When I have joined teams or been a consultant brought in to companies, one of the first things I’ve been tasked with on multiple occasions is dealing with the ‘Bad-itudes’ that founders or upper management is having trouble handling (and sometimes it’s the founder or upper management who need the attitude adjustment!).

But I wasn’t always the person to come in and rally the troops or get a founders head in the right place. In a recent episode of my podcast, The Fifth Pallet Almost Killed Me, I dug in to the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey and all the drama that came with it. I’m going to share some of that with you here in this post as well as what you can do to eliminate the negativity in your business and start creating a positive culture that will change everything.

I left my career as an actor in New York City over 10 years ago to start NibMor Chocolate. Being an artist is a rollercoaster. You never know where the next job will come from, life is lived a bit on the edge and the competition is fierce.  Does that sound like entrepreneurship (only replace next job with ‘next sale’)?! Being an actor was like being in a pressure cooker and so is being an entrepreneur. So it’s natural that emotions run high and things can get intense.

In the early days of my business, I let the uncertainty of start-ups and my insecurity get the best of me. I allowed even the most benign situations to take over hours and even days of my life. Which didn’t lead to much productivity or overall good morale with my team.

We often have negative reactions because another person- the perceived offender- doesn’t do what we want them to do, they didn’t deal with a situation the way we would have or things just generally didn’t go our way. Often when we start to get angry or we get gossipy, we overreact or are emotional it is because someone or something has not met our expectations.

I’m not saying to be a delusional ‘Positive Polly’ but I am saying that when you create a positive environment- you have the security and strength to get through the toughest days. It doesn’t mean that you won’t get upset about anything but it does mean that you will be able to deal with it more quickly and move on to the important things.

If you find yourself constantly reacting in a negative way to the people you work with or situations that are beyond your control, here a few tools to turn it around:

  1. Figure out what you are grateful for. Take a moment to think about what is working right now. I have all my private clients fill out an intake form before every session and one of the first thing I ask is- What is working? Celebrate these wins. They cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
  2. Understand what is not working. Be really clear and honest with yourself. Was your best friend Jane the first person you hired? Did she save your butt in the beginning- but now that the business is stable- does Jane have a problem with you telling her what to do? Is everyone walking on eggshells as a result? It’s time to have a heart to heart with Jane or maybe even part ways.
  3. Listen more than you talk. This one was really challenging for me. I realized after those first couple of years at NibMor that I was always coming in HOT. I couldn’t even let someone finish a sentence. I had to zip my lip and listen because I knew my ‘know it all’ way of being and the drama it was creating was not helping us. Try this formula: Listen, write things down, consider for a moment and then speak. Filtering is an underrated skill.
  4. Take the emotion out: If you are an emotional person- take a minute. If I’m feeling especially heated about something or hurt: I take a time out. My five-year-old has something we call the calm down corner- I go there, tip over all of the water and oil timers and take a few minutes. If I need more than that- exercise is awesome at diffusing what could otherwise be an especially dramatic situation.
  5. Consider other’s. What do other individuals involved in your business need from you and the company? Sometimes as entrepreneurs we can be really selfish- it’s all about us. Our dreams, our goals, our vision. No great business or product was ever built by one person. Just like raising children- it takes a village.

Cultivate that attitude of gratitude and watch your company grow and flourish.


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