Don’t Be Upset

Don't Be Upset

Don’t be upset about the results you didn’t get from the work you didn’t do.

I’m serious.

Let me explain.

In the past several months I have been chatting more frequently with business owners that want better results. Here is a shortlist of their complaints:

  • Sales are down, while others in the industry are up.
  • There never is enough time in the day.
  • The quality of their work is hit or miss.
  • Their production is inefficient and slow.
  • They can’t keep a production schedule current and timely.
  • They aren’t happy with the profit that they are making.
  • The employees that they hire don’t seem to fit their needs.

Here’s Where Questions Start

After I start asking them questions about their shop, seemingly every answer is an excuse as to why they aren’t getting the results that they crave. In many of these cases, it looks like they simply aren’t doing the work to achieve the results they want.


Evidently, there are hundreds of reasons why, as I’m told. But the long and short of it is that these shops are not doing the things they need to on a consistent basis.

Let’s dig in and fix this upsetting situation. Turn that frown upside down!

Prioritize the Work

If you are upset that’s a good thing. That is a leading indicator that shows that you aren’t a mindless robot and actually care. There still is some passion for what you do and the results that you should be getting.

So why aren’t you doing the work? There has to be a reason. Or maybe it’s reasons, plural.

My guess is that it just isn’t a big enough priority right now. It’s enough to be upset about the situation and complain, but not painful enough to move you to action.

Therefore, get whatever is bugging you to show up at the top of the list. It’s the first thing you take care of in the morning. Work on it before anything else.

When the Problem Is Bigger

Sometimes the challenges are bigger than one person can handle. Get your team involved.


Head to the conference room where there is a big whiteboard. Grab a marker and start jotting down all of the things that are contributing to the problem that you need to resolve. Everyone in the room contributes. Like all brainstorming sessions, there are no wrong answers. Write it all down.


Then, once you have exhausted the ideas, start discussing what’s on the board. Are a few of the ideas similar? Maybe one or two are a little ludicrous or out of bounds on being able to solve right now.

A few might even stand out to the point that if you solved those, other issues would drop away.

Get a marker and number the items on the board with a ranking. The #1 item means you are going to work on that first. Go through them all. Rewrite them in descending order.


Then, create the action to resolve the challenge. Keep the discussion going, but this time, start talking about the #1 item on the list.

What do you need to solve that? More training? Equipment? Time? Money? People? Research?

Assign tasks and put some deadlines on them. You and your team have to own the results. It is the work that is going to solve this challenge for you, so plan that out.

Do The Work

Then, simply do the work. Roll up your sleeves and dig in.

Don’t be upset if you don’t the results that you want right off the bat. Sometimes it takes a few tries to nail it down and get it working the way you want. Regroup and discuss the situation often.

Learn from any mistakes you are making. Document your progress by measuring your results and keeping good data. Take pictures or videos as you go.

There Are Only Three Things That Can Happen

As my friend and mentor, Mark Coudray often says, “There are only three things that can happen, and two of them are bad. Things can get better. Things can stay the same. Or things can get worse.”

Which one do you want?

What are you willing to do for that outcome?

“Whenever I was upset about something in the papers, Jack always told me to be more tolerant, like a horse flicking away flies in the summer.” – Jackie Kennedy

“The most talented do not always end up as celebrities, and those with less talent often do. Upsets are written into our history and occur around us every day.” – John C. Maxwell

“It’s human nature to blame someone else for your shortcomings or upsets.” – Robert Kiyosaki

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