Never Talk Catastrophe
There will be times you feel that you are on the brink of failure, at your wit’s end, too burned out to go at it. You have no money, and you have hit “the last straw” with a vendor, employee, investor or customer. Marathoners talk about “hitting the wall” at mile twenty. Try hitting the wall at mile 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7…Despite this, your communication can never include words like disaster, catastrophe, quit, falling apart or any of terms associated with the apocalyptic scenario running through your mind. To you, these may simply be expressions of your current emotion and some air coming out of your balloon. To others, these words are warning bells that may lead them to question their commitment to your vision.
It’s not uncommon in a moment of frustration to say, “I want to run away and sit on a beach” or “We’re not going to make it.” These may be true emotions. They may persist or they may be fleeting. In either case, keep them to yourself. While the catastrophe of the day may be quickly forgotten, the lasting impression of these words will not. These words will stick in the mind of your constituents like a line from a B-movie you’d like to forget. Worse, it will impact their perspective.
When your constituents believe you are successfully moving from point A to point B, they view a challenge or a tough day as only a speed bump to overcome. This can often be a rallying cry for an organization. Overcoming obstacles becomes a source of pride. However, when doubt sets in, this changes. It’s one thing for your people to work through the doubt that naturally comes with building a business. It is another to hear it from the mouth of their leader. Concerns that come with the territory of entrepreneurship, and that used to fall under the category “the nature of the beast” now become deal breakers—reasons to think twice.
As hard as it is, eliminate these words from your public vocabulary, and share them only with your bottle of bourbon—and hope that the bottle doesn’t talk back.