Minding my business

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I always knew it was a good idea to mind my business. Mostly because I could see the drama and unnecessary antics that are caused when I don’t. However, especially now as my daughter transitions into motherhood, I am experiencing how staying in my own business is one of the best things I’ve ever learned and put into practice. The evidence shows that if I avoid the temptation to trot out my expertness by telling my daughter “what is best” our connection is significantly deeper. I also get the benefit of really hearing about her learning and growth experience - from her perspective. Minding my business respects my daughter as she navigates creating space for her own mothering journey. Sometimes she clearly asks for and wants my opinion but I would say I’m good at staying in my own business about 90% of the time…. okay, sometimes the temptation to butt in is just too great!

The benefit of letting go of the burden (the metaphorical rocks) of having to know it all, having to be right, and having to be the expert is that I become free to truly connect. I don’t have to manage and track if my daughter takes my advice or not. I don’t have to be frustrated when she just won’t try it my way. I get the pure joy of an intimate, but non-invasive, experience of watching my daughter and her family grow, bond, explore and develop in the way that is perfect for them.

I learned a saying several years ago that prepared me for this journey. The introduction to the saying for me was Byron Katie, however I’m sure it has been attributed to many places. It goes like this:

There are three kinds of business in the world - my business, your business, and the Universe’s business. Whenever I’m anywhere other than in my business, I’m in the wrong place.

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In my trainings and coaching this message is one of my key teachings. For me, the real meat behind these words is the awareness that whenever I venture into “your business”, I’m stealing your learning and growth opportunity. And whenever I’m attempting to delve into the Universe’s business, I’m trying to manipulate outcomes and project my “should’s” onto, well, everybody! Either way, I’m creating barriers to authentic connection.

Does it mean that we can’t have empathy for others? No. Does it mean we don’t yell out to someone on the verge of being hit by a car? No, of course not. But it does mean that I spend time with my thoughts and desires prior to interjecting, offering advice, rescuing, or generally tell someone what they “should” be doing. Then I can release those thoughts and desires without verbalizing them because I realize I’m operating outside my business and focusing my energy, time and expectations in the wrong place.

It also means that I really explore my thoughts about the choices, journeys, lifestyles, behaviors, values and decisions of those around me. And I embrace the fact that I don’t have to agree OR disagree. I get to just stay in my own business! What a relief it is to not have to have an opinion!

This teaching came particularly in handy with a client who had to terminate an employee who wasn’t reaching the benchmarks and milestones of progress of their job. The client had never let anyone go. In preparation for this event we did a coaching session to clarify what is her business, the employee’s business and the Universe’s business. We discussed how to manage my client’s desire to rescue, save the day, or enable the employee in the event that she reacted emotionally to the termination.

It is challenging to let an employee go. We can choose to believe that we could have done more, tried harder, or that we can change them. And when we go down that road, you can see, we are not in our business – we are in their business.

With appropriate training, a solid performance development plan in place with benchmarks, frequent formal check in’s and coaching, an employee who fails to progress should not be alarmed when the choice is made to end the employee/employer relationship. However it can still be very emotional.

To be a leader, manager, parent, friend or sibling who empowers, inspires, motivates and holds people accountable, being as clean as possible with whose business you are stepping into – and remembering the only place you belong is your business – is invaluable.

The manager who had to terminate the employee shared with me that when her desire to save the employee from feeling disappointment or sadness came up, she was able to remember that her business in this interaction was to be honest, as clear and kind as possible, and to act in the best interest of the company. The employee’s important business was to care for her own emotions, take whatever learning the experience had for her and use it for growth in whatever way she chose. If the manager decided to try and take care of both of their businesses, it would have resulted in a dramatic and unproductive conversation.

Do you want less drama and more freedom from unnecessary burdens in your interactions? Then join us on March 31 for the Navigating Challenging Dialogue™ workshop in San Luis Obispo. Click here to learn more!