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Water, boat in the wake

As Business Owners, We Impact Many Lives: Let It Be For The Better

When we start our business and relentlessly pursue a goal, we entrepreneurs miss how many of our authoritative actions negatively impact those around us. And we usually fail to recognize along the way the wake we leave behind. 

The wounds I inflicted on others is what I most regret from my time leading Noodlehead Marketing. It's an important lesson learned because of how it drives me to interact and lead people today. But, this lesson took me some time to recognize it. And to truly solidify it meant rectify it with those I hurt along the way. 

My Wake Of Broken Relationships

In the second half of the Noodlehead Marketing journey, I made a list of everyone who worked with the company as an employee, contractor, or vendor. As I reviewed the list, it quickly became apparent how many people were on this list. As a small marketing business operating for only a handful of years, there were too many people. As I looked through the list, several people popped out as instances where I failed and hurt them either through neglect or through some assertive action. In other cases, I was also hurt by them, while working together or in the conclusion of our time. Several clients were also included in this group.

With a complete list of people on my reconciliation train, I now knew who I needed to forgive, and those I need to seek forgiveness from. With some of the people, I was unsure of where we stood, so I wanted to connect with people and know if there was some way we needed to reconcile. Was there something I did or said that hurt them, and I'm simply unaware of it.

The Train of Reconciliation & A New Approach

So, I began the journey of processing through over two dozen broken (or potentially broken) relationships, and my responsibility of where it went wrong, and where I was hurt. I let go of my resentment and forgave them as God did for me.

I began meeting with those I needed to apologize and seek forgiveness from. Some embraced this with open arms quickly forgiving and rejuvenating the relationship. Others told me to pound sand and never talk to them again. In one case it took my friend several years of meeting to forgive me.

Ultimately, facing these people directly about what had happened, and owning my responsibility was transformational for our relationship, and myself as a person and leader. 

As part of this whole process, I also realized how much gratitude was required for me to express to those who played a part in my life and success. In some cases, I wrote letters while in others I met with them as well, to share how thankful I was for their role in my journey. I could not have done it alone.

From that point on, I've chosen to live a life of real-time reconciliation. If I hurt you now, I resolve it now. If you hurt me now, I forgive you now (and if appropriate, hold you accountable). If you do something that requires gratitude, I express it immediately. There's zero tolerance for me to accrue relational brokenness or unexpressed thankfulness that I would someday address in the future. I'll live a life where I'm in good standing before my fellow man, and before God.

An Inspirational Story Of Reconciliation 

At the turn of history, there was a despised and dishonest Jew named Zacchaeus whom Jesus shared a meal with. Surprised, the surrounding community could not believe Jesus would meet with this terrible corrupt tax collector (the worst of the worst at that time). But Jesus met with him anyway.

After Jesus accepted him and showed love towards Zacchaeus, Zacchaeus declared his dedication to the poor and those he cheated along the path to his financial success. He even committed to paying back four times the amount he cheated anyone. It's a profound story I've grown up with and been acquainted all my life. And while my failure or path of reconciliation was not as significant as this inspirational figure, it's one I can relate to through my journey of reconciliation with others.

Lead For The Better

For all the people we've led and the people who will help us forward, it's vital we understand how critical each person is to the success of the mission. And, to appreciate how critical it is that we steward these relationships with the level of respect and honor they deserve. Our success at the cost of other people is never worth it, and it only leaves us with regret.

Move your business forward with an appreciation for others, and desire to lead and involve them the way Jesus did so for the Zacchaeus, and the way you'd want them to do so with you.

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