Work hard, Play hard

Do you remember my friend?
My friend with the 50 euro note attached to his coffee machine in his cafe? ( see previous blog) He had pursued his big dream: a cafe in the main square in his neighborhood. Two years later I spoke to Simon again. I saw his empty terrace. A single person at the bar. What happened? Simon doesn’t know. As from the moment he started the cafe he had worked hard to make it a success.

He had worked day and night. The first summer had been fantastic. The terrace had been packed all day and people loved to pay him a visit, for a coffee, a drink and to chat a bit.  In the months following that summer, things continued the same way. His turnover was far above expectations.

Since then things have changed and everything has gone down. The terrace remains practically empty. Even the regulars just come sporadically.  The turnover is dropping radically and if this continues Simon will soon be forced to stop his activities. Poof, a dream gone!

Simon sighs deep when he shares his story.
Although he would love to turn the tides, he can’t. He tried everything. Coupons. Discounts. Extended opening hours. Reduced opening hours. Another menu. Different music. Hosting weddings and other festivities. Even karaoke, something he does not even like.

Simon states he would like to investigate what he could do to improve his situation.  
He is acquainted with (systemic) organisation constellations and tells me he would like to use this methodology. That is possible of course and I invite him for the next constellation gathering in which he can portray and examine his situation and test some solutions.

Here is a short version of the constellation:
That evening we come together in a group of 10 people.
First, from this group First Simon chooses the representatives for his company, the clients and himself.

One by one he places the persons in the room where we are. When all three persons are placed he joins me. This way, Simon has the opportunity to look at his situation from a distance. I invite him to walk around a bit, to have a look from all angles. What does he see?

What Simon notices:
‘The client’ stands somewhat disappointed on the sideline and takes a step backwards. ‘Himself’ looks exhausted, his eyes strictly focussed on the ‘cafe’.  ’The cafe‘ staggers and feels very uncomfortable with the staring of ‘Simon’. ‘The client’ states that she doesn’t know what to think of ‘Simon’. In the early days you were available for a chat, these days the only thing I see is you in a hurry. You don’t see me. I don’t feel seen and appreciated. You don’t have time for me, she continues.

For Simon it’s hard to see and hear this but he acknowledges that this is the situation.
Since he opened the doors of the cafe, the only thing he had done was slogging. He acknowledges that he became more and more exhausted. Out of fear the success would slip away he worked harder and harder to keep the success up. That this is counterproductive, well, that’s something you don’t have to tell Simon today.

Simon understands that through his actions he turned his back on his clients, literally.  The numbers controlled his mind.

The key to his success:
When we continue with the constellation we add a representative for ‘the key of success’. This seemed to be ‘having time off’. Real time off. To sleep. To loaf around. To play, as the corresponding representative told us. To take good care of himself. With the result Simon relaxes. Allowing his fun and creativity, sociability to come back. 

The test:
The introduction of ‘time off’ has the result that ‘Simon’ is capable to turn around and to have attention for his clients again. Attention for that part of the company that he likes the most and what he does best. The representative for the company blooms, happy to be able to breathe again. ‘The client’ takes a step forward, happy Simon is back.  

When Simon sees this, he feels emotional.  He realizes that hard work is good, but there also has to be a equal part of play time  That  it is good to have a balance between work and relaxation.  The harder he works, the harder he should play.   

And this, allowed him to have some free time, to have time to disconnect from his cafe, that he had forgotten.

At the end of the constellation Simon switches places with his representative and experiences the impact of that insight. He notices it gives a boost of energy.  He feels happy and that moment he commits to allowing himself to have some time to relax from time to time. To be able to do that it became obvious that he should outsource the accounting.

In addition he made some resolutions to keep his head fresh, his body healthy and his level of energy up.

  • Eat good and healthy food  
  • Exercise
  • Time out regularly  and do nothing  
  • Stay social
  • Enjoy the small things in life
  • Do something you truly enjoy doing

Simon can use all the help he can get. What tip could you add to this list?

NB. A constellation is a complex process to explain. To understand how it works it is best to experience one. People who’ve just experienced a constellation ask no questions about how it works. They are too occupied with a new sense of spaciousness and resolution around the issue or question they had previously struggled with.   

Would you like to experience the phenomena of constellations?
st of June 2019 I will conduct a special event on this tool in Luxembourg.

There are limited tickets available.
Please book your ticket via this link.