On today’s show we are talking about something that is rarely talked about. Entrepreneurship has been put up on a pedestal and it cool to be an entrepreneur.

Today’s show is about the inner struggle of being an entrepreneur. It’s about handling the negative self talk that can surface when things don’t go as planned in your business. It’s when an employee or partner doesn’t fulfill their commitment. It might have been you. Maybe you made a mistake that needs to be corrected.

Every one of these events results in managing an exception. It means having to work extra hard to fix something that should never have happened. Even if it wasn’t your fault, you, as the business owner feel responsible. It’s that sense of responsibility that is healthy for the business and heavy for you as the business owner. It’s a weight that you carry with you all the time. It’s an extra sack of potatoes on your back all day long, all night long, even when you sleep. 

The amount of effort that goes into managing exceptions is many times the effort associated with managing routine items. I’ll give you a simple example. If a tenant pays their rent on time, the money appears in the bank account, the book-keeper records the entry. All is good. But if a tenant vacates early, or if they fail to pay the rent, the amount of energy expended in managing that exception is many times what it would be in the normal case. The effort to manage an eviction is orders of magnitude more than the effort to receive a rent deposit. 

When something doesn’t go as planned there can be emotional baggage that makes the task much heavier emotionally than the task itself. 

In many cases, you don’t leave enough slack in the system or the calendar to handle these unplanned events. The effect is that other commitments are delayed. Here too, the cascade effect can result in more missed expectations. The feeling of overwhelm can be paralyzing. 

But the fact is, every single one of these issues can be solved. All too often, entrepreneurs fall back on the skill-sets that have made them successful in the past. It’s true, that this approach will fix the immediate issue, but it won’t solve the underlying problem. In fact, it is really perpetuating the problem. It’s instinctive to ask “What should I do?” But the better question is “Who do I need to be?”. 

Sure things need to get done, but they also need to be done the right way, by the right person in the organization. 

Michael Gerber in his ground breaking book called “Emyth” talks about the three roles in the organization. There is the technician, the manager and the business owner. If your instinct is to do the work, then you’re being the technician. If you are the manager, then you are assuming responsibility for the task, and often delegating the task, but not the responsibility. Sometimes, that’s who you need to be. But if you’re truly the business owner, you will find the right people in the organization to own the responsibility for getting the job done, and for getting the problem solved. When I say solving the problem, I’m not just talking about the immediate issue, I’m talking about the underlying issue.

Your role as the business owner is to make sure the systems are put in place to make even these exceptions part of the standard operating procedure. When you engage with your team, the conversation should focus on the systems, and not the specific emergency. Yes, the emergency needs to be solved, but not at the expense of the systems. Otherwise you’re not solving a problem, it’s simply a bandaid and the problem will resurface.