I Know I Live in Hell, but…

John Ellsworth Success Strategies

I recently finished reading a book by Dr. Henry Cloud entitled Necessary Endings that included a quote from one of his patients who stated, “I know I live in Hell, but I know the names of all the streets.” That quote really caught my attention and reminded me to make some positive changes in my own company. Do you find yourself facing similar situations in your business? You know – you really aren’t pleased with the way things are going, but at least you “know the names of all the streets.” In other words, it’s not perfect but it’s comfortable.

What Dr. Cloud is offering us is an opportunity to “Confront our Business Future.” Now, I realize that the last four years have been difficult in the dairy industry, but, as a result, it’s more crucial than ever to focus and refine your operations.

Dr. Cloud discusses at length a process called “pruning.” He explained that all successful pruning begins with defining the standard you are pruning toward. If you don’t establish these standards, you risk two items: a.) continuing on items that you should be “pruning.” – or, just as bad, – b.) pruning items that actually help your business without realizing it. Thus, define your standard, whether it’s with employees, various cost controls or even minimum revenue levels.

In our present age of “political correctness” and where everyone gets a “trophy just for participating,” this concept might be less than popular. However, he added that we need to make endings a normal occurrence, rather than seeing them as a problem. Are there any areas of your business where you are being unreasonably stressed? Are you facing a cost area that seems daunting? Is there a vendor who acts as though he’s doing you a favor by providing you with his product? How about a difficult employee? Is he or she a constant whiner and/or hurting your Team’s morale?

Sometimes we just need to make a change. Naturally, none of us enjoys these types of changes, but as Dr. Cloud points out, we need to tell the recipient, “I’m not doing this to you. I’m making this change for me.”

What changes do you need to make in your business? You owe it to yourself, your employees and your results to implement these changes. I cannot tell you today exactly what they are in your business, but once you decide, don’t hesitate or stop from making the change, because, in the famous words of statesman Winston Churchill, “When you’re going through hell, just keep on going!” Please note he did not say to stay around long enough to learn the street names. I wish you the very best in identifying your Necessary Endings!


John Ellsworth of Success Strategies offers financial consulting to dairy and farming enterprises across the U.S.  He may be contacted by email at [email protected] or by phone 209.988.8960.  More information is available at www.success-strategies.com