12 Bullshit Lies You Tell Yourself That Hold Your Restaurant Hostage ​

I’m sure that catchy title got your attention! You might be saying to yourself right now:
 
Bullshit lies? Who me?
 
Yes, you!
 
Now don’t take it too personally because we all lie to ourselves from time to time. Yes, even I’ve done it too so welcome to the club! When you admit it and don’t let it control you, you can finally do something about it and that’s exactly why you and I are here! I’m not going to give you a pass on your bullshit, I’m here to help you deal with your bullshit. What’s amazing is that in only one paragraph I have been able to say the word bullshit now 5 times (including the title)! Boom!
 
Hold onto something because this is going to get a little rough.
 
You and I are similar in the sense that we have been telling ourselves lies for years. I know I did and if you’re honest with yourself, you know you have as well. The first thing to do is to admit it. The second thing to do is forgive yourself. The third thing to do is stop it.
 
If you read my books and blogs you’ve most likely heard me say this before (if you are one of my private restaurant coaching clients you hear this a lot!)...awareness precedes choice and choice precedes change. You first must be aware of it in order to change it! It only takes one letter to go from chance to change!
 
 
Lie #1: I don’t have time.
 
Did you know that 26% of people think they don’t have enough time.
 
What happened?
 
Did someone take your time?
 
No! You have the same 24 hours as everyone else in the world. So what’s the logic behind this lie? You don’t want to admit that you don’t manage your time effectively. That’s the real issue here. You went on a time shopping spree just giving it out like lollipops at the bank and now you have none left for the important things.
 
Stop wasting time by throwing it away at things that do not move your life or your restaurant forward! You are usually caught up in one or two of the four dimensions of time: mostly either distraction or demand. You’re avoiding the tough stuff and doing the easy things that require very little energy (distraction). Or you’re saying yes to everyone about everything and you are running around at the demand (command) of others. There is nothing wrong with doing things for others as long as you also block of time for yourself. Psychologists call this having “healthy boundaries.” Some call this “growing a pair.” You must always save time to move YOUR life forward while helping others.
 
This starts with understanding that time is not money. Money is money. You can always make more money. Sorry to break the bad news to you, however you cannot stretch 24 hours into 25.
 
 
Lie #2: There are no good people out there to hire.
 
If this lie were true than no restaurants would exist. There are amazing people out there working in restaurants every single day. It might be that you’ve become a little jaded dealing with some of the less than desirable employees. Okay, here comes the gut punch: you hired them!
 
Poor hiring decisions are the number one cause of having bad staff on your team. Desperation does not mean you lower your standards to fill a slot on the schedule! This is commonly referred to as “panic hiring” and it causes more problems than you think.
 
Not only do you allow a toxic and poor performer into your culture, you allow them to spread their negativity and infect the others on your team. A virus doesn’t kill you at first. It slowly infiltrates the system and then depletes the healthy cells. What it leaves behind is a hollow shell of what was once great!
 
The best defense is to have high standards for who is a great match for your culture. Know your core values and ask new candidates what values they have. Stop hiring for experience and instead focus more on personality. You can train skills (if they are trainable and coachable), you cannot change personality easily (even though most think they can).
 
Lie #3: I can’t do that.
 
Okay, this is a lie you say when you should be really saying, “I won’t do that.” It’s always better just to be honest. If you don’t want to do something, please don’t say yes and then do a half ass job! That is probably the greatest sin out there....succumbing to mediocre performance due to poor commitment.
 
Can’t and won’t say something under the surface that you might not realize. Can’t says it’s not in your control or power. Won’t says it goes against your core values and moral compass. Which one would a confident person use? I won’t, always tips the power scale in your favor. You stood up for something you believe in. The world needs more people that are willing to stand up for what they believe in.
 
Lie #4: I’m working hard.
 
Why is it that we think hard work is what life is all about? Here is big truth bomb coming your way: you are not rewarded for hard work, you are rewards for results.
 
Hey, if you are working long hours for extended periods of time you are either in one of two spots:
 
1. You suck at time management.
And/Or
2. You suck at hiring, training, and leading people.
 
I get it that working long hours is required for start up restaurants or taking over a new team. If it’s a year down the road and you are still working crazy hours then you my friend are addicted to the drama and you need an intervention!
 
Basically your self worth had become dependent on how much your team needs you. Your job should always be to replace yourself. Remember that if you can’t be replaced, you can’t be promoted. That also holds true for restaurant brands that want to expand to multiple locations. Running one to two restaurants is fairly easy. Once you get past three you cannot run that many restaurants with the same mindset that you did when you were smaller.
 
I don’t care if you work 80 hours a week or 40! It all comes down to these questions:
 
Are you getting results?
Are you growing yourself?
Are you growing your brand?
Are you growing your team?
 
The number of hours you put in or the whining that you work so hard is just a cry for attention. Stop it. Drama is great for movies and bad for restaurants! The drama starts and stops with the leader of the restaurant. What you tolerate you get!
 
Don’t tell me how hard you work. Tell me what the hell you got done this week to move your life and your restaurant forward? Until you can be honest with yourself, you are just wasting time looking for attention. Losers want attention. Winners want results!
 
 
Lie #5: It is what it is.
 
The saying, “It is what it is.” is such bullshit. It’s exactly what you accept it to be. If you’re fine with mediocrity then just admit it, just don’t give it an excuse that “it is what it is.”
 
I always say that if you want a better life or restaurant then you just ask better quality questions! It is what it is, is such a cop out that drifts straight towards mediocrity.
 
What are you going to do about it?
What are you prepared to do to change shit?
What the fuck do you want from this?
What is your outcome?
 
Answer those questions the next time you reach for that easy out of “it is what it is” and you’ll see you life dramatically change for the better.
 
Remember that excuses beget excuses.
 
Lie #6: That won’t happen to me.
 
Denial is a powerful drug. Probably more than all opioids combined. Why? Because it robs you of a better future. Denial steals away your opportunity to improve. It leaves you in a state called learned helplessness. You’re just there thinking that it won’t happen to you.
 
 
A lot of restaurants are going to close this year and that is a fact of the economy. Don’t say it can’t happen to you. You are a business like any other and they all have a risk of going out of business! Markets change rapidly sometimes. If you are in denial that it won’t happen to you...it’s actually a pretty good bet that it WILL happen to you!
 
Denial is usually followed around by it’s cousin called Foolish Pride. The next to visit is called Failure. I’m sure that the dozen or so restaurants that closed last month never thought it would happen to them too. Many probably could have been saved if they would have asked for help.
 
I run into a restaurant in trouble way more than I do ones that are actually performing at their potential. This is a sad situation that used to really bother me. Why would someone who is running their restaurant into the ground not reach out and grab the life preserver being offered to them? That damn foolish pride they have. They would rather go down with the sinking ship.
 
I can’t help a restaurant unless they are willing to do three things:
 
1. You must listen. I usually start this conversation with the question, “Do you know the difference between advice and opinion?”. Everyone has an opinion about how to run your restaurant. Advice is from a professional who has been there and is pretty much telling you this is the course of action you must take now. I only give advice.
 
2. You must take action. Your lack of taking action and getting the right things done is what got you in this situation. When I give you a deadline, you better have a real fucking awesome reason why you didn’t get it done or we won’t be working together much longer. I am hired to get you the restaurant and life you want! You can be mediocre without me.
 
3. You must be patient. It took you some time to get into this mess you are in and it takes about half of that amount of time to get you rewired for success. So if you’ve been running amuck for two years, expect at least a year to get your shit together. Oh, and that’s if you follow rule one and two above.
 
A lot of restaurants come to me asking for coaching. They say they want to change. They say they want to maximize profits. They say they want to dominate their market. They say they want a business that doesn’t consume their personal life. So, they start my program. Within a month most have some bullshit excuse why they need to stop.
 
Be sure you want it, because I am dedicated to getting it for you, but you’re going to need to put in the work. I will work as hard as you for your brand. I won’t work harder than you for your brand. Show me you want it, and I’ll give it to you.
 
Lie #7: I can change that person.
 
Here comes another lie that is disguised in the shape of denial. Consider for a moment how hard it is to just change yourself and you’ll finally see what little chance you have of changing other people.
 
 
Here’s the other thing about this that you might not realize...most people are comfortable with where they are! The comfort zone is full of lazy and uninspired people who are more like zombies living a life of mediocrity. Granted they complain all the time and point fingers at who is to blame for the shit life they have (they never point the blame at themselves by the way). Yet, they don’t do anything to improve their situation. Here’s some harsh reality: if you don’t care enough to change your life. It will never happen. So, thinking that you are going to change someone else who doesn’t want to change is like saying you are going to turn day into night just because you think it would be better for the day. It’s not going to happen.
 
Before you go on a crusade to change someone, you need to ask yourself if they want to be changed?
 
If you truly want to have impact on the people around you, then change yourself first. Be the example and set the standard. People are more likely to change when they see someone who inspires them. All improvement starts with self-improvement.
 
Lie #8: I don’t judge people.
 
Please excuse me while I clear my throat...bullshit!
 
You, me and everyone else in the world does judge people to some extent. I don’t care how holy or self righteous you think you are. We all at our fundamental core are hypocrites. We wear a mask of who we want the world to see. We pretend that we’re great when inside we suffer. We smile when we want to scream to the heavens. We laugh when we really want to cry. I’ve done it too so don’t think you’re alone.
 
Breaking free from this is when you decide you have nothing to prove to others. You only need to be honest and true to yourself. That starts with a little core value called integrity. You see, once we sell out our moral compass it’s easy to be swayed into more compromise. It’s easier to lie and deceive yourself. That voice in your head talking shit is just keeping you from being authentic. It’s suppression of your soul.
 
 
Why do we judge others? It’s quite simple: our ego, greed, and envy control us. They make us jealous and judgmental of others. We fear and throw shade at the things that we feel threaten us. Fear is the mind killer. It preys on that weak part of your subconscious that is always looking to protect you from...well, everything! You can thank our primal ancestors for that. Granted it served the human race for millions of years and it keep us safe from predators that wanted to have us for dinner. Now, it tend to be stopping most from getting the restaurant and life they desire.
 
Let’s be clear on something: danger is real, fear is a choice.
 
Lie #9: I’ll do it tomorrow.
 
The fallacy of foresight! We always believe that the promise of tomorrow is going to save us. Well, what if tomorrow doesn’t come? Ever think about that? Most likely you don’t think about it too often (or until someone you know passes away unexpectedly). That mortality thing is a real bitch. Let me tell you from first hand experience that death will come for you one day. Maybe, if you’re really lucky you might get another chance at life (like I did when I had a cardiac arrest in September 2018).
 
Death changes your outlook pretty dramatically and very quickly. I realized that there was a lot of things I had still to do and I wanted to leave a dent in the industry (Yes, I said a dent! Everyone wants to have an impact! How average is that?). Getting a second chance was a harsh wake up call for me. I would offer this up as a wake up call to you as well before your time is up. Whatever you want to do, make a plan and fucking do it! Do it now!
 
Get your calendar out and start to schedule as much as you can for each day. You must start living each day knowing that the clock is ticking and you do not get unlimited time. Time is the one thing in the entire universe that doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care where you live, what religion you are, what race you are...it keeps ticking away. We all have the same 24 hours each day. The difference between those that get the life they want is how they use those 24 hours. Are you investing them to become better or wasting them in distraction doing activities that do not have any return on your investment? Stop playing small and stop wasting time. Trust me that you don’t have any to spare.
 
 
Lie #10: If I can just get (insert anything), then I’ll be happy.
 
The quest for material things are driven by the ego. Take it from a guy who has had the good things in life that they don’t make you happy for very long. Sure, the high end sports car is fun to drive until it has maintenance issues. They pool in the backyard will impress your friends until you have to clean up the puke from the party. The supermodel looking partner is fun until you try to have an intelligent conversation with them.
 
Stop chasing after things that don’t contribute to long term happiness. What does? Becoming a better human being! Start being compassionate. Teach or mentor someone. Volunteer at a food bank. Donate some of those clothes you are never going to wear again to a shelter. Spend some time out in nature just appreciating how amazing the world is. Share a sunset or watch the stars with someone you love.
 
I’m not saying become a monk and forsaken all material possessions. I’m saying don’t make them the end all, be all thing you think will make you happy. Start being happy now.
 
Here’s a little secret to success: be happy with who you are. Love what you do. Make it your mission to serve others and improve their lives and you will find the money and the rewards come to you. We chase the wrong things. Stop chasing the stuff and start filling your heart with service to others.
 
Lie #11: I’m just not lucky.
 
Here’s the thing about the universe and energy...once you declare it, the universe works to make sure you get it! Call it a self fulfilling prophecy. You truly get what you focus on.
 
If you say you are not lucky, we’ll guess what? You will find that Lady Luck tends to stay away from you. Say you suck at love and your love life will suck. Declare that your staff is a bunch of idiots and you’ll see you are surrounded by them. The words you use on a regular basis (habit) become the experience you speak of.
 
Now, this doesn’t mean that if you start saying positive things tomorrow that all is going to be right with your world in a few days. You’re going to have to back your words up with a little thing called belief. You can say it all you want, if you don’t believe it deep down inside, then it won’t materialize.
 
If you declare it, share it, believe it, and take action towards it, then I can say with confidence that you will most likely get it. I have been down this road many times and unlike the bullshit propagated in the hot book The Secret, you just can’t wish it to happen. You are going to need to move towards it too!
 
Watch the words and things you say because they form your reality. #truestory
 
Lie #12: If I want anything done right, I have to do it myself.
 
Whoa is me! You poor thing, doing all the work. Let’s clear the air on this major bullshit. You don’t trust your team and refuse to give up control. That is why you do most of the work! You have turned your team into a bunch of dependent workers who are afraid of their shadow because you didn’t train them or allowed them to make mistakes.
 
Please don’t give me the perfectionist crap either. You're not a perfectionist, you’re just a weak leader that is so in denial that you can’t help anyone let alone yourself. Need creates more need. When you have a team that is not empowered to make mistakes and learn you have a crew that just hovers at mediocrity. They never get better. They never search for growth. You’re just stuck with them in a perpetual Groundhog Day living the same day over and over again.
 
Stop treating your team like they are incompetent. They’re not. You keep them held down in learned helplessness and then whine and complain about all the work you do. Stop it because honestly no one cares how many hours you put in or how hard you say you work. You are committing the biggest lie of all...you are lying to yourself.
 
 
Without trust, relationships die. Without mistakes, there is no growth. Without opportunity, people leave. Stop trying to carry the entire restaurant on your back. Share some of the responsibilities. Share some of the tasks that you are not really good at. Share some of the glory. Create a culture where it’s more “we” than “me.” You don’t have to do it all yourself unless you choose to. Remember that you always have a choice.
 
Now maybe you’ll reflect on this list and finally take some actions to change yourself. If, you read this far, my prediction would be that you will start to make some changes. Here’s the thing, be easy on yourself and give yourself a little break. By showing up everyday with a new attitude you will start to see some changes. It’s not the big bold changes that have the deepest impact on your life. It’s the small everyday consistent changes that do.
 
Start small. Be steady. Make a commitment. Stay the course. Adjust your habits to get the results you want. Become obsessed with becoming a better version of yourself.

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