Sometimes, Changing a Single Word Makes All the Difference
By Beth Standlee, CEO, TrainerTainment
Recently, I was coaching a young woman who owns an indoor bowling-based center in Washington state. She shared a great quote that had real meaning to her … and to me as well. It stopped me in my tracks when she said it. Here’s why: The journey her business faces has been tough to say the least. She bought the business in April of 2019 and had to close it in March of 2020. When she and I had this conversation, her business had been pushed to Phase 4 of her state’s reopening and the uncertainty of opening anytime in 2020 was very real. (Fortunately, the tide turned and as of this writing they are open.)
During the coaching session, we worked through the juggle of what the business looks like if the reopening continued to get pushed back. This call was particularly difficult because three or four other serious issues had popped up during the same week. However, we continued to visit and as the conversation went on it was obvious that talking through each situation really helped.
About 45 minutes into the call, my client said, “You know Beth, one thing that really helped me this week is I came across a quote that instantly changed my thinking.” Boy, I wanted to hear that quote! She said, “I’m reading this book by Mike Robbins, We Are All In This Together. I found the book because I saw his blog* where he tells a story about how a friend challenged his thinking. His friend suggested that instead of thinking, “Why is all this happening to me?” change one word and think, “Why is this happening for me?”
Wow! I don’t know about you, but it instantly changed my physical being. I think I sat up straighter. I know I smiled. I may have breathed a little easier. It was instant. Try it. The next thing I thought about was all the things I’m learning right now, all the tough decisions I have to make, the efficiencies to put in place, the strategic thinking about what to do next.
Robbins’ point in the blog is that thinking “Why is this happening to me?” makes one a victim, while “Why is it happening for me?” puts us in some type of expectation mode. Something that is for us, can’t be against us! What a revelation! I believe expectation and curiosity give us great opportunities for growth. Readers of this column know that I’m pretty obsessed with growth.
Listen, I’m acutely aware that right now feels like a time to survive. So many people and businesses are just trying to hang on. Heck, my business is only making about 30% to 40% of revenue, and year-to-date we are about 50% down. That stinks. But we are still here! If you are reading this article, I suspect you are still in business, too! So now what? I believe we must start to shift our thinking. Can you take 30 minutes each day and consider what has happened “for” your business rather than “to” you and your business? Can you take 30 minutes and think about what it could look like for your business to begin to thrive again?
The experience of 2020 is something none of us have ever had to live through before. It’s turning into a marathon and we can’t wait until things get better. There is no new normal. In my mind, today is the now normal full with some new challenge that is sure to show up tomorrow. I intend to look at every change as something that is happening for me instead of to me. I invite you to do the same.
The habit of only focusing on survival at this time is not one I want embedded in the way I think or run my business. Eventually, I want to thrive. I know you want to thrive, too. Spend a few minutes every day thinking about what you might do differently in order to thrive. Celebrate the changes you’re making in your business today to create efficiencies. Congratulate your team for sticking with you. Thank your customers for trusting you. Reach out and help your neighbor. Call me if you want (817-886-4840). I’m interested in helping make a difference for you and your business.
Beth is the CEO of TrainerTainment LLC, a training company devoted to the family entertainment and hospitality industries. Beth and her team are focused on helping the companies they serve to make more money through sales, guest service, leadership and social media marketing training. Training products and services are delivered in person, through books and DVDs, and virtually with e-learning courses, webinar development and 24/7 online access. Visit her company’s website at www.trainertainment.com.