Right before I got married, someone shared with me the “five stages of a relationship.” It has been so true. And I’ve found that it seems to fit the natural cycles of building any business too!
Stage One: Romance
Wow! We all remember this stage. The excitement! The passion! The possibilities! It is true that in both situations, as we entertain the realization of our dreams, we are filled with the romantic ideas fueled with our love, our commitment, and our passion!
Stage Two: Reality
Yep, it doesn’t take long before the luster fades. That new exciting relationship has flaws (and weaknesses!)- maybe that business partner quits or the bills begin to pile up. “Dang, I didn’t know I’d be working and everyone else seems to be in Cabo.”
Stage Three: Resentment
We begin to resent the very person we once loved. We resent our situation: “Why did I allow myself to walk out on this limb?” “Why do I get stuck with all the work, stuff I didn’t like to do?” These petty resentments begin to grow and fester.
Stage Four: Rebellion
Ouch, we begin to rebel against that person. Turn our attention to other places or people or causes or things. In business we might be tempted to take short-cuts or lower our ethical standards. That raw hurt manifests in outward rebellion and in thoughts like: “Okay, I’ll show them” or “they won’t hurt me anymore. I’m out of here!”
Stage Five: Rebuilding
Yes, there is hope for relationships to rebuild and renew. Yes, there is hope for your business and career. It’s been told that Thomas Edison had a warehouse burn to the grounds in flames. The warehouse held investments and inventions and ideas worth millions. All of which was reduced to flames and ashes. His son and wife were frightened that he would cave and collapse in despair; he had slept by the ashen remains of his investments the night before. But then the next morning as he awoke, his first words were:
These are two simple words that can change your outcome. Two words that can move you from despair to destiny, and from ashes to achievement!
I have found rebuilding has a whole lot more to do with my heart and attitude than physical resources. Great remarkable leaders and achievers keep going in relationships and businesses despite the unavoidable setbacks. Sometimes there will always be occurrences when we (luckily) will not be required to rebuild. But these are rare and I encourage everyone to be a builder and a re-builder.
One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is self-respect. The two golden qualities that build your self-respect are determination and work ethic.
During these tough and turbulent times, you might be sleeping by a little pile of ashes. Sift through them and find one gem to build on. Build yourself up with encouragement and go at it again. Let’s all rebuild!