When it’s not fair

why-do-we-get-so-stressed-outI was driving home and was at a point where two lanes merged into one shortly after an intersection. The cars ahead of me nicely merged together like a zipper, well before the lane ended. I left space to allow the car slightly ahead of me in the other lane to merge into.

That’s what you do, right?

Well, he didn’t merge. Instead, he attempted to get two cars ahead by speeding up past the cars ahead of me.

No one let him in. The car directly ahead of me actually sped up to make sure he couldn’t get in. So, he ended up directly in front of me anyway.

I don’t know what was going through the minds of the people ahead of me, but I imagined it was along the lines of “it’s not your turn you have to wait” or “Nope, no way you’re getting ahead of me.”

And I was struck by the fairness of it all. He had to wait his turn, it was only fair.

I laughed when he had to merge in front of me, but maybe not for the reason you think.

I laughed because none of it actually mattered. It wasn’t going to make any difference in how quickly any of us reached our destinations.

In fact, about half a mile later, the car that sped up to block the merge turned onto a side street! It wouldn’t have cost him any time to let someone merge ahead of him.

Why do we get so stressed out about these things?

In the above example, there was a commitment to fairness playing out – you have to wait your turn, that’s what’s fair.

It made me think of where I’m committed to fairness and where other people might be.

But how might a commitment to fairness show up in your business?

  • Someone with a similar product/service comes to the networking group that you’ve been attending for a while and everyone is raving about how great their product/service is – but no one has done that for you and you’re annoyed or frustrated. After all, you’ve been there much longer than she has.
  • You’re in a group program and you find out one of the other members is getting something you’re not and instead of asking about it, you compare notes with everyone else and stew on it.
  • Everyone gets x amount of time to talk about their business at your favorite networking group and you’re really annoyed when someone takes more time, after all, you didn’t get to talk that long.
  • Someone just started a business similar to yours and is having more success than you are, but you started first! You should be having that success!

Here’s the thing, being fair isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And fairness is taught to us from a very young age (stand in line and wait your turn).

So, it’s completely natural to find yourself miffed when you perceive something isn’t fair.

But here’s an important question to consider: Does being upset about the unfairness serve you or your business?

In the examples above, the answer is no. Being upset about unfairness only wastes your time and energy.

One of the other things happening in all the above examples is comparison. You compared yourself to them and it led to a feeling of unfairness, a thought that tells you they got something you didn’t and that’s not fair. As a result, there’s an underlying “me vs them” mentality.

What if instead of getting upset about it, you did one or both of these things below?

  1. Notice what you’re feeling and get curious about where that’s coming from for you.
  2. Get curious about the other person.
    If they’re more successful than you are, get curious about what they’re doing differently.
    If someone received an extra or bonus in a program you both participate in, get curious and ask (without judgment of them or you) how/why they received that bonus.

Opportunities to learn and connect are lost when you’re worried about fairness or comparing yourself to others.

Where do you notice yourself worried about fairness or comparing yourself to others? How does it show up for you?

If you’re feeling brave, share in the comments below.

What’s your measuring stick for “How are you?”

What’s your measuring stickI was talking with an acquaintance and asked “How are you?” and the response was, “Good I guess. I haven’t made any money this month.”

I said “Well, things can be great AND you might not have made money. One doesn’t require the other.” My acquaintance gave me a quizzical look and replied “I guess…” We were interrupted and didn’t end up talking more about it.

As I reflected on it later, I realized how easily I could have been on the other end of that conversation.

If a business friend or acquaintance asked me “How are you?” I felt like I was somehow lying if I said “good” but hadn’t met my financial goals for the week or month.

My personal worth was directly tied to how much money I thought I should be making. And how close or far from that mark I was.

Maybe you can relate.

Near the beginning of my business I attended a conference where the woman leading it said that if you’re not making a profit in your business, you don’t have a business, you have an expensive hobby.

And like everyone else in the audience, I nodded my head in agreement. And I tried not to outwardly show how ashamed I felt because I had just learned I wasn’t an entrepreneur, but someone with an expensive hobby.

A couple years later I heard someone else describe a business that’s not making a profit a different way. He asked if you were making progress, if you were trying new things, if you were learning, if you were implementing what you were learning AND if you were – then you were attending your own private school of entrepreneurship.

He pointed out that many people go to college to learn something they can get (hopefully) hired for later. They pay thousands of dollars a year for that privilege.

And you’re learning lessons from your business they don’t teach in college. You’re receiving an education about yourself that’s priceless.

So, when someone asks you “How are you?” I propose you toss out the measuring stick of “How much money am I making?”, “Am I making a profit – or enough of a profit?”, and “Did I reach my goals this week/month?” And replace it with “Am I learning?”, “Am I making progress?” and, most importantly, “Am I having fun?”

Days that start badly

Early in this blog’s history, I shared Stop that Bad Day. The gist of it is that my day started with a shattered glass full of orange juice and make-up on my shirt. I think I left the house in my third shirt of the day (and there weren’t any kids involved, just me).

I could have assumed that these things meant the rest of my day was going to only get worse from there.

Instead, I decided that the worst of the day was behind me. It would be clear sailing from there!

I’ll admit that I don’t remember the specifics of the day (it was almost 6 years ago).

However, we all have days like that. Days that start badly.

What do you do when that happens?

How do you react?

  • I should have just stayed in bed – these things always seem to happen to me.
  • The day would have been good if these things hadn’t happened. I wonder what else will go wrong today?
  • Oops, well, I know not to do that that way again.
  • I’m glad no one else was affected!
  • That was an interesting morning! Let’s clean it up!
None of the reactions are bad. But I bet there’s one that is how you immediately react and another that’s how you’d like to respond.

Our responses are interesting because they happen so quickly. Most the time we’re well into it before we even notice what’s happening.

And that doesn’t go just for days that have bad starts.

It goes for everything.

And other’s pick up on that energy – even when we don’t notice it.

So, what can you do about it? How can you shift your default reaction?

It starts with noticing how you currently react. That’s it. You don’t have to do anything about it right away, just start noticing it.

Then think about how you’d like to respond. What would that look like? feel like?

And if you’d like some help with that – I’m hosting a free interactive webinar on June 15 at 1pm CT. I’d love it if you joined me. You can find all the details here.

I should be setting those goals… Right?

Can I tell you something that causes some of my coach friends to tilt their head at me and say “really?”

I don’t like setting 5 year goals, or 3 year goals for that matter.

It freaks me out.

And then I wonder what’s wrong because I should be setting those goals right? AND if I’m a good coach then I should be encouraging my clients to do that too, right?

I recently started reading “Abundance Now” and when I read the above quote something clicked. This is why I don’t like setting those long term goals!

Something shifted for me earlier this year. No, I didn’t suddenly love setting 3 year goals.

Instead of thinking or dreaming about my dream house, I started noticing what I loved about the house I’m in.

Instead of dreaming about how my business might look/run in 3 years, I started appreciating where I am now and where I want to be in the next few months.

Instead of thinking about all the fabulous people I’ll be sharing stories with in 5 years, I started noticing how many fabulous people are currently around me.

Instead of success and everything I wanted being something 3-5 years in the future, I looked around and noticed all the great things that are here now and quickly on their way.

If you’re like me and goal setting for 3 or more years in the future does more stressing you out than giving motivation, it’s okay.

Look around for what’s currently working for you and really appreciate it. Then ask yourself how you can make it even better in 3-6 months.

Share something you’re super grateful for in the comments below.

I viewed networking as a problem

We all walk into networking events with our own thoughts and attitudes about it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how networking has changed for me in the last two to three years.

How it’s evolved since I noticed that something wasn’t working and started all the reading, programs and research that led to where I am today (part of the story here).

And through this reflection, I realized I had a bit of problem vs opportunity thinking happening.

What I mean by this is three years ago I viewed networking as a problem.

Yes, I viewed networking as a problem.

Networking was a chore to be completed. 

It was something that I did to check the “I went to a networking event this week” to-do off my list.

It wasn’t even a place I could really say I was completely present, because I was so busy focusing on how uncomfortable I was and hoping no one was going to try to “sell” me their services.

How well do you think that attitude worked for me?

Well, if you view successful networking as how many new clients did I generate from networking, then the answer is NOT successful at all!

Seriously, at one point early on I had problems even giving away my services (yep, you read that right).

At some point this shifted and instead of networking being a problem, I started viewing it as an opportunity.

It became an opportunity to make initial connections with potential clients and referral partners.

It became an opportunity to meet new entrepreneurial friends.

And how well do you think this attitude worked?

Again, if you view successful networking as how many new clients I generated from networking, then the answer is it WORKED!

So, how did this attitude shift look?

When networking was no longer a “Yep, I did that this week” task, I started staying a bit after the events to talk with people.

I started talking with and learning about more people, instead of scanning the room looking for someone that fit my ideal client description.

Phone calls and emails after events to people that were interested in what I did or to people that I wanted to learn more about became easier – it was an extension of the opportunity instead of another to-do.

This shift didn’t happen over night.

I didn’t even notice it until I started reviewing what’s changed.

My question for you this week: what shifts have you experienced in the last 2-3 years? Share below.