One of my buddy’s is a law enforcement Chaplin who works with the state police department. If you ever thought your job was hard, consider his. He’s the first one called in to meet with families after the death of a loved one. Often I will get a prayer request texted to me as he’s walking into yet another tragic circumstance where the people’s lives he’s going to meet with, will never be the same. I can only imagine! However, a Chaplin’s role doesn’t stop in counseling those exposed to life changing circumstances. A police Chaplin counsels the officers who day in and day out are exposed to a world the rest of us only read about or see on the nightly news. Imagine that task!
To be a police officer nobody would argue you have to be one tough cookie to do your job. But what makes an effective police officer, makes a decidedly difficult counselee. Police officers need to be, or at least pretend to be, completely in control at all times. They’ve learned, often the hard way, not to trust the people they are dealing with.
But my friend too has learned something over the years that’s allowed him to crack through the protective veneer these officers display. “Greg” he says “They all want to same thing, to be discovered! They don’t or won’t lay out their problems to you. But if you discover them then they are still the ones in control, they just let you in to find out!”
Those officers, and many of the business owners I deal with, aren’t that much different when it comes to being, or more succinctly appearing to be, in control. They would rather keep their issues buried deep down and deal with them on their own. Coming forward and admitting they’re not in control, owning their weakness is seen as a weakness.
He knows, and I know, the truth. He gets a glimpse into their souls; I get a glimpse into the financial wellbeing of our customers from our Accounts Receivable Department. What’s most sad to me about that is those who pretend to be in control are not only not helping themselves but all the others who look up at them and say, “It must just be me, I’m the only one who doesn’t have it all figured out!” News flash; I don’t have it all figured out either!
But I also know if I want to figure it out, it starts with acknowledging I don’t have it all figured out! Aquascape has barely made it these last few years. But we’ve never hidden our financial challenges from anyone. People admit in questioning by me they don’t let their employees know their financials, not because they are worried they will see they are making too much (ya right!) but because they are embarrassed to show them how little they keep! What?! Is it any wonder few of our customers have teammates that have been with them for years? Aquascape would not be here if we didn’t own up to everyone what was going on. I’m convinced because we did that, it allowed us to take the action necessary to survive a challenging period. We aren’t out of the woods yet, who knows what the future holds for any of us in these turbulent times. But what I do know is this; by admitting you’re weak you get stronger, by pretending you’re strong you get weaker. What I also know is whether you’re a police officer or a contractor, a boss or employee, pretending you’re all put together when you’re not is a recipe for failure.