Euan McGlashan | Crain's Atlanta

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Euan McGlashan

Background:  

Euan McGlashan has worked in the hotel business for more than 30 years. He founded Atlanta-based Valor Hospitality Partners, a hotel management, acquisition and development company, in 2012. Valor manages 17 hotels in the U.K. and 15 in the U.S., including Hotel Indigo Atlanta - Vinings. In 2014, McGlashan and his two best friends founded sister company PMR Hospitality Partners, which manages eight hotels in South Africa, where he used to live. McGlashan first became self-employed in 2010.

The Mistake:

Unfortunately, I learned the hard way about stress. I’m in difficult situations all the time. We’re developing hotels. We deal with tough clients. I used to stress a lot. Especially when you go self-employed, if someone doesn’t call you or email you back right away, you worry that you made them angry.

I was horrible at dealing with stress. I was always stressing about futures and outcomes and never being in the present. I probably missed out on many years because I wasn’t living in the present. It really does have a negative impact on your health as well.

I always say, stress is being here while you want to be over there. Things like unease, anxiety and stress are all effectively forms of fear. That’s caused by being too much in the future and not enough in the present. It’s amazing how if you stay in the present, a lot of the fears can dissipate.

You make good, clear decisions when you’re in the present.

The Lesson:

I had a lot of mind-created fear—upsetting a client, a presentation. The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the last 10 years is to live in the now. There’s no point of thinking too long on the future because it’ll come soon enough. I’ve really tried hard to do that. When you focus on the present, it’s amazing how much more productive you become as a leader. Stress is something that every leader is faced with and everyone needs to deal with.

I always get emotionally connected to projects. When you think of the future, your mind usually makes a negative. I think that’s been one of my biggest learnings in how to manage my stress.

You make good, clear decisions when you’re in the present. You don’t overthink it. That’s where I think I’ve got a lot more clarity now. I go into meetings with a clear head because I haven’t been obsessing about it for hours. You end up staying a lot calmer. You also have the ability to help your clients better because you’ll push back on them when they need it. That’s part of what they’re hiring you for.

We work in a really tough environment where we’re working with a lot of big, private equity. They’re very black and white. It’s very number-driven, and they can be very tough. In the past, I was obsessed with futures and outcomes, so I was too soft. Now, even though I’m a service provider, I’ve learned to put my foot down and stand my ground. When you’re saying yes all the time and you don’t have the ability to say no, you can get yourself in trouble. You’ll say yes to things that were never going to have good outcomes.

Follow Valor Hospitality on Twitter at @ValorHotels.

Photo courtesy of Euan McGlashan

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