The rather mundane activity of driving around Denver after our recent snowstorms pulled back the veil of a liminal doorway to something we all observe: why business owners deal with challenges so differently.
Our daily commutes have the added challenge of dodging potholes. Some are so small we don’t even worry about them. Others loom so large before us that we look around them to the left and the right to see if we can safely swerve to avoid them. We fear these potholes might swallow our car or at least our hubcaps.
The deep ones we strike may have longer lasting unfortunate repercussions as severe as a broken axle. These are the ones we won’t so easily forget.
Some business owners live like they only hit the shallow potholes. They see no need to do anything differently and keep moving their firm down the road no matter what they hit. Other business owners remember every large pothole they’ve ever hit, especially the one where they lost a hubcap or broke an axle. Then they begin treating every pothole like a big one. (I can’t relate…although you may think so when you see me drive).
To imagine what this looks like, let’s listen in on a conversation at a restaurant between Colorado Native (CO) and his younger brother from Southern California who’s forced to take over CO’s business. CO is remembering the antediluvian Big Pothole his business hit in 2008 and SoCal is checking out the current business. He neither knows about nor cares about the past.
CO: See, but, I’m still clawing back from that setback in 2008. I can’t quit now!
SoCal: OK, so if you can’t quit now, when can you quit? I thought you dragged me out here because you wanted me to take over your business.
CO: [awkward pause] I love these new pumpkin muffins.
SoCal: No, seriously. How much longer do you want me to wait around?
CO: [annoyed that SoCal is not playing the game right] Shut up. Don’t be like that. You know what I mean.
SoCal: I’m actually not sure that I do.
CO: Yeah. You know. [pause to fiddle with his pen and fix his tie] It’s just, it’s been really hard, you know?
SoCal: OF COURSE I KNOW. I’m the one who got dragged in from San Diego and now you want me to wait around for your ****** business because you’re too much of a ***** to make it better for either of us. DO NOT TALK TO ME ABOUT HARD.
So who do YOU want to be—CO or SoCal?
Be tough on yourself.
Forget the past and pretend you’re like SoCal who doesn’t care about the Big Pothole. All he’s focused on is the road before him. And, as we know, all that matters is where the business needs to go from here!
NOTE: Thanks to http://ittybiz.com/from-this-day-forward/ for inspiring this blog!
Every business owner has the “sunk cost” (head trash) of past mistakes or mishaps. You may even have them memorialized in an employee manual or stories that circulate around your business.
- How long have you been driving your business as though every setback is a big pothole? When do you want to change that?
- What will you do from today to change the #1 cause of your sinkhole-itis?