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Thought Leadership

Entrepreneurs wear many hats and encounter different problems and challenges on a daily basis. In order to navigate your way through the conflicts and understand how to respond, you’ve got to identify the root cause of the problem.

The root cause is the core issue that sets in motion the pattern of behavior that ultimately ends in your reaction to a situation. 

Do you know how to identify your root causes? Do you let your annoyances and pet peeves go and always keep an open mind? Do you leave your emotions and baggage at the door and make the best decisions every time? 

For most entrepreneurs, the answer would be no. You probably try your best, and even handle most situations well most of the time. But we all have past experiences that make us who we are and influence how we feel and how we react. 

In order to set the best example possible and manage your own personal stress and happiness, you must understand where your behavior patterns are coming from. You need to know your story.

Understanding your story

John Drury of Drury Keen Insights developed the chart below that illustrates how our thoughts and experiences impact our emotions and behaviors.

All humans are born with a clean slate of our own genetic makeup that Drury refers to as our “hardware.” From the time we are born until around age 20, we adopt the fears, beliefs, and values of whoever raised us. 

Between the ages of 20 and 50, we begin to test those fears, beliefs and values. As we encounter emotional wounds, we sometimes have self-sabotaging conversations with ourselves. These become our unconscious commitments, and we begin to see the world through that lens. These layers make up our “software.” 

By age 50, we’ve had enough experience to confidently identify our own set of thoughts, beliefs and fears. Our brains are wired more evenly: 50% hardware and 50% software. We understand our unconscious commitments that drive our emotions and behaviors. We have identified the root causes of our behavior, recognized the pattern, and realize how to better respond in situations. 

How does this model apply to entrepreneurs?

Entrepreneurs encounter people from a wide variety of audiences on a daily basis. You deal with employees, customers, vendors, spouses, a landlord, or maybe even a difficult business owner. Sometimes taxing situations with these audiences elicit a strong reaction of anger, resentment, or stress rooted in ancient history or past childhood issues.

If you can recognize the reason behind your emotions, you will handle difficult situations with a better perspective.

Here are two examples:

Example #1:

A business owner that values punctuality becomes offended and upset when a client is habitually late to meetings. Because of past experiences, the business owner associates being on time with respect, validation and love.  The client, growing up with a different set of values and beliefs, unconsciously views tardiness as a way of seeking attention. As a child, being late was the only way the client was able to get his parents’ attention, both positive and negative, so it became ingrained in who he is today. Once the business owner understands the root cause of his own emotions, he will recognize that the client is not intentionally showing disrespect, and will not feel so upset and offended. And if made aware of how his actions affect the business owner, the client may or may not try to be on time in the future and preserve his working relationship with the business owner.

Example #2:

A business owner is frugal with his money because he grew up on a farm and his family never had a steady income to rely on from one year to the next. Now supporting a family of his own, the business owner is always saving for a crisis, and reluctant to spend money on his business. His business partner, who grew up in a family that maxed out credit cards and had a lot of debt, is frustrated that every purchase for the business is a time-consuming justification. He thinks the business owner is difficult, cheap and stubborn. Once these partners understand the root causes of their behaviors as well as each other’s, they can react to each other in more productive and constructive ways.

Moving forward in your story and your business

Your experiences and influences have shaped you into who you are today. You are the leader of your business and it’s your responsibility to manage your reactions and yourself. The sooner you can understand the model, the better you will able to process through your challenging situations and react in the best way possible.

How has understanding your story helped you in business? Share with us on Facebook and Instagram!