Have you had negative events affect you and your business, ones that you just can’t seem to shake off the effects of? Maybe a 20-year employee you know and trusted left and wrote spiteful things online. Maybe a competitor used underhanded techniques to steal your business. Maybe it’s something in your personal life, like a divorce or financial uncertainty.
It’s sometimes easy to be our own worst enemy. Building a successful business means always be open to opportunities and focusing on the future, but, too often, we hold on to our hurts and get stuck in the past. When we’re focused on the past, we can’t even see what’s right in front of us, much less where we need to go in the future.
We’ve all been there and that’s why I wanted to write this article. In this post, I want to share 3 ways to let go of negative events faster, so that you are able to get to that next level of success.
Find the Root Cause
Start with the 5 Whys. The 5 Whys were created by one of the most successful companies in the world – Toyota – to help them understand the true problems in their business, not just surface level issues that only lead to putting band-aids on problems rather than creating real solutions.
To understand the root cause of any problem, you need to ask “why” 5 times. The first place I recommend starting is with yourself. Do bad things keep happening to you? Do you have a victim mindset? Can you be frank with yourself? To make the 5 Whys truly successful as a technique and help you succeed in business as well as in life, you need to be open to starting with yourself.
Let’s take our example of the long-term employee, one you’ve come to see as much as a friend as an employee. But then they leave in a firestorm and start spreading hurtful rumors among current families or posting negative content online.
1 Why did this happen?
Because they were mad.
2 Why were they mad?
Because they were feeling taking advantage of in the workplace.
3 Why were they feeling taking advantage of?
Because they worked long hours, but often didn’t get paid for it due to being given long breaks or sent home early.
4 Why are they working long hours?
Because you weren’t staffed appropriately.
5 Why weren’t you staffed appropriately?
Because you have been enrolling more students, but haven’t had time to interview and hire new staff.
In the example above, we can see that the root cause actually goes far beyond just this employee’s feelings. There are clearly much bigger issues involving staffing, scheduling, and your availability. In fact, now we see that this root cause may be affecting other employees in the same way and, if we don’t make a change, is likely to repeat itself.
Now that you understand the root cause, you can do something about it. You’ll be more powerful and armed for the future. This is the true power of the 5 Whys.
You know what? There are a lot of negative things that happen to us. All of us. And it’s easy to play those negative events over and over again in our mind like a broken record. But there are also amazing things that happen to us every day. Practicing gratitude is about keeping focused on the positive and on what we do have to be thankful for.
I remember not too long ago, I was having an awful day. To be honest, I was going through a divorce and things had not been easy. All this negativity came to a head one particular day and I just felt bombarded. Venting to my co-worker, she immediately shouted “5 things you are grateful for, go!”
It was exactly what I needed. I had been dwelling so much on the past that I had allowed it to let me lose sight of the amazing things in my life like my children, my growing business, and you, all you directors that I am so grateful for being able to be a part of your success.
By focusing on what is truly going well in our lives, it’s much easier to see how they can continue to get better. Our eyes are suddenly open to all the opportunity for happiness and success presenting themselves to us.
Let It Out
Like in my difficult moment above, letting it out is actually often the first step to be able to truly let something go. If I had kept everything inside and not shared my pain, my co-worker wouldn’t have been able to help. I would have just kept everything in and, I can assure you, things would only have gotten worse rather than better.
There are many ways to let it go from talking to an attentive friend or getting involved in physical activity. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Get physical. Join a gym, practice yoga, take kick-boxing lessons, go for runs.
- Talk to someone. A friend, therapist, professional confidant in a similar role. Our mastermind groups are also the perfect opportunity to meet like-minded professionals, share experiences, and gain support.
- Writing is a tremendous, and well-documented, way to process negative feelings. You could write a letter to the person and then burn it, symbolically eliminating their effect on your life. Starting a gratitude journal is also a proven method for increasing feelings of happiness and satisfaction in life. Plus it combines two of my techniques in 1!
You’re Not Alone
I think the most important thing to realize is that you’re not alone. We have all had negative and traumatic events happen in our lives. From both my personal experiences and the experiences of hundreds of other directors just like you that I’ve helped over the years, I can tell you that practicing the 3 strategies of Letting It Go, Practicing Gratitude, and Finding the Root Cause will transform your life and your business.
And, you know what? These are just the tip of the iceberg. I will be giving a special workshop on How to Let Go and Move Forward at our Success Academy event in Phoenix from October 13-15. Maybe something in this post inspired you or just really hit home. I’d love to hear more about your personal story and hear more about how you’ve been able to let go of hurts and transgressions.
Share your story in the comments below or, better yet, join us at our summit in October and share it in person.
Just go to www.childcaresuccesssummit.com to get all the info on the 2016 Child Care Success Summit. I so look forward to hearing from you.