For centuries, prolonged service at sea resulted in sailors contracting a malady called scurvy. Those so afflicted bruised easily, had joint pain, gum disease, tooth loss — you get the picture.
By the mid-18th century, researchers discovered that eating citrus fruit, like lemons and limes, would prevent scurvy. We now know the active ingredient in this “remedy” is vitamin C in the ascorbic acid found in these fruits. Ascorbic literally means “no scurvy” in Latin.
One of the maladies often found in business owners is a condition I call professional scurvy. This kind doesn’t cause your teeth to fall out, but symptoms do include high levels of negative energy, low levels of performance and an easily bruised ego resulting in an unfortunately high business failure rate.
The good news is, like the seagoing kind, professional scurvy can be cured with vitamin C — actually four kinds of professional vitamin C.
1. Vitamin Courage
Challenges ignored turn into ugly problems that can bruise a business. But facing challenges with courage reduces the negative impact and provides a chance to morph them into opportunities.
Courage is being brave AFTER you’ve had time to think about it. Catch challenges early so you can administer a dose of Vitamin Courage.
2. Vitamin Confidence
Thomas Edison is alleged to have said failure is successfully identifying what doesn’t work. Pure success tends to build ego, which in high concentration can be professionally dangerous. But success alloyed with failure actually builds confidence, which is essential for long-term performance.
Vitamin Confidence in business is nothing more than faith in your ability to sail around present and future challenges, as well as seize opportunities that come your way.
3. Vitamin Character
Contracts are the transactional laws of the marketplace. But like the relationship between captain and crew, it’s character that counts, not legal words or signatures on paper.
Those who demonstrate high levels of Vitamin Character —like doing the right thing even if the contract doesn’t require it — have no difficulty finding customers or crew.
4. Vitamin Credential
This one is critical because courage without skill is the definition of foolhardy; confidence without resources is what Texans call “all hat and no cattle;” and character without knowledge is a well-intentioned commitment that may not be kept.
All the best intentions won’t help you succeed if you don’t acquire Vitamin Credentials — education, skill, experience and resources — that can back up your business plan and commitment to deliver.
Write this on a rock….
Prevent professional scurvy with regular doses Professional Vitamin C.
Jim Blasingame is author of the award-winning book, The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance.