I’ve come to learn people don’t think like me. Something tells me that puts me in good company on this page. Afterall we are entrepreneurs for a reason. The problem is all of us must learn how others think or feel in order to help ourselves. Does that make sense?

We also need to own EVERYTHING we can own when it comes to how our way of thinking, believing and behaving is perceived by the rest of the world. In my case, that means saying I’m sorry…A LOT!!!

Last night I posted a long overdue blog titled “The Only Way To Quit A Job” If you didn’t read it, its on my personal FB page as well as, like all my blogs, our website (just search blogs) Anyway, as usual when it comes to my communication much was lost in translation (anyone else suffer from this syndrome?!) One of the ways what I wrote was misperceived was the thought process many, including some people on my own team had regarding the validity of even attempting to resolve a seemingly untenable situation with an employer. Why bother trying to resolve something when you’re burned out and wanting to leave? Furthermore, it’s ridiculous to have to turn in a letter of resignation to get the desired changes you feel you would need to stay. In some cases that my thinking may prove to be correct. In some cases, it may not, though. Nothing wagered, nothing earned in my book. Most people don’t feel that way and simply resign. <sigh>

In every company, I have ever dealt with or even know a little about the top reoccurring issue is either people or sales. Agreed? Aquascape is no exception but the thing that makes Aquascape exceptional is not our products, not our marketing but rather our PEOPLE. The same people that is that are the biggest pain in my a**!!!

Case in point being everyone’s favorite red head Brian Helfrich. How many of you would kill to have a Brian on your team? That is of course if you didn’t kill him first!


Brian started working at Aquascape fresh out of high school. Do I need to go any further?! Ok I will because it’s fun (now!) Brian was ARRESTED on his very first day of work (and it was only a half day at that!!!) I survived Brian and he survived me (jail cells not only keep people in they keep pissed off bosses out too) Hah! Brian has grown into an invaluable member of our team but it took years of grooming and mutual maturation to get to the place we are today.

I love Brian. He’s the kid brother I never had. But I haven’t always showed him the extent I loved and respected him. Why? Because I’m an idiot that’s why. In other words I’m just as human as almost everyone else.

Brian, as most people eventually do, got fed up with what he was doing and in particular how he was being made to feel doing it for Aquascape.

So Brian did what virtually everyone who feels like they’ve had more than they want to handle and he quit. He didn’t just quit though he quit, bought a truck, had business cards printed up and incorporated as a business.

Gut punch!

We’ve ALL been there. We ALL will be there again. It’s what happens when you own a business. It’s what happens when you are an idiot, or just another flawed human trying to figure life out.

My favorite poet, the esteemed Rocky Balboa says it best “It’s not how hard you get hit that matters, it’s how hard you get hit and keep moving forward that counts!”

Brian and I did just that going toe to toe hurling punches and full bore roundhouse swings for an entire weekend! I even pulled in the big guns,Carla Gulisano Wittstock and Ed Beaulieu to trade jabs with Brian. In the end, Brian won. He got a big pay raise and the well-earned respect and admiration he deserved. But I won too. That was 4 years ago and today Brian is performing at a stratospheric level for Aquascape.

Quite literally Brian “Is Da Man”

We’ve all had a Brian or ten that never became a Brian because we burned em out far too early in their development stages. Can you, like me, own that? If you can’t you will never get a Brian or an Ed, a Colleen Heitzleror Jeffrey PaytonScott Rhodes Aquascape or or or… to stay on your TEAM.

But if you can own your own crap the skies the limit for your people and your organization by default.

Most organizations fail because most organizations fail their people. Ouch!

Why it took Brian “leaving” to get what he deserved out of me was obvious in retrospect. While Brian was performing miracles by growing construction sales and profits year over year, Aquascape was hemorrhaging cash as our manufacturing and supply business was drying up with the rest of the economy.

Brian’s performance was the least of my concerns right up until he chose to leave. Immediately upon Brian’s “resignation” he became my highest concern!

What’s my point with all of this? It’s of course that I love Brian! But I did a piss poor job, as I so often do, of showing it. I suspect in that regard you and I might be the same.

Can you own that? If not, you might be getting a resignation letter from your “Brian’s. Unless they do the near- impossible…and talk to you first!

With love,

The Pond Idiot