How Do You Deal With an ‘Event’? What I Learned From My ‘Burning’ Business


How Do You Deal With an ‘Event’? What I Learned From My ‘Burning’ Business

I know the trend right now when writing an article is to offer up a number of tips or steps that you, the reader, can practically apply to make your life and your business better, but this time I thought I’d offer you a good old-fashioned story.

The point of this story is to give you a dose of inspiration, and the moral is:

Remember to focus on the things you can control and let go of the things you can’t.

You see, as much as we try to avoid it, inevitably s**t does happen. Usually, however, it’s not the actual event that causes the problem, it’s the way we deal with it, that does. So, I’d like to share with you my story as a way of illustrating this.

It was 4:30 pm on a Friday afternoon and I decided to pack up and leave my team to run the show at my recently established personal training studio. It had been another long week of waking up at 4 am and going to bed at 11 pm, so I felt I deserved an early night to crash on the couch and watch mindless TV. I’d just got myself settled in, when I got a call from my head trainer telling me there’d been a big bang and there was some smoke. Not really knowing what he was going on about I headed back to the studio, a little disgruntled as it had disturbed my precious chilling out time. On the way there, I received a text message from the alarm saying, “Overload”’, and as I drew closer, I could smell smoke and hear sirens. “Oh dear”, I thought. As I pulled up, I could see smoke streaming out the back of the studio, and over the course of the next couple of hours, we watched as the roof collapsed and the building fell into the street.

That business was like my baby; I had raised it from a failing video store into a fully fitted out boutique gym with a solid team, strong culture and a consistently growing client base. I sat on the curb for a while watching it all unfold, feeling completely numb but with tears streaming down my face.

Eventually, however, the practical part of me kicked back in, and I set about calling the insurance company and making alternative arrangements for boxing class in the morning; all while the building was still crumbling before me!

I had a little pity party that night and sank a few glasses of wine, but the next day while showering the smoke and ash out of my hair I had a chat with myself and said, “Ok Laura, you can either be a victim or a victor in this situation. What’s it gonna be?” Needless to say, I chose the latter.

I ran the boxing class in the park, then Monday morning we conducted the personal training sessions on the beach, and by Monday afternoon I’d relocated us to a new premise in a fully equipped gym with a 25-metre swimming pool, steam room and views over the ocean! Not a bad result hey?

I continued in this aggressive fight mode for a while. I thought I was all over it, but actually, I was just running on adrenaline and underneath, I was quietly falling apart. I was constantly worrying about all the clients, trainers, people at the new gym and pretty much everyone else in my network. I felt like it was my fault and I had personally inconvenienced them, so I used all my energy trying to make up for that, and show them how driven and determined I was.

Can you see what mistake I was making? I was focusing all my efforts on trying to influence what people were thinking, which is absolutely something I could not and will not ever control. I was fighting a losing battle.

Eventually, however, I realised this and turned my attention to the things I could control. I’d been keeping the business going because I felt I owed it to everyone, and if I didn’t they would think I was a failure, but actually, it just didn’t make sense, neither commercially nor emotionally. I didn’t want to do it anymore. Once I was honest with myself and admitted that, I took back my control.

I shut down the business, and actually since then nothing but good things have happened.

It also enabled me to get back control of my body, both physically and mentally, as that took a massive downturn throughout the whole process. Now that I’m able to let go of the things I can’t control, I can see and embrace the learnings in situations rather than letting them have power over me.

This has allowed me to build a new business that I’m unbelievably passionate about and move in a direction that adds so much more value to people and serves me so much better at the same time. I’ve never felt so grounded, motivated and energised.

So, I urge you to take a look at what’s going on in your world right now. What are you trying to control and can you actually control it? If the answer is no, please just let it go.

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  • Lerida

    Love this article !
    We need to all constantly remind ourselves that we cant worry about the things we cant control – thanks for the reminder Laura .
    And thanks for the good old fashioned story too … always a bit more interesting read a personal tale

  • Ian Mears

    As one of those 8am next-day boxers I can attest to the positivity that just beamed out of Laura when others would be crying ‘why me?’. It’s not only inspiring, but it’s infectious. So good to see you rise from the flames happier and stronger. It reminds me that most billionaires have been broke more than once, and nearly everyone that has climbed Everest failed to reach the summit at least once before. I appreciate that’s not the lesson you’re sharing here, but accepting failure as part of the process is tied to accepting/letting go of the things you can’t change. Great piece Laura

  • Sharon Chisholm

    Great article Laura and I love what you say about trying to influence what people were thinking. I think we all get caught up in that.

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