Entrepreneurship is the best personal development program any business owner will go through. It will make you uncomfortable. You will feel like pulling your hair out and you will be over the moon with your wins.
It doesn’t matter where you do business, 60% of your clients have suffered from some traumatic event in their lifetime and 30% have lived through 4 major traumas. Those numbers are high and they make the industry uncomfortable. In fact, they make almost everyone uncomfortable. It’s not easy for anyone to sit and hear about trauma and even for professionals doing the work.
But how does that affect your work? You’re not a trauma specialist.
The first time I saw this play out dramatically in the workplace was when I was hired by a Fortune 100 company to come in and assess a team that was under pressure to get a project done for a NASA launch. The leader was a jerk and even upper management didn’t want to deal with him let alone the team. So they kicked the can down the road by hiring me!
Turns out this leader was a war vet and the one thing you could never do was come up from behind. With pressure from NASA to get done, his reactions were way more over the top with people shoving reports to sign, abrupt interruptions, and the team trying to hurry testing when they shouldn’t.
He was brilliant and knew this project better than anyone. It’s probably why they didn’t fire him first. Being trained systemically, I knew that the answer was to expand the people I talked to in his world. We could have treated the symptoms but instead, I wanted something that lasted and so did the company.
He gave me permission to talk to his wife, kids, and a couple of friends.
The answers showed up in the personal. If you have read any of my content, you know one of my favorite sayings is the personal is the professional and the professional is the personal every. single. time.
What I learned is that family and friends never had a problem with this leader even under difficult circumstances. Over the years, he had learned to communicate to them what he needed for smooth interactions.
In our work together, we crafted professional ways to say some of the same things to the team, to his colleagues, and his upper management. It took a while because we not only had to change words but thinking and behavior for everyone involved.
The story illustrates that a jerk of a leader really was someone who had experienced trauma and the work was different than otherwise would have been.
That’s the lesson here. When someone’s trauma is in the way, it doesn’t look like what you think it should or are even aware of because hardly anyone what’s to think that 60% of their clients have had traumatic events in their lives.
They are not victims. They live brave lives every day and do their jobs, build their businesses and take care of their families. However, there are days that can be difficult for them and when you coach, strategize and train them, it takes a different approach.
It’s not a limiting belief that’s in the way. It’s that the trauma was embedded in their brains and their bodies and it takes more than coaching skills at times.
The last 2 years have brought up a lot and what we are seeing now in the industry is this drifting that is affecting entrepreneurs and those with embedded trauma.
Be aware. Don’t assume. Expand your questions. Make room for your clients to discuss this. And know when you are not equipped and have resources for them.