Nobody ever told me I’d have to do this!

I won’t even tell the stories that precipitated this piece. They’re too gross. Or too disturbing. Destined to turn away prospective parents everywhere. But if you’ve faced one of these situations, believe me, you know what I’m talking about.

And yes, you’ll face equally horrifying events in your business life. Think sales tax audit. Employee harassment claim. Layoff.

When you’re starting out in business you don’t think about those worst case scenarios and it’s a good thing. If you knew half the stuff that could go wrong you’d never go into business. But you’re here. And there’s a mess. And someone has to clean it up.

Consider these possibilities as you ponder how to proceed:

  •  It’s an accident. The people, places or things that caused the situation were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Let it go. Clean it up and move on.
  • It’s caused by incompetence. Good! You know! There’s a remedy for incompetence. Teach the guilty party how to take care of the situation correctly. If they can’t, consider your other options.
  • It was avoidable. Another opportunity for education. Many of us are so caught up in the day-to-day we don’t take the time to assess risk. Assessing risk upfront is a good way to head off foreseeable disasters.

Throughout my life as a parent I’ve found those once-in-a-lifetime gross-outs to be character building – in retrospect. After all, if you can fix them you can fix anything!

Have a character building story about your business? Send it to If I use it I’ll feature your business.