.
One of the keys to success in your networking is the culture you bring into every interaction. Your culture is a reflection of how you think and care about yourself. Remember, the goal of networking is to build deeper relationships. If the culture you are bringing is toxic that will not happen.