The best lessons come poorly wrapped

When times are tough it can feel very lonely.  Ask someone you respect what they would do and you will be surprised how much clarity that will give you.

Topic – Rik’s Fast Five

Mentor – Rik Rushton

  • Rik’s tips on getting out of a trough
  • You will be surprised how many people have experienced it
  • Be alert to learn


Kevin: It happens to us all at some stage, where we fall into a bit of a trough, lose our way. Happens quite often to a leader, too. Because leadership can be very, very lonely. I finish up my conversations this week with Rik Rushton. As we talk about that, and how to overcome it.

Kevin: Leadership can be very, very lonely. I think you and I have talked about that 3:00am mental conversation we have. Things always seem worse in the middle of the night, or the middle of the morning. Rik, I don’t know whether you find that, but I certainly do. Then I wake up in the morning, and I think, “Why was I so stressed about that?” But, it does actually lead to the next question, which is how do you get out of that slump? How do you motivate yourself?

Rik: Yeah, well I think it’s not so much the mountain we’ve got to climb. It’s normally the pebble in the shoe. And, the pebble in the shoe’s the thing that keeps us up at night, wakes us up at three AM in the morning. What is that pebble in the shoe? So the first thing I would do to get out of a slump is really articulate what is this pebble? Is it cash flow, is it staff retention, is it competition cutting … What is that the issue? Now I’ve jotted it down. It will free my mind to allow me to sleep and reenergize, because without energy, I’ve got nothing.

Rik: So then, it’s right by my bedside table. So as soon as I wake up the next day, I see it, “Ah, that’s my big pebble that I want to get rid of out of my shoe today. And I can’t let the sun set today until I get rid of that pebble.” Now, am I good enough to solve that myself, or would it be much smarter to speak to … Oh, I don’t know, wise counsel like Sir Kevin Turner, who’s probably gone through that? Could he give me some understanding around how I could tackle that? So, my view is, there’s only three ways to gt out of a slump. Number one, remember back to a time when you were actually were cruising, and were in momentum. What were you doing? I guarantee your energy was up, so you probably have to shift your energy and start moving. If you move, and you’re moving forward, if you’re going to fall, you’re going to fall forward, not backwards. So that’s the first thing you can do.

Rik: I suggest the second way is the way to go, though. Which is to get in touch with a wise counsel. Someone who you absolutely respect. Male, female, old or young, it doesn’t really matter. Anyone who’s got the results you’re already searching for, or maybe someone who, if you speak to them and say, “Hey, this is a pebble that’s in my shoe. Did you ever have that pebble?” “Oh man, did I. I had a whole sand pit like that, you know? Here’s what I did. Here’s the three things I did. So I’ll give you some ways through it that you might be able to get that happening.”

Rik: The third way, though, I always used to do it too. Is I would say, “What’s the gift here that I’m getting?” Because sometimes the best lessons come poorly wrapped. So I’ll say, “What’s the lesson here?” The lesson here is, I’m talking about cash flow. So this is an issue that wasn’t just present yesterday. It was something I wasn’t doing last quarter that didn’t allow me to budget correctly, set the money to flow through now. So what’s the lesson here? I’ve got to get better at the numbers. And if you say, “Well I’m not good at the numbers,” well get good at them. Or get someone who is great at them to counsel you through it.

Rik: So, yeah, I’m very good at this sort of stuff, but not great at the detail. You saw that just before we set up this Skype interview. I have technical people that sort all my technical. I don’t know what money goes in and out of our accounts. All I know is, if you put me in front of someone like this, I should be able to articulate a message of value. Hopefully. But what I’m saying to you is that there are wiser counsels in my sphere, my pit crew, that I can rely on that keeps my vehicle humming. Because they frame me up to do this sort of stuff here.

Kevin: So I think the first thing to do is, if something’s keeping you up late at night, it’s a pebble, it’s not a mountain. Let’s not go making a mountain out of a mole hill. So let’s just jot it down, make sure it’s clear when we wake up that we can see. It’s the first thing we want to tackle when we get up in the morning. Let’s find the solution before the sun sets today, let’s make sure we get this solved right here, right now.

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