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In the past couple of weeks, my husband and I visited our three adult children in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where each has to some degree put down their roots. Two of our sons have joined forces and begun a new business, Arbor Works Tree Service, together. Their tag line speaks volumes of their mission, “Remove, Replant, Repurpose.” Nothing made me more proud to see these two opposite men come together to create this new adventure.

While stocking trucks, unloading saws, and assembling hard hats, the used bucket truck and chipper arrived. However, the chipper did not work! They were dead in the water with customers waiting to be have their trees trimmed, downed, or removed. Now, as any entrepreneur knows, there will be major hurdles down the road. It’s how one deals with the ruts and pot holes that matter AND not letting the issues get personal.

When something goes wrong, how do you communicate your irritation to your partner or employee? Do you rant and rave? Do those four letter words run off your tongue? How do you get a handle on what is happening and keep yourself in check? I watched and waited. This was indeed going to be a learning moment.

Their words were exploding with frustration and disbelief, “How could he ship them not working!”, “This is unbelievable, this is not what I expected!”, “How can someone do this; how can he be so unprofessional; this is so JUST wrong.”

This First Lesson jarred them to their core: not all people are as honest and trustworthy as they appear.

So how can one make sure what one speaks and the other hears are one in the same?

1. Be Positive. Write down specifically what you believe you heard when you make an order or receive/hear a direction.
2. Share your notes with that specific individual asking them to include anything that you might have missed.
3. Place initials and date on each document.

The Second Lesson: yelling, ranting, and raving do nothing and is highly unprofessional.

So how does one make a positive out of something so negative?

1. Be Positive. Step back and refocus. Make this not personal. Keep your focus on your business.
2. Create a list of your concerns. Make a Scenario A versus Scenario B as to what your options are.
3. Sit down with your partner and discuss what positive aspects have already transpired to bring you to were you are now. These are pluses.
4. Identify what strengths you each have, especially when communicating. Who does what better? Who is the negotiator? Who keeps a cooler head?
5. Again, keep notes of the conversation.

The Third Lesson: do not stoop to their level of unprofessionalism.

Do what you do best and move forward.

1. Be Positive. No one is ever stuck. There are always choices.
2. Choose one and move forward.
3. Stay determined and continue building your business.
4. Know you will act with the highest level of professionalism when dealing with colleagues/customers/clients.

When one decides that throwing verbal grenades is unproductive and only begets more frustration and builds anger, he/she can move on in a positive manner. These are the first growing pains but certainly won’t be the last.

The incision might be deeper than they wished, but they moved forward with grit and determination. They not only learned who was the stronger to communicate when needed, but they also acknowledged each others strength.

What will you do when push comes to shove and how will you be positive?


As featured on ABC, NBC, CNN, and FOX News affiliates across the country, Sallie Felton is a life coach, international radio talk show host, author, facilitator and inspirational speaker. For more info on Sallie, please visit her WEBSITE or follow her on TWITTER.

*Photo by DailyPic.