I’m not sure if you noticed, but we have another highly contentious presidential election coming up in 2020. Plus, many of your elected representatives are up for re-election or are facing a challenger for their seat in congress.
With all this chaos, CNN and Fox News have picked their sides and are spinning the news to favor their candidate. They invite pundits on each hosted program who argue about why the other side is evil and their side is good.
You have heard the phrase a million times… “this is the most important election of our lifetimes.”
If that wasn’t enough, you’ll hear family members and friends echo the phrases of the politically partisan to sway others who have fallen prey to the evil side.
It Just Doesn’t Matter!
Now, as a business coach, I’m telling you in no uncertain terms, “It just doesn’t matter!”
Of course, I will vote. I have picked most of the candidates I want to win and plan to vote in person wearing my trusty face mask to avoid harming the voting public.
However, I think you need to do a mental exercise… Ask yourself, “What will happen to my business, if the person I don’t want to win actually wins?”
Truth be told. If my candidate(s) win, they will sign into law some good legislation and some stupid legislation. Some laws will be good for business while other laws will create challenging obstacles. Likewise, if my candidate’s opponent wins, they will advocate for different, but just as onerous laws for my business.
Every election cycle, I hear Republicans say that Democrats ruin the country and life as we know it will cease to exist. I also hear Democrats saying that Republicans will kill grandma, throw poor people into the streets and take all of your money and give it to the rich.
Please avoid these lies. They may help you justify whatever political decision you’ve made… but they will ultimately damage your relationship with family and friends for no good reason.
Climbing the Ladder
As a Core Energy Coach™ I will often have my clients do a Climbing the Ladder Exercise. This exercise helps you walk through multiple different attitudes or perspectives and then pick the one you want. You see, the attitude you have if you’re embroiled in this political fight is a “reaction”. You didn’t choose it, it chose you. You do have the ability to choose your own attitude. And, I guarantee you that the one you choose will suit you much better than the one you’ve been currently using.
What is this Ladder?
There are seven rungs of this energy ladder. The bottom run has the highest amount of “catabolic energy” while the top run has 100% “anabolic energy”.
Catabolic energy will tend to wear you out and burn you out if you live in this space too long. Most of our political discourse is at this level and so it is understandable if you react and want to fight every time you hear someone say something political.
Anabolic energy is harder to use but will eventually build you up. You can use anabolic energy indefinitely as it continues to replenish your physical energy.
Climbing the Ladder.
The way this climbing the ladder exercise works is that I will illustrate what your attitude on this political situation will look like at each rung of the ladder, if the political candidate you don’t want to win… does win.
Here we go!
Level-1 – Victim
Level-1 is called “victim”. It means that everything is against us, and we are not in control of ourselves, our relationships or business ventures. Here’s what a Level-1 attitude will be if your candidate’s opponent wins.
“My candidate never wins. The rest of society is insane and I’m now under their control. My life is ruined. I might as well dump my business as soon as I can, because there is literally no hope.”
Level-2 is called “conflict”. We want to fight at this level. We will criticize anything someone says about politics. The person can even be on our political side. We then pick it apart and argue why our viewpoint is better than theirs. Here’s what a Level-2 attitude will look like if your candidate’s opponent wins.
“I can’t believe he won! Our country must be full of idiots and I need to get ready to resist the newly elected official as much as possible. I won’t admit that man is my president and will resist as much as possible because he is evil.”
Level-3 is called “acceptance” or “responsibility”. At this level, you tend to be complacent about politics or other matters. In fact, the title of this blog post, “It just doesn’t matter!” is a Level-3 attitude. Here’s what it will look like if your candidate’s opponent wins.
“I did my best. I voted, but the other guy won. Not much I can do about that. Oh well, it really doesn’t matter much to my business or my life. All these politicians are basically the same anyway.”
Level-4 is called “compassion”. At this level, people are compassionate to others more than themselves. Compassionate people have difficulty with politics because of the arrows going back and forth. It’s difficult for them to engage without sinking to Level-2 (conflict), if they feel one side is being harmed by the other. Here’s a Level-2 reaction if your candidate’s opponent wins.
“Now that the political race is over, I hope that people can find some common ground and connect on a human level. While this race has been stressful, I just want people to have empathy for each other and love one another.”
Level-5 is called “opportunity”. At Level-5, people look at any event as an opportunity to benefit themselves and others. In political and business terms, Level-5 people immediately look for opportunities to shift their business focus to take advantage of different legislative activity that may result from the newly elected official. Here’s a Level-5 thought when their candidate’s opponent wins.
“I’m glad the election has been decided. Now we execute Plan B to take advantage of the new laws that will most likely be enacted. I’m so excited for the opportunity this presents for my business, my customers and my employees.”
Level-6 is called “synergy”. At Level-6, all things turn out the way they are supposed to. Level-6 thinkers rarely get caught up in political winning or losing. They will be engaged in political causes, but not distinguish between political parties and can often value multiple political sides. Because a Level-6 rarely picks sides, their side never loses. Here’s what their attitude may look like after a political campaign has been decided.
“I can see the political trend of how people are thinking and what is valuable to our society. Our business can adapt to this new movement in order to work with the tide of thought and emotion.”
Level-7 Total Awareness
Level-7 is called “total awareness”. It is a level that is elevated above the fights and the petty arguments. This attitude sees all sides clearly and can create solutions that escape many of the political partisans. If politicians get out of Level-2 long enough, they will hire a Level-7 to help them collaborate and find common ground on critical solutions. Here’s what a Level-7 person may think after an election:
“I see a clear path to solve this complicated problem. If we frame this issue this way, the right will agree to follow this path; and if we frame the issue this other way, the left will be able to follow the same path. It matters not who is in power for this brilliant solution to work.”
Sadly, Level-7’s are often ignored by the political partisans who are too eager to stay and fight.
Picking a Rung of the Ladder
Now that you can see attitudes at each rung of this ladder, you can pick the one you would like to act at. One point of caution. Consider the rung you are currently on and reach for the next rung up the ladder. If you reach too far, you will most likely fall back to the one that you’re most comfortable with. Just like climbing anything, it’s advisable to take one step at a time.
As I wrote this blog post, I remember a time when I didn’t follow this advice. In my defense, it was before I learned how to shift attitudes and mindset. It was 2012, and Barack Obama was leading in the presidential race against Mitt Romney. It seemed obvious that President Obama would win a second term and I was convinced that enforcement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) was eminent. If the ACA went into effect in 2013, I was also convinced that health insurance for my employees would be unaffordable.
I then went into motion in October of 2012 trying to find a buyer for my company, Ennovate Corporation. I found Ameresco who had offered to buy Ennovate in prior years and we agreed to an acquisition deal in December. One of the conditions of my deal was that we close the deal before December 31st, 2012. Why? Because capital gains taxes would rise substantially. The deal ended up closing on February 6th, 2013 for a variety of reasons.
I took over the VP of the Rocky Mountain Region for Ameresco as we merged our two branches together.
If Mitt Romney would have won the election in 2012, I may have held on to my company and felt more confident about the future. As it turned out, the ACA was not as big of a monster as I had made it out to be. The insurance environment would have been a little more costly, but we could have probably easily weathered the increases.
I don’t really know if I would have made a different decision if I had known about Core Energy Coaching™ or the Climbing the Ladder exercise. However, I do know that I would have made my final decision from a place of conscious awareness rather than fear.
This blog post is not a sales pitch to vote for one candidate or the other. However, I am urging you to make the best of whatever decision the voters make; and make the best of that decision for you and your business. And, when things get a little dicey, try to remember the Climbing the Ladder exercise… Who knows? You may agree with me that, “It just doesn’t matter!”
TM - Core Energy CoachingTM and energy principles are founded and developed by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) and its founder, Bruce D. Schneider.
I write a blog post and record a podcast weekly. I write/talk on business advice, small business turn around stories, political interaction with business, business mindset and spiritual intersection with business matters. If you want to get email reminders when I post something new, please sign up.