As the summer progressed, I felt myself losing some steam—my energy was too low. As I reflect on it now, I was having a few stomach aches along the way. Oddly enough, when I felt some abdominal pain, I would eat more. Sounds backward but I have always tried to eat my way through feeling bad. CeCe laughs at this every time and has been known to call me an idiot for doing so. (Please, no comments. I realize it might not be the best strategy.) So I am rocking along, eating my way through the pain, until my abdominal pain increased to the point that one Sunday evening I found myself curled up on our floor trying to ease the pain. That night I became violently ill. Thinking it was just food poisoning, I worked from home a day and then returned to work. But I knew something was wrong when I still felt weak and experienced the same abdominal pains.
Over the next weekend, CeCe kept urging me to go to the doctor and by Monday morning, I was convinced. After 15 minutes, the doctor told me he was pretty sure I had a gallbladder problem. That afternoon after two tests at the diagnostic center, it was confirmed my gallbladder was only working at about 12% and needed to come out so surgery was scheduled for Friday morning at 6 a.m. At noon on Friday I was like a new person! Immediate relief. Saturday was even better and by Monday, I was full steam ahead. All praise to God as I know my recovery had nothing to do with me.
That feeling of immediate relief really caught my attention, though. I have also experienced this same relief in business. At times, we have had to make hard decisions on team members who have simply stopped working. They refuse to align with the team, or create unwarranted stress or refuse to seek their full potential. And while these decisions are tough, they are usually followed by a renewed energy as you can feel the negative waves leave the firm.
I’ll add that these decisions are never made without ample opportunities to align. This might include ongoing feedback, written plans for better performance, coaching and even probation. The same regret, procrastination and pure dread that I faced in going to the doctor usually accompanies these decisions as well. Experience says we should spend less energy regretting it and more energy doing it right. It’s never pleasant as people’s lives and careers are in the balance. But so is the overall health of our team and we must protect it at all costs. Sometimes parts just stop working and they need to go. Always reflect on and focus on the team’s renewed energy and health to confirm making hard decisions. Relief always comes sooner than expected.