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So many hats. So many competing needs. So many challenges with answers that don’t make everyone happy.  As small business owners, many of us are stuck in lose-lose situations. Our employees need, deserve, and want to stay safe, our customer and clients don’t want any changes to services, hours, or their experience, and our resources to achieve it all are very, very limited. 

It is so amazing to see our business communities come together to support each other with kindness and patience right now. Hear about JoyGenea and Michelle’s many, many hats and how they are juggling those competing needs in this episode of If These Heels Could Talk.

TRANSCRIPT

M:  Hi everyone! Michelle, owner of BadCat Digital here.

J:  JoyGenea, owner of Solutions by JoyGenea, and welcome to…

M:  If These Heels Could Talk!

J:  We are so glad you are joining us today.  So we’ve started a conversation and now we are going to enter you into this conversation and it is about the trifecta of responsibility.

M:  The trifecta of crazy.

J:  Responsibility.

M:  Ok.

J:  That has been kind of communally handed to business owners.

M:  Yeah.  For small business owners right now there’s a lot of competing expectations.

J:  So the community – how I perceived it – and we will talk through this.  I perceived it as the community has an expectation for us to keep our business as best as we can, to keep our businesses somewhat afloat and employ people and continue to keep money moving.

M:  Well and they’re right to want that.  It’s absolutely essential to the health of the communities we all live in.

J:  Right and bottom line it’s essential tax dollars.

M:  Yes.

J:  And without tax dollars we do not have a community.

M:  Right.

J: We have people but we –

M: But we have no school.

J: Right.

M:  Or no roads or no this or no that.

J:  We have bigger issues.  So that group of people has expectations from us.

M: Yes.

J: And then there’s the group of people that are our employees or our sub-contractors or something and they have expectations from us. They want to continue to put food on their table. They have fears and anxieties and so forth and so they have expectations of us and kind of some rules.  They would like some routine.  They would like good strong communication. They would like to know what’s going on as much as possible.

M:  And stability and they want everything to continue moving forward and process and all of those things.

J:  And a job.

M:  And a job.  I mean at the bottom line, a job but a job they can still enjoy, be proud of, be a part of, and it’s, you know, the people who are employed, it’s their main social outlet right now as well so you know there’s that too.

J: Right so it’s part of their mental health.

M:  It’s part of their mental health.

J:  It is part of their mental health diet.  And then there’s that group of people that want and need you, the customers and so forth, to be a strong business leader.

M:  Absolutely

J:  And keep that business going.

M:  Absolutely.

J:  You’ve built relationships.  They are counting on you.  And they need to. And they want you to be there.  And all of those hats seem to kind of fall on one particular you know on that business owner and on top of that then there’s the set of federal new rules.

M:  And state rules.

J:  State rules.  Those new rules due to Covid.  Thank you Covid.  The new Covid rules that you now got to weave into each of those hats.

M: Right.  Which of course impacts your ability to be a strong business leader. Impacts your ability to provide a stable, safe, work environment.  Impacts your ability to retain business and stay afloat which impacts the community. So it’s a lot of pressure right now.

J: Well and we didn’t even add the hat of family.

M:  Yeah.

J:  Personal life and your own mental health and well-being.

M:  Yeah.  So there’s that Queen song about pressure that’s kind of like playing in my head right now.

J:  Yes

M:  It’s just like rolling through my head and it has been now that I think about it not literally thank goodness but not that I don’t like the song but I can’t have any song in my head for two months.  But this is the drum beat of the last 2 months.  All of these competing needs which are all intense and strong and seem to all go together but don’t all go together.

J:  Yes.  And they come at you sometimes all at once.

M: Right.  And one of the most obvious ways that they’re coming at people is in the news stories about employees being harmed by members of the public who are upset that the employees are instituting rules that-

J:  The community rules.

M:  The company rules are set by the business leader as a business decision. Then the employees are asked to enforce those with the community members and the community members are pushing back on the employees because their representing the business leaders and so it’s creating this.

J:  Tension.

M:  Oh and from a business standpoint I mean looking at it and thinking oh my gosh I have to keep my employees safe but I also can’t tick off all of my customers and in doing that I somehow have to make sure that those two competing things happen in concert so that I can stay in business.

J:  Right.

M:  Yay.

J:  Yay.  So if you thought business ownership was easy.

M:  You were wrong.

J:  You were wrong.  And we always talked about the fact that its own little animal and I will tell you right now strong people are rising to the top and it is very apparent.

M:   Yeah.

J:  Because this is a serious challenge.

M:  It is. 

J:  To balance all of this and be focused on the future.  I didn’t even have that in there but that part of that business leadership thing you got to be looking at what’s kind of next.  What to anticipate.

M:  Well and I’m going to further define when you say strong people are rising to the top because I also think that it’s energetic people.  I think that you know some of the things that I’ve heard from business owners in my circles, in my life who are getting a little closer to retirement.  Maybe didn’t have a strong exit plan.  Maybe kind of were just like you know what I’m out.  This is too much I’m out.

J:  Yeah.

M:  And so I do think that that’s going to continue to happen.  These long-term small businesses that maybe are just like look this is all too much.  And you know if I walk away now I can cash out with something comfortable for retirement and move on with my life.

J:  Absolutely.

M:  And put my mental health, my personhood first because I don’t have the energy to do this anymore.

J:  Yes.

M:  And then on the opposite side of that kind of spectrum you have the scrappy startup entrepreneur, you know hungry, brand new or kind of green business owner who’s like no I got this.  I got this.  I got this.  I can get it done.  I can get it done.  I can get it all done.  And so when we say strong I don’t think we necessarily mean, I think that there’s a lot of factors that go into this.

J:  Strong is still standing in my mind.

M:  Right.

J:  And that doesn’t mean still standing in the business. That means maybe you accessed everything and made a choice that it was best for the business.

M:  Yes. And we’re not making. That’s what I kind of wanted to say.  This is a business judgement not a moral judgement.

J:  Yes.

M:  And different things go into that because businesses walked into this in different places financially, from an employee standpoint.  Different industries are being impacted in a really different way so in no way am I going to talk about representing a bar owner or restaurant because I’m not that.

J:  Or retail.  We’re not that.

M:  Or a retailer.  We are not that and so that experience is not one that either JoyGenea or I have had. We’ve been able to continue to operate our businesses in some fashion throughout this and they haven’t.  So to me that kind of throws everything else out of the window.  There is also a strength in looking forward and planning ahead and not putting energy into shouting at the wind.

J:  Yes. 

M:  Again, it’s not a moral judgement it is a business decision.  And so as we continue this conversation let’s just put that frame on it.  Done.

J:  So there was a quote, there are a bunch of quotes this week but there’s one in particular that really stood out for me and it came from an economist presentation that I was listening to about the future of things and this comes from the chairman of the Federal Reserve actually, and he said it on May 17th so putting that in some framework which was not long ago and he said, “While we are all affected, the burden has fallen most heavily on those least able to bear it.” 

M:  Yeah. 

J:  And when I saw it on the screen I went that sums it up.  Like, yeah ,that just kind of summed it up to me as far as a business owner and as far as some of the employees as you were just talking about caught in these places or the employees that are considered essential workers that are at…

M:  Grocery stores.

J:  Yes.

M:  Retail.

J:  Lower paying.

M:  Retailers and box retailers and-

J: Who are front line.

M:  Front line.  Postal workers.  You know service providers.  Teachers.  And then of course you have not only medical personnel but all of their support.  I mean janitors and hospitals right now absolutely some of the most important people on the planet.

J:  Huge.

M:  And they were before.

J:  Well how about the lunch people making sure that the doctors and everything eat?

M:  Absolutely. All of that is in there and all of, a lot of, the jobs that we just talked about are not well paid by and large. And some of them are definitely not when you consider the amount of education and skill (teachers) that goes into it (fire-fighters) or the amount of danger (fire fighters, police officers) that go in to the job itself. 

J:  So I love that quote. 

M:  It’s a great quote.

J:  And I thought that was nice.  And so we’ll kind of come back to parts of that.  So our week started off kind of interesting and this is why we’re talking about the trifecta of this.  So I went to first family event gathering.  There were seven of us in a large house huge family space.  Every group there were three family groups and we all kind of sat in our orchestrated clusters, eating with a mask doesn’t work so we made sure to segregate so that each cluster.  Anyways-

M:  So you’re careful but you did it.

J: We were careful and we did it and then I went to the client I’ve been working on site with for a contracted meeting on Monday to find out that one of the employees I have been working very close with had been diagnosed and was unfortunately home with Covid.

M:  Yeah.  And I should also say that that client of your’s is my husbands’ work place.  So the experience I had over the weekend was that a dear friend of mine who is a caretaker for a vulnerable person had been at my house over the weekend and then on Monday I found out that one of my husband’s co-workers had been diagnosed with Covid after his wife had been diagnosed the previous week and unfortunately we hadn’t known about that.

J:  And so it was interesting the wave of emotions.  So what was your wave? This is what I found out.  There was a whole wave to this.

M:  So my first thought was ok here we go.  I knew it was gonna happen.  I was gonna get this.  I was going to be impacted. This was going to kind of creep closer and closer and closer to my circle and now it’s in my living room and crap I wish that that person hadn’t come over this weekend.  And crap. Have I been careful enough?  Have I done everything that I could do? Who do I tell?  Who do I not tell?  Gosh what if this happened to my business what would I do. I mean really because I’ve been kind of planning on things but now it’s real.

J: Oh yeah now it’s real.

M: How long until I know?  Yeah, I haven’t been sleeping very well this week. 

J:  Yeah. I would agree with that. We actually did have somewhat similar experiences in those. I had a wave of guilt. 

M:  Yeah.

J: Because there were two very immune-comprised people at that family gathering and so my initial response was a combination of kind of anger and guilt in the fact that I had now exposed them potentially.

M:  Without knowing that you had.

J:  Yeah, that was probably my greatest struggle.

M:  So the anger is that.  The business –

J:  The anger was just at the not knowing.  The breakdown-

M:  Ok.

J:  in communication.

M: The breakdown in communication.  Ok.  But here’s the other part of that the other side of the breakdown and the communication is that employee’s privacy. 

J: Right.

M: So as business leaders and business people.

J:  That’s just it, our hats-

M:  Yeah.  So, with all three of these hats this is an example of those three hats competing.

J:  Yes.

M:  Because at what point do you tell co-workers that they have been exposed without violating that employee’s privacy?

J: There’s so many lines here.

M: And if you remember, I don’t remember exactly what episode it was because time is really weird right now as we have previously discussed, but one of the things that we talked about on this podcast right at the beginning was we’re all going to be in a lot of situations that are lose-lose and this one of those situations.  This is a damned if you and damned if you don’t situation.

J:  And any business owner that has employees that doesn’t think they’re gonna run into this situation – you’re kidding yourself.

M: Right.

J:  I’m putting it right out there and gonna be that direct.  This is coming.  I would highly recommend hindsight on this.  I would highly recommend that you literally do a placebo test more or less at your employment and be like ok let’s pick employee X and let’s say they get diagnosed.  Ok. 

M:  Now what are we going to do?

J: Right.  What happens at that moment? 

M:  Right.

J:  They call in and they’re like you know what I’m not feeling well today.  Ok.  Stay home and keep us posted.  Now what’s our responsibility do we call them again.  Like you literally walk that scenario and write it out.

M:  Here’s my plan.  Here’s my list.

J:  Cuz you’re right I had a plan.  I didn’t have quite as detailed of a plan and you know they had not also maybe stepped across that line.  It was a loose plan.  It was we’ll drop it in but all of sudden when you’re there trust me those three hats are competing and you need to have that fight ahead of time.

M:  Yeah.  Because there is that fourth hat.  There’s the fourth hat of you’re a person and have your own emotions and so to have the personal concern for your employee and the business leader concern for their essential job functions and the legal concern about their privacy as their employer and the larger concern about your other co-workers.  Your other employees or their co-workers oh my gosh I can’t formulate a sentence today.  And so all of those things are flying around while you’re stressed and anxious because you’ve been exposed too.  And so now what do you do.  Do you go home to your kids and your spouse and your this and your that?  Or do you recognize well you know I technically I was exposed 4 days ago I just didn’t know it and I went home 5 times. 

J:  That’s don.e

M:  Yeah so now if it’s there, it’s there and anything I do from this point forward isn’t gonna change anything.

J:  I have huge kudos to the individual in this story because his transparency and his communication was so forth right. 

M:  That’s awesome.

J:  It was.

M:  And lucky.

J:  Yes. 

M:  He could have not done that. 

  1. He was so concerned about everybody else’s health. He really put the company and the community ahead of his own privacy.

M:  And that is laudable.

J:  And he did not have to do that but we thanked him immensely.  And I thank him immensely for doing that because that really allowed us the freedom to make choices and to figure things out.

M:  Yeah.

J:  As an organization and as individuals.

M:  Yeah.

J:  Which was very helpful but that doesn’t every scenario is not gonna go in that manner

M:  Well and when you figure out in your plan how you’re going to communicate and what you’re going to communicate amongst the staff and the employees the next step is what do we tell our clients.  What do we tell the public?  How do we handle this from a PR in a messaging standpoint.  And we have talked about that a little bit.

J:  Yup but now we’re stepping into it.

M:  Now we’re stepping into it.

J: Cuz things are opening up.

M:  Yeah. That’s the reality.

J:  Things are opening up and as that happens there was never a thought that this wasn’t going to spread and wasn’t going to be something greater it was just a matter of being prepared for that.

M: Right.

J:  And so now we’re on the door step.

M:  Of more. 

J:  And I would also state for the hat of the employees they would like to know what the strategy and plan is.   That was very apparent really quickly.

M:  Because they want stable. 

J:  Yes. 

M:  Yeah.  And if you announce it without that plan now you’re showing your underbelly as an employer.

J:  And so being able to demonstrate that plan and being like here is the process.  Here’s what we’re gonna do and then that’s exactly how that happens.  Keeps that fear and that anxiety down and your staff which means the results that you achieve within the organization continue to be fairly solid and good.

M: Which people stay productive.

J: They do.

M:  Because their fear and their anxiety is lower and you don’t spend all of your time one to one –

J:  Putting out mini fires.

M:  Right.  Which you don’t have the time to do that right now.

J:  You don’t.

M: No.

J:  Not at all.  So that was one aspect.  That was one of our dips.

M:  That was one of our moments.

J:   One of our dips.  Then the week kinda goes on.  Did you have anything much going on during the week?  Anything major over at your office?

M:  Ok so here’s the thing, and I’m going to say this as like a public service announcement for everybody out there who has some sort of vendor partnership.  Any sort of vendor partnership.  The two days before a holiday weekend.  So it is Saturday May 23rd today.  Memorial Day is on Monday which means everybody is off of work.  The two, maybe three days before a holiday weekend are the worst in your vendor’s work life.  They’re the hardest.  The most things come up.  Things have to be done right away because there’s this like mental block about waiting an extra day over the weekend that all of sudden makes everything an emergency.  And so when you layer that with the pandemic or you layer the pandemic on top of that and then of course the quarantine fatigue that we’re feeling, the frustration that we all have.  The anxieties. The political upheaval.  The back and forth about this that and the other thing I swear.

J:  Not much going on.

M:  I swear the last two days have been some of the hardest in part because I just didn’t want to do them. 

J:  Because you are a person.

M:  Because I’m a person too.  And I’m tired.

J: And your person came out and just was like oh these hats.

M:  And I’m just tired.

J:  Yeah.

M:  I’m tired.   And I’m frustrated and I didn’t sleep well this week because of all of these other things that we just talked about so as a person I wasn’t walking into the last two days at my best therefore they were way harder than they had to be.  How about you?

J:  Similar.  And not too bad.  What I’m noticing is there a lot of we’re riding this wave.

M:  Yep.

J:  We’re just really riding this wave of change and it really grows.  Each week I feel like more and more like a roller coaster ride.

M:  Yeah.

J:  Like more like chug chug chug wook. Wheeeeeeeeeee!

I really do and I love rollercoasters so I’ve been.

M:  The visual I was thinking of today was a yo-yo. Like I really feel like I’m being like up and down and up and down.

J:  See I wanted the wheeeeeeee.  So I’m feeling that and I’m also feeling like in those moments where it’s ratching back up to the next big whatever and I can’t see over the mountain but I’m like oooooooo we’re gonna do this.  We’re gonna do this.  I’m like ok are there some teachable moments in here.  Like what did I just learn from the last whoooooshhhh?  What was kind of in that for me.  Like did I catch anything.  Did I gain anything? Because I do…  There are a lot of teachable moments that are just happening really fast and I don’t want to miss them.

M: Right.

J:  That’s what I’m feeling of that and so one of the teachable moments this week that really stood out for me was about fear.

M:  Ok.

J: And how that’s living in things and I caught Iylanla Van Zants who I’m a huge supporter of.  I really like her.  She’s has new program on OWN.  It’s called Fear Not. 

M:  How do you spell her last name?

J:  V-A-N-Z-A-N-T

M:  Ok.

J:  The first name is I-Y-L-A-N-L-A

M: Okay.

J:  Oh yes.  And it was just really apparent she thought about this and she had probably gone to Oprah and been like I want to do this.  Like I want to talk about this.  Like she is a lot of passion, sitting at home where this was filmed.  Anyways she talked about the fact that the pandemic is not just that, it’s more or else magnifying the fears that we already had about ourselves.

M:  Ok.

J:  And those fears are limiting us in our everyday life.  And this is a fabulous opportunity for us to actually identify those fears because they are loud and proud. 

M:  They really are.

J:  And so we can actually do some serious work on ourselves.  I’m changing some of this because we can identify right now.  Or we can hire professional to identify it.  Help us identify it for us because it’s loud and proud right now.

M: It is.  And one of the things that’s challenging people in isolation is that they can’t distract themselves out of it. 

J:  Yes.

M:  And so that’s a really challenge.  It’s a really challenge for me.  I went back to therapy a month ago because I needed to because all of these things in my head were like competing and all of this stuff that I had been crunching down for two or three years just bubbled right up to the top.  That was quite the visual there with your hands, JoyGenea.

J:  No problem.  Super useful. 

M:  Yes.

J:  Very good point.  And so she talks about that and then she talked about this is the opportunity it’s bringing us.  Is to confront these fears. 

M:  Well and the thing is I can tell that you are energized by the opportunity to… you know, of personal growth and these teachable moments.  They’re compounding anxiety for me.  I mean I’m not excited about that opportunity.  It’s one more damn thing to do.

J:  Yeah.  No.  It is.

M:  And it’s making everything else harder so this is again another example of how we walk into something affects how it comes out for us.  Because I walk into these teachable moments thinking god damn it.

J:  I did not sign up for this.

M:  No.  And you walk into them going alright let’s see what’s around the next hill.  And I’m utterly inspired by that and also a little frustrated, but definitely in awe.  It’s an awesome skill to have.

J:  Thank you.

M:  It’s an attitude to have.

J:  Useful a lot of the times not always the most appreciated or helpful at times.  You gotta tamp the cheerleader down every once in awhile in the right circumstances.  I understand it. 

M:  Pom-poms are sometimes annoying. 

J:  Yes, they can be.  So she talked about the top fears that are right now. Like solid for people and people need to think about this is it’s really good.  he fear of dying.

M:  Yeah.

J:  Like seriously.

M:  That’s there.

J:  That’s there.  The fear of the unknown.

M: Yeah.  That’s there.

J:  I mean that nailed me.

M:  Yeah.

J: On Monday.  But I was around these people and do I really have this and now what will happen.

M: And I didn’t know.

J: And then I didn’t know.  Unknown.

M:  Yeah.

J: Just I’m like oh that fears got to have a conversation and we will be working through that.  The fear of natural things.  Of natural disasters.  Of tornadoes, of hurricanes of those types of things.  This kind of falls…

M: Murder hornets.

J: Right.

M:  Cuz isn’t that what we needed them to be called this year. 

J:  Or dams that break in Michigan. You know like.  Pain.  Pain.  And then the other one is our fear of other human beings.  What other human beings can do to each other. 

M:  Yeah. 

J:  And so all of these always live in us but in the pandemic, they’re now bubbling to the surface.

M:  Yeah. 

J:  And she talks about how to surrender to the fears we cannot control.  That is one of the things that we can learn from all of this.  There are always moments we cannot control.  But learning how to control our fears.  How to walk through our fears.  How to identify them.  That is actually to me I believe one of the greatest teachable moments out of this because this will not be the last moment that causes your fears to aim up. 

M:  Right.

J:  And next time what if you could have better tools in the toolbox and you could process it faster and better and be stronger on a personal level for yourself.  To experience that.  And you asked what I noticed about clients and stuff this week so what I noticed this week about clients is they were really showing the same signs that we just talked about.  Being responsible on all of these levels with ever-changing rules.

M:  Yeah.  Because that makes wearing all of these hats harder is that you have to you know shift your feet with the rules the whole time.  So you have to keep all these hats on your head while the ground is moving underneath you literally.

J:  Yes.  And somehow you need to be staying on top

M:  Ok not literally. I know what literally means. 

J:  Figuratively .

M: Figuratively in a really strong way. 

J:  In a very literal kind of way.  I noticed that some of them just like you more productive. 

M:  Yeah.

J:  This last week I could tell I’m like well this group just became more productive.  More focused.  And then there were…

M: Focused.  That sounded like a naughty word JoyGenea

J:  It was not.  You weren’t supposed to catch it.  Some were more anxious, sending me emails and texts that I couldn’t even translate.

M:  Yeah.  Oh my gosh.  Yes.  So many typos that I can’t even read it. 

J:  And I had to identify I’m like oh oh like this person’s having their moment.

M:  Yup.

J:  I would literally, like the coach’s hat went on equally as much almost to reach out and call them.  If I could get them on the phone and be like hey you know what why don’t you tell me about your day today.  I got your email but I’m like we’ll get to that.  But I’m like why don’t you tell me what’s going on.

M:  Let’s start here. 

J:  Yup.  And, typically, boy they needed to be heard.  They needed to process something that was going on in one of these spaces that they’re juggling.  Once we got that figured out then we translated what they needed and it was like ok and I have it on my schedule for here.  And even if I told them it’s not gonna happen till next week they just needed to hand it off. 

M:  Yeah.  It just needed to get out of their head or off of their to do list.

J:  And that’s immensely what you were dealing with too.  It’s just there needed to be a hand off with the timeline of somebody else’s responsible for this because I can’t take on one more thing.

M:  And at the same time I’m doing all of this part of our response plan is as a business in cross training is to make sure that I and my main account manager Dexter who we both work with clients directly.  It’s really important that we both know at least in a tiny way what’s going on with every account so we started the day by having a meeting our weekly like low down of this is here and this is here and this is here.  

J:  Yeah

M:  And it’s an important thing to do because if one of us gets sick the other one will have to pick up the slack and communicate with the clients and it’s not something that you want to go through while you’re sick.  So this is an important thing to do so I of course started the day making a huge to do list and then spent the day trying to go through it but failing miserably as all of the other things that came in were all these simple to do’s.  Even something – I mean it takes five minutes to send an email.  It takes 3 minutes to put an appointment on your calendar but it’s the interruptions through that.

J:  And keeping your train of thought.

M:  Keeping your train of thought through the whole thing is really hard so there was a just to kind of give people an example of what that looks like.  There was a ten minute time frame yesterday where I had just gotten lunch so I was eating lunch and then the phone started ringing so I got a phone call and while I was on that phone call which was only a few minutes long I got two more phone calls.  Both left voice mails.  Seven text messages.  Three from the same person who was an employee asking for clarification on something who then also communicated via Slack the same question as I’m typing that question I get another phone call from my payroll company and meanwhile emails are coming in too.  This is everything takes two seconds to do but when it all flies at your face at the same time you can’t even finish anything.  So my food’s getting cold and that’s all I want to do is eat.

J:  Right.  You’re just like I need nourishment people!

M:  I just need to eat.  This is all I wanted to do is be a person.  I had to eat and then I had to use the restroom. 

J:  Yeah. 

M:  And part of it is well meaning people.  My husband who’s you know at work but it’s kind of, you know, it’s the Friday before a holiday so he’s texting how is your day going?  Like oh my god I don’t even.  I can’t even.  What are you doing right now?  My mom called.  You know like just different,

J:  Oh, you had parents call too.  I had a parent which I love hearing from them but it was just…

M:  Yeah of course because they are retired.  I’m like yeah. 

J:  Same thing. 

M:  So this whole time and then you’re feeling like you can’t ever adequately explain it to people what that feels like.   But then I recognize it and understand that there are some professions where that is your entire life.

J: They’re wired that way though.

M:  Yeah. 

J:  I just want to acknowledge we are all wired differently.  Air traffic controllers are wired differently.

M:  Yes, that’s true.

J: Then a cello player probably.  Like we are wired differently.  We’ve all picked our career choices for particular reasons and they fit us and so forth and we are all being asked to be a variety…

M:  It’s hard for me to live in that state of emergency.  I get very overwhelmed very quickly.  And so well all of that’s going on I’m also kind of prepping for a really serious and deep one to one with a staff person who had sent me the day before a huge bulleted list. She had just finished reading some leadership books that we had been talking about her reading.  She sent me this huge list of are we going to this and are we going to this and is the business going to change this and this gonna be nice.  And when are we gonna do that and how are we going to do this and it was just like –

J: Overload.

M:  It was overload.

J:  Oh honey that’s overload.

M:  Yeah.  It was overload.  And you know it was a really successful conversation and I got to say to her you know when I received this list my first instinct was frustration and anger because I felt like –

J:  Nice authenticity

M:  Like I was failing you.  And I felt very defensive about it because several of the things on this list we’ve actually already started.  But I also felt like I was failing you by not moving fast enough but then I also know that there’s other people on the staff that can’t move that fast and so we got to have a really good conversation about it and I was really proud of that.  So that’s where that kind of like initial response changes like how I was able to reframe that in my mind before like right away before we ever talked about it allowed me to really see where she was coming from.  Where she’s coming from is she’s feeling like the ground is moving underneath her feet. She’s feeling like she doesn’t know what’s going on.  And we got to have that conversation.  Like I know that you’re feeling like you don’t what’s going on.  Me too. 

J:  Yeah.

M:  And I’m, by the way ,also feeling the pressure of you feeling it and I’m doing my best. 

J:  Yeah and did she hear that.

M:  Yes.  And it was lovely.

J: That is a really nice conversation.

M:  It was lovely.  So it was rough day. 

J:  Absolutely. 

M:  But ultimately a good one.

J: And they’re not all, I don’t know about you, but I don’t go home every day thinking this was a win-win day. 

M:  No. 

J: Some days I’m just really glad that it is was push.  And everybody is still upright and nobody got hurt and there aren’t too many things I have to apologize for.

M:  Yeah and in some ways that’s the win.

J:  That is the win.

M:  You have to adjust your level of expectation.  I’m calling it the Covid Curve. Like if we’re thinking about a bell curve like I’m calling it the this is good enough for Covid.  Because I can’t do all of the – I just can’t.  I can’t do all of those things in every day all the time very well and now were kind of back to that concept of radical exceptence were just like I can’t therefore this good for today. 

J:  And utilizing radical candor.

M:  Yeah.

J:  Being that transparent with your employees.  Being transparent with your vendors and your sub-contractors.  Being that transparent with the community even.  This is you know as far as we can take it. So, Minnesota’s starting to open up.

M: Yep.

J:  And so we’re experiencing new – we’re just experiencing new things.

M:  Yeah.

J: And I wanted to say I am so proud, so proud of the local business owners.

M: Oh my gosh.

J:  On so many levels.  I mean you know all of the rules and the things that they need to do to keep our community healthy and safe and they are not backing down from that.  They’re like ok then…

M:  Let’s do it

J:  Let’s do this.  I’ll implement this.  I’ll make much less income but I will be moving my business forward and that is one of the teachable moments I have seen other people pull from this.

M:  Yeah.

J:  Is they have dug in to their business and their ownership of it and they’re like I’m not going down.

M:  We’re not backing down.

J:  No.  This is my business and I believe in it.  I believe in what I provide to my community and my community believes in me.  They’ve had a lot of support from their clients and customers and they are just rising and that to me is very empowered.  That is so inspiring seeing that.

M: Absolutely.  And I think that what’s the most inspiring to me are those that are doing it with all of those hats balanced.  You know.  Understanding that they’re sacrifice of themselves, of their income, allows them to keep all of those hats on.  That’s really, really – it’s just really heartwarming.  And the way that the communities responding to that is also really heartwarming.  This idea that we just have to give each other a little space. It’s like social distancing for the soul.  Oh that’s so corny.  But you know what I mean, like this, like this space that we’re giving each other physically is also the space that we’re giving each other emotionally.  Yeah.

J:  And it’s good.

M:  Yeah. So how are we wrapping up because we’re in danger of podcast creep.

J:  I know.  We’re on it.  We want to thank our essential workers and this week I want to thank of course postal workers but I wanted to also reference to state, city and county workers.

M:  Yes.

J:  Being a retired snow plow operator and past surveyor for the state of Minnesota, I especially think of maintenance people that are making sure those roads are maintained and open and holes are being patched.  It’s spring and there are plenty of those and they’re making sure that you know supply chains are happening and food is arriving and that –

M:  And there about to do some bigger things because there is a lot of things in our area that are going to you know maybe shut down some streets so that outdoor dining can happen in bigger way for places that don’t normally have it.  And so they’re about to become some of the most essential people in our area and so let’s all you know slow down when were on the roads and give them a little space. Little physical social distancing. 

J: Well, that’s it for our episode today.  We thank you for joining us on If These Heels Could Talk.  We hope that we have brought you some good ideas.  Encouraged you maybe in a new direction and inspired you a bit. Thank you for listening!