I've noticing a disturbing trend whilst speaking with some business owners recently.
I like to hear how businesses have handled recent challenges thrown upon them and, in most cases, people are generally happy to talk, to share their wins and to touch on those challenges.
It's been in this final space where my concerns have been rising and where the inspiration for today's blog came from.
Not unlike the gambler who can't wait to tell you about the success they had on a recent bet they placed and the returns they made, they are less enthused to share their situation when they're on a losing streak.
It's like some sort of dopamine fix as they explain the skill involved, their patience or quick decision-making ability to capture the moment.
Conversely, to share their loses provides them with a very different feeling. Perhaps one of poor judgement, a lack of self-control and even stupidity.
You see... we avoid all of those "nasty" feelings like the plague - they hurt our "Ego".
Controlling the Ego... it's a Choice
So how does this relate to business owners?
Well it seems that for many of us, those same feelings arise when we talk about our wins and loses in our business.
We can share our wins with shoulders back and feeling 10 foot tall. Someone to be admired, looked up to and to be acclaimed. The dopamine fires in and we love it (even if we show modesty).
When we share our business loses, it seems to me that the opposite happens. We can feel small, uncomfortable and no high-fives from impressed admirers.
Our Ego is controlling us and not for our best-interest.
It's in those uncomfortable moments that we can grow the most. We learn nothing as we share/brag about our successes but it's the perfect learning environment to learn from our failings.
Controlling the Ego can literally be the greatest opportunity to grow your business... and it's a Choice.
Just to be clear - I'm not saying to keep all your successes to yourself...
... but balancing it with your challenges gives you the opportunity to seek the views of others and consider options and different perspectives with your ego out of the room.
I was recently introduced to a lovely person whose body language gave them away (a great skill to develop btw) instantly.
"How's business?" was met with the classic Aussie response of "Good mate" and then swinging the attention around to "... and how you going?".
To cut a long story short... I was willing and almost certainly able to help and support this person but their ego wouldn't allow them to open up to the truth that their business was in trouble and (as of last week) has now closed its doors.
Throw a rope, but don't jump in
As frustrating as it was for me to hear this news, it didn't surprise me and I had to remind myself of a foundational life key that is critical in coaching too.
Firstly... the ego challenge will always be a hurdle to helping people. Don't be surprised when another's ego gets in the way of your offer of support.
Secondly... don't ever allow your experiences in point 1 stop you from reaching out to help others - Throw them a rope.
Finally... just throw the rope. Don't let their problem/challenge become yours.
By throwing the rope, you can help pull that person back to safety. By jumping in, you can easily have 2 people in trouble.
If we can face our challenges with the same mental response that we get from our wins, we're open to grabbing hold of the rope.
When we win... we want to tell the world.
When we're struggling... we need to be brave enough to at least start the conversation. To grab the rope.
I've realised that it's my job to throw out the rope. It's not my job to force anyone to grab it.
Sure... I'm human... it hurts to see a friend hurt when I know I could have helped them. But I accept my role... I just throw the rope for now.
So.... just like the "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink" quote, I remind myself daily to keep throwing out the rope.