I remember the second phone call like it was yesterday, and it was some ten or more years ago. I was in the supermarket choosing apples that were small enough to go in the kid’s lunch boxes. I saw the number on my screen, it was one of my senior team members. I thought, perfect I’m going to tell her that I had spoken to the other team member, the one she wasn’t getting along with, and let her know she would be pleased to know she had resigned.
I answered the call wanting to share the good news, but after just a word I knew something was up.
She began “The reason for my call is to tell you I am handing in my resignation” ……. silence from my end. I was stunned, not to mention immediately filled with emotion, anger, frustration, but mostly I felt embarrassed.
WTF!! This is shit, fair dinkum there is no pleasing some of them! I hang up the phone and headed out of the store without the apples.
I couldn’t think straight. That was two out of my four seniors gone, in less than 24 hours. I felt like giving up. I replayed what I said, what she said, over and over in my head. All I could think of was “how selfish they were, only thinking of themselves”, every time I thought about it the worse my thinking got. My first thought was “This is shit, who signed me up for this? I f*#cking hate that they get to walk off into the sunset and I can’t!” I am not sure if you have ever felt like the world is out to get you. Serious on ruining your plans, well that was me right then in that moment.
When I eventually calmed down because that’s what you do after you blow a gasket like I did. I rang my business coach to share my “just how shit my life is right now” to share my shit news. Knowing what I know now, I was not surprised at his response.
He did not see it like I did and he didn’t think it was the end of the world. He agreed that things needed to change and that it was going to come to a head at some point. Losing two at once was a bit inconvenient, however he reminded me that there is a message to be learnt here, if we can find it sooner rather than later, we should avoid a repeat. At the time I thought he was a bit too calm, I thought he could have used at least 14 swear words like I did. Instead, he said well “It’s one of the joys of being the owner of a business “ Yes yes yes.
He let me “empty my cup” a term we use in coaching that we refer to as having your say, letting it all out. Emptying your cup is necessary. If you don’t let the person who is frustrated do this, they can’t take on any of the education you need then to.
The person has to move past it and accept the situation they find themselves in before they can even think about a solution.
It’s exactly like a cup. If the cup is full, it can’t take on anymore, we are the same if we are full with emotion, frustration, anger whatever emotion you are experiencing, just like the cup we cannot take on or process any more, we need to empty first, hence the reference.
Tipping half of the cups contents out first makes room for the new information. Our heads are the same.
“It needed to happen, they needed to move on’, was the first thing he said.
I thought he can’t have heard me, why would me losing two seniors that were good earners a good thing?
My thoughts were all very short-term things like “who will look after the clients?” I don’t want to go back to working 40 hours a week.
We went on to unpack what had happened. The conversation went in many directions however the conclusion was, neither of them liked the changes I was implementing. The rebuilding of the salons culture and values really didn’t interest them. They didn’t want to look at their behaviours, they wanted things to stay as they were. They didn’t want to learn the numbers, to be accountable to the new transparent way I was restructuring the business. In simple terms they were fighting for their right to keep things exactly the way they were.
Me introducing new ways for everyone on the team to be accountable was not what they signed up for or wanted.
Although both girls were in their late twenties, they were in my words “old dogs” not the least bit interested in learning any new tricks. Looking back now he was right. Neither of them loved what they did for a living. They did it because they were basically too lazy to find another way to earn a living.
Hairdressing was what they always did. They had been getting away with doing the bare minimum and that was all about to change. They didn’t want to do any extra training. They didn’t want to go to any functions outside of working hours. They didn’t see why they had to learn to recommend retail to their clients, in simple terms they were fighting for their right to stay the same.
They didn’t want to change, improve or grow. They wanted to deliver the same lack lustre service that had always been delivering.
My coach pointed out to me that if I was honest with myself, I could see that too.
He was right, I knew that, but I was quietly shitting myself. I was already holding up a mirror to everything I was doing, and it wasn’t easy. It was the best thing I ever did even though at the time it certainly didn’t feel that way. I was outside my comfort zone by ten Kilometres. I wondered if it was going to work out. My coach reminded me that the “Mess” is where the message is.
I was settling for less from both girls, I didn’t tolerate it from the juniors the ones I hired without any skill and was training from scratch. What I expected from them was very different. For some reason the fully qualified team members got a different version of me. It was as though I was always trying to keep the peace. Turning a blind eye to some of the things I witnessed. Punctuality for one, if they were a few minutes late I didn’t say anything yet if the juniors were late, I was right there wanting to know why and making it crystal clear that it wasn’t good enough.
I wonder if you are like I was and hold back from saying what’s necessary for fear they won’t like what you have to say? I didn’t want to upset them, I didn’t need the drama, I liked the peace that came from looking the other way.
I was a peace maker doing my best to keep the peace. Here’s the thing with peace makers, they don’t ever get peace because it is impossible to keep the peace, eventually it will come crashing down, I had firsthand proof of that.
Without me knowing I thought of my seniors differently. I thought I was lucky to have them, I was more concerned about if they are leaving. How I would struggle to replace them.
This inside thinking had me tip toeing around things that mattered to me. This fear of speaking my truth was what was holding me back. It was not in the best interest of my clients or my business growth. I was operating out of fear, not joy.
The holding back was because I didn’t want to make a mess, a mess that I would be responsible for and that I would be the one picking up the pieces. The message became very clear to me. I wasn’t being a leader, not in the slightest, I was just one of them, the difference was I got to pay the bills I got to do the worrying I got to do the shitty jobs and do them on repeat.
This was a pivotal day for me because it was the day, I realised that you get the team you deserve. I wasn’t thinking about the clients I wasn’t thinking about the other team members I was only thinking about myself and only short term. Short term I was keeping the peace but long term I wasn’t moving forward I was taking one step forward and one step back. My old way of thinking would have employed yet another senior that lacked lustre and the pattern would have continued.
My learning that day was to question “why” to ask myself why is this happening? What is the message in this mess.
I believe the universe will keep throwing the lesson at you until you get it.
The massage is in the MESS every single time. Guaranteed.