Business is redemptive

Redemption to some is a charged word. But, for me, it means new beginnings. Redemption means literally to save.  But, it doesn’t have to mean saving others.  Flight attendants have taught us for decades to put on your oxygen mask, first, then turn and put it on others.  Why? Because we can’t help others if we passed out, or more bluntly, died, from lack of oxygen.

So, then, how can we save ourselves? But, more importantly, why do we need saving? If you’re a woman business owner in a difficult marriage,  you need saving.  If your husband has poor communication techniques that leave you feeling drained, confused, and rejected, you need saving.  If you are spending too much time defending and preparing for the next onslaught of negativity, you need saving.  But, how do you save yourself? And what does that really mean?

First, you need to discover who you are. Why? Because you need to know what (or who) you are saving.  What better way to find out who you are through full expression of creating something new or rediscovering what “your juice and your joy” are about. Take, for example, Sophia, who owns a bakery.  Her head and her heart are divided between placating her husband’s constant negative doubts about her and her bakery or focusing on becoming the best bakery her town has ever experienced. What does she love to do? Bake. Not process payroll.  Not package the products. Just bake.  To do that, she needs to put the right people in the right positions.  Even if that means making difficult decisions such as letting some people go or scaling back the business.  She needs to get back to her passion so her business can grow to meet her vision. When Sophia synced with her passion, again, she knew her truth: she is the best baker and is creating the best bakery in her town.  By focusing on being her best in the business, she now more confidence and “head space” to respectfully defend her husband’s criticisms and intelligently engage in a difference of opinion.

Then, there is the story of Tonya, a vibrant young mother of 3 rambunctious boys, who is caught in the cross-hairs of a verbally and emotionally abusive husband and her desire to transition her exquisite silverware hobby into an income producing business.  Her husband actually said to her, “What makes you think you’re so special? I work hard. I don’t want to hear another word about your stupid silverware s**t, again. In fact, I don’t ever want to see it either.”  Don’t you just shudder when you read what her heart and soul hear? Tonya, bless her heart, thinks that she is doing something, anything to control the circumstances from making that ugly beast come at her, again. So she tries to manipulate the situation by literally putting her business in the closet before he gets home every night.  The truth is her creative, loving soul is tortured with self-doubt and self-flagellation stealing her creativity.

A confused mind can’t create.

How can someone create something new, something great with messages like that filling her heart, soul, and mind? Without a doubt, Tonya is in a damaging, unhealthy, abusive relationship and needs to not only get out (so easy to say) but she desperately needs to be saved.  Creating her beautiful custom silverware, hearing her customers accolades, and building an environment of support and beauty may just provide the redemption she needs.  But, first, she needs to know her truth.  She needs to correctly label her relationship, so she can move away from it and quit trying to fix it or excuse it away.  Just as an alcoholic doesn’t fall asleep on the couch, they pass out.  Chronic complaining isn’t venting, it’s a poor attitude of the heart. Tonya’s husband isn’t just having a bad day, he is an abusive man and they are in an unhealthy, destructive relationship.

Business redemptive? Absolutely! Hallelujah!

As a creative outlet, starting and growing a business is personal

Starting and growing a businessBusiness is one of the last creative bastions remaining. And for that, I am glad.  Every human being needs to express themselves in a unique way that revitalizes and emboldens them.  I don’t indulge in the traditional creative outlets, such as cooking, painting, or writing poetry, because I feel lacking.  My creative talents are expressed in a different, albeit, tangible way.  I produce products and services that meet my customers where they are and what they need.  I designed (well, verbalized it to a very good graphic artist) the look and feel of our brand.  I established the systems and processes that ensure a memorable experience for our customers.  I try to inject fun and surprise for my employees.  But, personal expression in business doesn’t have to stop there. In fact, we’re just getting started.

Business provides meaningful and productive work for people to do. Business creates goods and services that enable communities to flourish. But, it’s in business where you have the ability to intentionally develop a culture where customers and employees can be supported and encouraged.  When employees feel esteemed, respected and appreciated, their on-job performance and loyalty skyrockets.  Setting up systems and processes that center around customers that are welcomed, loved and listened to, manifests a built-in ambassador network.  

But, the crown of creativity is, by design, creating an environment, a culture, that you may not have at home.   I didn’t realize it, but by not feeling validated, appreciated or listened to, I poured what I wanted needed, into my customers and employees.  For example, when customers call with a complaint, they are typically on the defense because they expect a similar position.  But, I don’t offer excuses. Quite the opposite.  I immediately offer empathy just by saying, “Oh, you must be SO frustrated.  You were looking forward to receiving your order to x,y, z (drive a new car, feel pretty with that dress, stop snagging all your clothes with that cast, give your family protection with your life insurance policy,…).  Let me fix this for you.”

Frustration dissolved, reconciliation begins.  I offered to my customer what I wanted needed: execution and empathy.  It became the internal “Care, Connect, Create” mantra of CastCoverz! and all employees are trained with this mindset.  By giving what I wanted needed, I filled a void, made raving fans of our customers, and built a blockbuster business.

Where else can you create something that epitomizes your personality, your brand, and your feelings, but in business ownership?  What have you created in your business to fill the void at home?  I look forward to reading your comments, below.