In my last post I likened momentum to a train, so the most effective way to stop bad momentum might be to jump from the train or run it off the tracks. But in that analogy what if you are the train and jumping isn’t an option. What if we have to literally bring the train to a stop and head it in a new direction? Stopping momentum isn’t easy and when it’s good momentum that’s a great thing, but when it’s bad, well… enough said.
I believe there are several groups of people where different strategies can be employed, but today let’s talk about folks, who for whatever reason, seem to make progress but inevitably hit a wall or the wheels come off. These people are talented, bright, self-starters. They are resilient; they get back up and try again and typically have a good attitude, but invariably nosedive over and over. It might be relationships or jobs, or businesses, but regardless of what it is there seems to be a hint of self-sabotage in their DNA. Do you know someone like this? Is this you? This is a fairly accurate description of me for much of my life. One of the common denominators about folks like this is they aren’t big on team. They are usually doing life alone. Not to say they aren’t likable and don’t have friends, they do, but there’s an aspect of how they do life that isn’t shared with many people.
I’m not going to break down the whole self-sabotage thing today and whether its fear or failure or fear of success. Whether it’s an identity issue or what you believe about yourself. I don’t have YOUR answer in this post but I am going to point you to it. Here it is:
- Are you ready to admit what you’re doing isn’t working so well? (this is #1 for a reason)
- Ask for help.
Your answer is waiting for you in your friends and family. Somehow we are so close to it, we can’t see the forest for the trees, but it is fairly obvious to those around us. Are you ready for a change, and do you have the courage to listen and apply what people who love you have to say? Listening to those who have my best interest in mind and letting them help me has changed my life for the better. It wasn’t easy, change never is, but it is so worth it! Go get ‘em!
To start over… To quit and begin again… to take a step backward to be able to take two forward. Whatever you call it, it’s hard to contemplate and even harder to do! Starting over seems so painful. For some reason there’s a sense of failure in that. You’ve got all this time, effort and energy that will literally go to waste if you start over, and for that reason most of us don’t or wont and our “pain” continues.
Take your business for example; let’s say your cash flow is consistently tight, week in and week out you borrow and shift and juggle to make payroll. You’ve done it so long that it’s become normal… So much so you’ve surmised most businesses run this way. Occasionally you’ve thought, ‘I could hire a consultant to help with this or there are some changes I could make to eliminate this problem like increasing prices by 6%, adjusting my accounts receivable terms, incentivizing prompt payment, penalizing late payments, etc.’ but you don’t call a consultant and you don’t implement the changes… Why? Because you perceive making those changes to be more painful than your current situation. The truth is juggling to make payroll each week is extremely painful and stressful, but you have done it for so long you have become somewhat “comfortable” in this painful place. From the outside looking in its rather obvious… from your perspective, not so much. Multiple honest perspectives are very valuable!
Still don’t know what I’m talking about? How about your marriage; you’ve been married 12 years, and while you’d admit the honeymoon is over, you say “My wife and I are still married… Look at all the people we know who are getting divorced” The truth is your relationship is mediocre at best; there’s no life or zest in it anymore. You desire a better relationship and you’ve considered going to counseling, but you’ve concluded that would only bring some touchy subjects to the surface and cause more pain. You have grown comfortable in the mediocre relationship and would rather continue in that for years to come than do some hard work that leads to real love and life.
If it sounds like I’m preaching, know that most of my writing comes from personal experience :0). Our hope is that things will get better if we hang in there long enough. That is faulty thinking. A solid home does not spring forth from a broken foundation. To rebuild something it must first be torn down.
Take a step back… What is it that’s not working so well? What is it that came to mind when you read that question? Identify it before the wheels come off! What can you begin working on this month that would bring forth a higher level of life, joy, love and relationship for years to come?
Every organization has a bloodstream. If you are the owner or are part of the senior management team in your organization, you are the life blood of that organization. You are the heart that is providing life giving sustenance. You control the atmosphere of the company with your vision, attitude and actions. You have a tremendous amount of influence in how the rest of your “body” (the organization) operates as well as how healthy it is.
If not exercised properly (and sometimes exorcised properly ;0) the organization can become sedentary and prone to infection. The truth is, the organization, like the body, is constantly susceptible to infection and a healthy heart and immune system provide the leadership necessary to maintain vigor.
Many times there are cancers within the organization that if not removed or treated aggressively can kill. Yes I’m talking about people, and often faulty processes. A more subtle killer is ‘ordinary’, employees who are occupying space and time but who aren’t enjoying what they’re doing… Who aren’t challenged at their position… Who aren’t growing. Remember, healthy things grow! How do you spot ordinary? Look for folks who aren’t focused on providing value, both to the company and customers. Ordinary didn’t start your business and ordinary isn’t going to sustain or grow it.
Listen, people matter! I love people, and making the tough decisions about the folks in your organization (for the health of your organization) can be excruciating at times. No doubt! But you not attending to the tough decisions is causing harm to the entire company.
How would you rate the health of your organization today? Sure financials are one way to gauge the health of an organization but an “organizational physical” can be a better way to get an overall fitness level that can help you establish a life expectancy. If you looked at your business as a body today what would its appearance say to you? Do you see a physically fit specimen that’s ready to race or maybe one that’s overweight causing high blood pressure, or do you have a limb that needs to be amputated? Tough question for sure, but you and your leadership team are responsible for your company’s health. See something that needs to change? Act today!
I received an interesting question from a man about my consulting business, and if it was right for him. (I will call him Bill, but he will remain anonymous) I thought it was worth answering publically just in case someone else might be wondering the same thing.
Bill writes: “I visited your website today and liked what I saw. Your video described me to a T, my business is dependent on me and I work more hours than I care to admit. I think I could use the kind of help you offer, but I noticed you give a lot of credit to God for your success. I am not a Christian, nor do I intend on becoming one. Do you believe you still have something to offer me?”
First off I applaud your honesty and I appreciate someone who knows where they stand. I had a measure of success prior to having a relationship with Jesus. I believe there are proven principles and strategies for business that will work for anyone, Christian or not. I believe there are definitive ways you can cherish your wife and engage your kids that will make your relationships extraordinary, Christian or not. I believe there are certain morals and values you can operate by that will make you kind, loving, generous, and a person who is well liked, Christian or not. So the short answer to your question is yes.
What I never had was the fulfillment and contentment that I thought the success and money would bring. I believe there is an innate desire in everyone for a relationship with their Creator. And we try to fill it innumerous ways, but we’re always left with a space only God can fill. Bill, I look forward to working with you on your business, Christian or not… no strings attached. But the best service I can be to you, if and when you’re ready is an introduction to Jesus.
We all have dreams and desires… things we’d like to do or become. Sometimes we hold on to these dreams and protect them or polish them. We spend months and years thinking about them and how great they would be to fulfill but something keeps us from actually attempting them. Something keeps us from getting started.
Years ago I was starting a new business and spent months “getting ready” dotting every “i” crossing every “t”, getting the website just perfect, etc. etc. I’m not suggesting that you don’t need to be prepared. You do. But there was something else going on with me. I was afraid to fail. To some extent I was stalling. That’s right stalling. You see, as long as I was “preparing” for this new venture and not actually launching it I was protecting myself from failure. The time spent talking about it, strategizing and planning (polishing) this new business was enjoyable but as soon as I went ”live” that was going to be the true test on whether it was successful or not.
In case you’re wondering that business failed. It was a stepping stone on the way to where I am today. The point is we all have dreams and desires… things we would like to pursue. My challenge to you is to let’r rip! What’s the worst thing that can happen? You fail. Next! Your dream or idea (like some I’ve had) may not be a very good one and if that’s the case it’s taking up space where a good one could live. Step out! Take a chance! Begin!