The topic of letting go is universal across all business and family and relationships. Have you ever heard the rope metaphor in parenting? We use this with our kids. "Hey son, I'm giving you a rope. In the beginning, it's very short so I can pull you back in quick. As you take responsibility and ownership and make good decisions, I will give you more rope or trust. When you make poor decisions that put yourself or others in harm, I take away some rope. When you blame others and shirk responsibility, I take away some rope. My goal is to eventually give you the rope so you can pull me whenever you need me." As I just read this, I get a little emotional as my oldest son is 18 now and is close to getting his rope. This concept of the rope has helped us raise our kids and I fully believe it helps with our employees as well. In "You Must Let Go of Your Control", I shared the breakthroughs that allowed me to emotionally let go of perfectionism and control. It was a therapy session for me. I have a follow-up episode to further help you breakthrough your deep, dark emotional control over your business.
I solo cleaned for 16 years. I was my business and my business was me. If I got a new customer or made one happy, it made me feel great and raised my confidence. If I lost a customer or broke something, I took it personally. I was an emotional yo-yo at times. Can you relate? My business rises and falls on my effort, performance, and abilities. Therefore, I needed to control every aspect of my business. I also profited over 85% from the revenue my business created, so obviously more control equaled more money! Do you see the danger in the solo mindset that I had? I believe this is a cause for many solos struggling with perfectionism. At this time in our entrepreneurial journey, I couldn't conceive of a company where others would clean and I'd manage or even step away. Why not? Here's my therapy session, part 2. I used to work for GE, which was at the time one of the 5 most admired companies in the world with over 300,000 global employees. Thomas Edison wasn't running the business. He was dead. Yet his creation outlasted his life. I worked for an entity (GE) and earned an income based on my contribution to that entity. If GE had a bad year, I didn't get upset as I was just a small piece in a large machine. But I also knew that if I messed up, I'd be out! GE had a high-performance culture and my mess up would impact my contribution to the entity. I did, in fact, mess up and was fired in 2005. I've already covered that story. GE's culture created a need to do perfect because I was fearful of making a negative contribution and losing my job. I was unable to trust others and preferred to do every aspect of the engineering job myself as only I could do it right. I brought this into solo cleaning in 2005 and it remained until last year.
As I shared in my previous episode, I had breakthroughs which showed me that I didn't have to be perfect. I didn't have to see it every time. I could trust others. I could give some rope to those that I hired and shared my core values. I did it as a parent. I could do it as an entrepreneur. That's the only reason we were able to go to Florida last year and it's the only reason we are back in Florida for the month right now! I had to stop viewing the cleaning business as mine, where every little thing that I did helped or hurt my income and stability. I had to make the mental shift to see C3 as a separate business entity apart from Ken Carfagno. The business is not me and I am not the business. I had to realize that I would be compensated upon my contribution to the entity (like GE). How could I contribute best? It's not as a cleaner. C3 is limited to 20 customers that way. My greatest contribution was as a leader. I needed to create a vision, mission, and set of values that would attract high-caliber professionals to help me grow the entity. I saw the vision that every single office we cleaned typically had 30 employees reporting to their desks on Monday morning and I wanted to put a smile on their face. I saw the vision that C3 was already putting smiles on the faces of over 400 employees in my area and I wanted to reach 1,000! I needed other amazing leaders to help me do that. They, in turn, would be compensated to the contribution that they each made to the entity of C3. I set my mind to achieve this vision.
As the year closed, I looked at my numbers and was astounded. I knew that I wasn't a solo cleaner anymore and keeping 85%. I was part of a team helping C3 impact the community. Our team members were earning around 35% of the revenues from the buildings they cleaned while I was earning less than 30%. This showed me that I am not the most important person in C3. We all are as a team. I can't control other people. I need to find amazing people that take ownership and trust them with more rope. Surely, I pull it back when they lose trust and surely, I give it away when they earn it. When a team member gets the rope all together and becomes a leader, they would pull me when I'm needed and we would make the maximum level of contribution. This is how a team can all benefit from each other. I can't win without great team members and my team members can't win without a great leader running the company. Thus, it's time for me to level-up and become a stronger leader. It's time for me to contribute more to C3. As I do, our family will earn more than we could have ever imagined. One day, it's possible that C3 could outlive me as GE outlived Mr. Edison.
That was an important follow-up episode to help you deal with perfectionism and control. Do you have any questions or struggle with this? Book a free coaching call on the Smart Cleaning School website at www.smartcleaningschool.com to talk about it! You can also check out the many free & paid resources available on the website as well. I look forward to helping you!
"Helping cleaning professionals make the impact they were meant to make."