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The Only Business Acronym You'll Ever Need

In ninth grade I went out for the wrestling team. I had been running a few miles a day, doing pushups, situps, etc., in preparation, but the first two practices were absolutely brutal. On the third day I got dizzy during sprints and slowed down. The coach quickly stepped over and said, "What's your problem?"

I gasped, "Kinda dizzy... really hard... need a break..."

He grabbed my shirt, pulled me up so he could look in my eyes, and growled, "Toughen up, sissy boy."

I made it through the rest of the practice even though I wanted to quit. As I trudged home I was still feeling hurt he didn't care how much I was trying and how hard his practices were and how he shouldn't have called me out in front of the team and just how unfair it all really was.

Then it hit me. I really was being a "sissy." Sure, I could whine and complain and feel persecuted all I wanted. I could wish he didn't run such grueling practices. I could wish he would see me as an individual and treat me with the "specialness" I deserved.

I could wish all I liked -- but if I wanted to make the team and become a good wrestler I had no choice. I had to toughen up, physically and mentally. I had to pay the price.

I had to TUSB.

The same thing happens in our professional lives. Sometimes we think our boss is unfair. Sometimes we think our customers are unreasonable. Sometimes we think the demands of our profession or our small business are just too heavy. So we look for answers: New applications, new devices, new software, new processes or systems or approaches... many of us stay on a never-ending search for the magic solution to all our problems.

I've got your magic solution right here: Toughen up, sissy boy.

You chose your career -- stop whining and complaining and wishing and either do what it takes to succeed or get out. You chose your business -- stop complaining about the competition or your employees or your margins and either pay the price required to succeed or sell out.

Sound harsh? It's not. TUSB is actually empowering. When you put the focus on yourself you stop wasting time thinking about what you can't control. You can't control your boss. You can't control your coworkers. You can't control customers or vendors or markets. You can't completely control what anyone does, even if they work for you -- but you can completely control what you do.

Here are a few times to apply TUSB:

  • You complain about your boss. Your boss may be a jerk, but he's not going to change. Stop wishing and work on what you can control. One, you probably don't perform as well as you think. Or a micromanaging boss may need to micromanage you because you don't hit deadlines and follow through. Figure out what is important to your boss and provide it. If you're not willing to adapt, you need to go.
  • You complain about employees. Feel your employees are unskilled, unmotivated, or un-everything? They may be, but that's partly your fault. Train. Coach. Mentor. Drive performance. Leading is your job. Then if they still don't measure up, let them go -- knowing you did everything you could to help them succeed. If you don't want to lead, get out.
  • You complain you work too hard for too little return. Many business owners and employees feel they don't earn what they are "worth." Each of us is only worth what others will pay. If you aren't making enough, find ways to cut costs or increase the value you provide. Find ways to make yourself more valuable to your employer. Or get out. "Deserve" has nothing to do with it.
Take a look at what bothers you. Then adjust your focus inward rather than outward. Don't wait for a magic solution or for someone else to realize they need to change. Neither will happen. The only thing you really control is yourself.

Take control, toughen up, and do what it takes to make your job, your business, and your life better.

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Photo courtesy flickr user kona99, CC 2.0