When things don’t go right in your business, and those things were your responsibility, then you take the blame. You might feel shameful, defeated, uninspired to try something new, or simply ready for a new direction. When it’s our problem, we deal with it. The challenge is we are hardwired to look for the cause and that often also includes looking for the person that created the situation. Sometimes others may be the catalyst or the actual instigator of the issue. When things go wrong and it was caused by someone else, it is easy to blame. Blame that can be filled with anger. Anger that stalls your business, will ruin relationships, and stop your growth.
After all, it is their fault; right?
When something goes wrong and we have no control over its outcome then all we have control over is our response to that outcome. In fact, when it comes to other people, the only thing we really have control over is how we behave towards them.
Once, while speaking at an event I was asked to speak at another event. They told me the date, I thought that would work, and said they would speak to the person in charge of the event. I was surprised to find out 2 weeks before the speaking date that they had booked me. There had been no confirmation that the person in charge of the event was on board, that the date was confirmed for me, what the topic I was to speak on, what the agreement was, where the event was going to be held, or anything that I would need to know to ensure I was prepared and had the time blocked in my calendar. They didn’t even ask me for marketing copy. They simply got it from the website. They loved my talk so much they just assumed I would give the same talk to their members.
At first, I was confused and then I was angry. Angry that they would assume I was booking events while I was in the middle of a speaking engagement. Frustrated that I was going to be seen as incompetent if I was not available or I was unwilling to work for their fee. Irritated that they didn’t have a system that included all the information they needed to ensure no miscommunication. “Them…”, “they…”, “their…” Everything I said and thought about the situation was their fault. I don’t often feel this way so it was overwhelming.
Here is the lesson I needed to learn; again:
When a friend said, what is the lesson you are supposed to take from this? I started thinking, “yes, what is the lesson? Why am I so angry? What can I do differently now?” The answers came quickly.
The Lesson: What was my system for accepting new work? I could have said something different, right at the event when I was asked. Something like, “I don’t book events until I’m in front of my booking calendar. Call me tomorrow and we’ll set something up.” As my potential lead, I should have put them on my lead page to follow up after the event.
The Anger: I was angry because I had not used my own system to ensure I was on top of my potential speaking engagements. They may not have had their own system to manage speakers, but many of my potential clients may be the same. I needed to work more closely with their needs to ensure they get what they need from me so I can be there to give what I can to their audience.
Differently Now: I needed to react differently to the issue. I had to accept that it was a potential problem and discuss what we could do about it. It turned out I could not be on location at the time they had booked for the event so we offered the training and business support via webinar and video conference.
The Reason: A couple of hours before the event the person in charge of the event had to deal with a family emergency. If we had been at a live event there would have been no one to look after the venue and her people. Because we were online and I had the host access, I could continue on with the facilitation and training. It allowed her to be with her family and not worry about a venue and managing her members.
When things don’t go right in your business, look for the lesson, stop being angry or hurt, and figure out what you can do next. The reason will show up and you will become better at handling adversity, making you agile and able to change when opportunities arise. You may be right. But don’t spend any extra time blaming others.
Jackie Ramler says
Love this article – so right! Always enjoy your writing, Barb. Looking forward to really catching up – and dancing – in a few weeks!
Deborah Alcock says
I agree. My head went immediately to what I would have done differently and then you nailed every one, but we’ve all been there at some point or another. Ah, the lessons we learn!