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Get the Hell Out of the Hourglass – Part 3

Posted by Amy Lynch on January 12, 2023
Business man using laptop

Negative self-talk will keep you stuck. I had no answers to all the problems. When Nolan Painting was weak and without organizational muscle in the early days, I often thought things were going badly. I was locked in the hourglass.

This is the dialogue that played on repeat inside my head:

This is not going well.

I am in over my head.

I work too much, and I am broke. 

I have grown past my ability to run this business.

I need $100,000 by Friday for payroll and bills.

I am feeling overwhelmed.

I can’t count on anybody.

I don’t know how to do this.

I am so stuck.

Everything falls to me. 

I have to do everything myself, or it won’t get done.

No one is on my side.

Each friggin’ problem falls to me. Time is ticking away, and it’s really frustrating.

This is negative self-talk, and negative self-talk will crush you. Negative self-talk can play on repeat inside your head and keep you down. People will lose faith in your leadership abilities if this characterizes you.

The Hard Truth

Never tell people you are overwhelmed. No one wants to hear about your problems. No one cares if you are sick and tired of someone or something. Most folks who listen to you complain don’t care, and some are glad you have problems.

Years ago, I was vice chairman of a large organization. We were losing members and money; the future looked bleak, and the executive committee was scared. Our executive director was running around telling me and everyone that he was overwhelmed. I warned him to stop saying that. He didn’t. They removed him and made me chairman.

Don’t Let It In

Honestly, I was also feeling overwhelmed, but I knew I had to look like a strong leader. So, I didn’t let any doubtful self-talk in, even though I felt scared around all the corporate presidents and VPs on the board.

I talked to my good friend Patrick the night before I took over as Chair. He was a trusted friend, so I confided that I did not feel smart enough to be Chair. He said, “Kevin, that is nonsense. You’ve built your own company from the ground up. Of course, you’re not perfect, but you’ll know what to do.”

He was right. I knew how to manage a small organization through a recession better than anyone because I had experience with that! I knew how to tighten the belt and paint a picture of better times. I had a great ride as chairman of the board, rebuilding the organization. It did wonders for my confidence and my self-talk.

It’s the negative self-talk that starts us down the path to insanity.

It is hard to think about forward progress with this on repeat. Now, the minute I hear myself whining on the inside or out loud, I catch it and cut off the loop of negativity. Negative self-talk produces organizational weakness; weakness keeps you clogging up the hourglass. So cut the recurring loop and get out of the hourglass. Starting next week I will taper down to 2 days a week. Mondays and Thursdays.  Have a great weekend.  Build muscle.

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