Over the weekend I went to our local supermarket for our normal weekly shop – but the experience was far from ‘normal’. Once I’d gathered all the things I needed, trolley in tow, I stood, single-file, along with every other shopper, as we were forced to form a single queue in order to pay and exit the store. In an attempt to minimize chaos throughout supermarket, with hundreds of people and trolleys attempting to line up across multiple registers and blocking every aisle, management came up with the single queue as an alternative solution.
That queue ran single-file along the entire length of one side of the supermarket and all along the back of the store. It was incredibly long, and slow to move. As I waited and waited in this incredible queue, I was, at first, a little shocked at the amount of whinging going on. Then, hearing all the negativity and blaming going on around me, my heart had feelings of deep sadness. I wasn’t sad because my normally quick shop became a lot longer, my heart was sad because I could hear, see and feel the panic, negativity and fear occurring in everyday peoples’ lives.
Today, I’d like to share with you 5 of the top lessons I am learning in my life, that when faced with a situation that appears hopeless and I have feelings of helplessness, I can turn to for inspiration and hope.
Everything in the universe has order. There are 4 seasons. Even the coldest of winters turn into the rebirth of spring. Even the hottest of summers turn into commencement of the earth closing itself down in autumn, in readiness for winter. The birth of a new baby, while a joyful experience, has periods of sleepless nights and adaption.
As business owners we all have experienced very difficult times. Periods of extremely tight cashflow, an employee who creates havoc in our workplace, working very long hours and getting pressure from everyone around us – ourselves and our family. We’ve all seen glimmers of light at end of the tunnel, only to find out it’s a train coming the other way.
Working with business owners, I hear language that suggests their belief about the current environment is that it’s going to be the death nell, because it’s adding to and exacerbating the challenges they already face.
Remember, nothing lasts forever. This too shall pass. The universe is calling us to stop, take a deep breath, and trust in its order.
Since the beginning of time, mankind has labelled every situation we face as “good” or “bad”.
When there’s an abundance or work, cash and team harmony, our business is “doing well”. When there’s not “enough” work, cancellation of contracts, toxic employees or poor cashflow, then our business is “not doing so well”.
Having worked with business owners and owning my own business for 17 years, one of the biggest lessons I have learned is that whatever I give my attention and focus to, that’s what I get more of. There is a part of the brain called the reticular activation system (RAS) that causes this to happen.
Here’s how it works. If I’m focusing on the fact I’ve got very little money in the bank, then I’m not focusing on what I need to do to fix the situation and the decisions I am making will come from a place of fear and self-preservation. This means they’re unlikely to be completely rational and certainly not opportunity-focused.
Our focus therefore becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Our “bad” situation becomes even worse.
On the other side of the coin, when there’s plenty of work coming in, we assume that work will continue to come in. So we take our focus off our marketing and lead generation, because we can’t even handle the work that we have. Eventually, the market shifts (as it always does), but your business is not ready to move with it because your focus was elsewhere.
Events are neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’. Events just ‘are’. We are being called to equilibrium. There are as many “positive” things in every situation as there are “negative”. When we label things as “good”, we are not looking for the “negative” side of the situation and so we miss risks. When we are label things as “bad” we are not looking for the “positive” side of the situation and so we miss opportunities.
If you are struggling to find equilibrium in your current situation, reach out to us.
Lesson 3 is very closely related to lesson 2. In so many conversations I’m hearing lots of blaming of God and governments for the current situation. “How could this be allowed to happen?”, “You’re not doing enough”, “The government is going to have to give us more money otherwise we’re going to go broke”.
The reality is that challenging times are an opportunity for you to better your business. Some of the most successful business owners in the world, all, at some point, have actioned this to multiply their wealth. Why? Because, most business owners are focused on the events and are missing the opportunities that are right in front of them.
When things are tight the opportunity is there for us to make changes within our business – to get rid of the “dead wood” within our business, to implement processes to improve the bottlenecks and ensure our focus is on looking after the customers we already have. Most importantly we could review who we are and what we do. What, right now, is our marketplace looking for? What opportunities do we have to meet that need? The opportunity is there for even greater growth than we’ve ever experienced before.
There are no mistakes. The universe is calling us to look out and up rather than in and down. Our businesses are unique and every one of us have an opportunity to use our uniqueness to help our fellow mankind in a greater way than we’ve ever done before.
Right now, I have absolutely no control over what is happening in the world. I do not have the expertise to find a cure for COVID-19. Our governments are doing these things to slow down the spread of this virus and I have no control over what those measures are or will be.
What I can control is making sure I wash my hands very regularly and minimize my personal contact with others (very hard for a natural hugger, by the way).
As business owners, we sometimes put our attention and focus on what we can’t control. I’m hearing business owners say, “What happens if they shut down shopping centers?”, “What happens if my customer cancels a contract?”. Our focus MUST be on what we can control. It may mean that we may need to develop different strategies and have different conversations with our customers. It may mean we need to put greater focus on our team’s productivity.
Control what you have control over. The universe is calling us to think and therefore act differently to how we’ve ever thought and acted before.
Brian Tracy says it best: “Expect the unexpected. Your most valuable ASSET can be your willingness to PERSIST longer than anyone else”.
On January 1, 2020, no-one (that I know anyway) knew that just 2 short months later the world would be in the midst of a pandemic. Our current events appear, to our mind, to have come from left field. I certainly wasn’t expecting this anyway, I’m not sure about you.
As business owners, the greatest skills we need are persistence, determination and grit. I have met many business owners who have that because business teaches us that!! Our current economy is requiring us to dig even deeper.
The universe is calling us to hold on, to keep on keeping on. This too shall pass; all is well; there are no mistakes only opportunities; control what you can.
Right now, it’s easy to think things are hopeless, that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. I assure you, they are far from hopeless.
Challenging? … Absolutely.
Primed for opportunity? … You bet!
For the business owners who take these lessons to heart, anyway. My encouragement to you is to be one of them.
If you’d like to know more about how Kaibizzen and our tailored, 1-to-1 coaching process can support you and your business to flourish in these challenging times, reach out. We’re here to help you achieve the business and the lifestyle you actually went in to business for.
What does it take to actually remove yourself from the day-to-day grind of business? Learn from our panel of Business Owners who've Been There, Done That.