Tag Archive for 'motivation'

Be thankful

Americans punctuate each year with the Thanksgiving holiday as a way of perpetuating a 390-year-old tradition begun by a rag-tag group of our forebears. That first time, in 1621, thanksgiving day wasn’t the proper noun it became. It was just a day set aside by a few dozen humans who risked everything, actually lost most of it, were hard-by to any number of dangers that could cost them the rest, but still felt compelled to be thankful for what they had.

Regardless of where you live on planet Earth, let me leave you with a list of things to think about. This is not my list. When we’ve published it before in this space with attribution to Anonymous, some of my readers have attributed it to Mother (Saint) Theresa, which suits me just fine. I’m thankful I found it and have the ability to pass it along.

Be thankful for the clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means you have enough to eat.

Be thankful for the mess you clean up after a party, because it means you have been surrounded by friends.

Be thankful for the taxes you pay, because it means you’re employed.

Be thankful that your lawn needs mowing and your windows need fixing, because it means you have a home.

Be thankful for your heating bill, because it means you are warm.

Be thankful for the laundry, because it means you have clothes to wear.

Be thankful for the space you find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means you can walk.

Be thankful for the lady who sings off key behind you in church, because it means you can hear.

Be thankful for the alarm that goes off in the early morning, because it means you are alive.

And finally, here is mine: I’m thankful for small business owners — the most courageous and most important modern-day pilgrims I know.

Small business owners have the right stuff

One of my favorite books is The Words Lincoln Lived By, by our good friend and Brain Trust member, Gene Griessman. That’s where I found this Lincoln quote about tenacity:

“I expect to maintain this contest until successful, or till I die, or am conquered, or my term expires, or Congress or the country forsakes me.”

Sound familiar? If you are a small business owner, I bet it sounds very familiar. It might even give you a little chill when you read those 140-year-old words. you know, hearing the essence of your being translated into the spoken word in a way in which you may never have actually spoken it out loud.

As an Army officer I was taught to be responsible for everything my unit did or failed to do. In small buisness, and you’ve heard me say this before, “You turn the lights on, you turn the lights off. Whatever it takes.”

Tenacity. I sure do like that word, and I admire tenacious people. Are you tenacious? The tenacious have the courage of their convictions. Courage, period. Passion. A strong spirit. Maybe even an indomitable spirit.

If you are a small business owner you know how far down inside of you that you have to reach to rise above all of the challenges, train wrecks and surprises that are thrown at you. Sometimes deeper than you knew you could. Testing your mettle. I don’t care what anybody says, astronauts are heroes, but they don’t own the franchise on “the right stuff.” Small business owners have it, too.

I am so proud of you.

What is your prime goal as a small business owner?

What’s your prime directive as a business owner — what is it that you want to accomplish? When you answer that question, then you have to answer an even bigger one: What will you have to do to realize that goal?

The pursuit of our entrepreneurial goals is usually met with resistance on many fronts. Some of the obstacles are fundamental, including: Acquiring enough experience; enough education; enough training; and enough capital.

Then there are the mind-game challenges that are laid on us by others: “That’s not how it’s done.” “That won’t work.” “No one’s ever done that before.” Or, “Why do you think you can do that?” Sadly, sometimes we even tie these millstones around our own necks.

When you feel like your dream is being swept away by strong current in a river of obstacles, here’s a little motivational thought: Swimming upstream can be tough, but remember, even a dead fish can float downstream.

Making fear a motivator, not an immobilizer

Anyone who has contemplated forsaking the perceived, if not real, security of employment to start a small business has come face-to-face with the fear of failure.

Indeed, countless would-be entrepreneurs have discontinued their self-employment pursuits for fear of losing too much—the risk being just too great.

But if you pushed through these concerns and actually became a business owner, you know that this isn’t the last time you’ll experience fear. And time will teach you that fear can actually be a good thing.

Not paralyzing fear — like when you’re ignorant of how to prevent or recover from danger. But rather the kind of fear that motivates you to take the steps to be aware, knowledgeable, capable, prepared, decisive and effective. You know – so you can seek excellence.

Remember these two things about fear: It’s a shape-shifter capable of appearing in many forms. And successful entrepreneurs learn how to recognize and deal with fear it in all of its shapes. Let’s take a look at some of the manifestations of fear, followed by what each one might sound like.

First on the list is the mother of all fear — unremitting, cold sweat, cotton mouth fear in its default entrepreneurial shape: “What if I can’t cut it as an owner?” Meet the others:

Terror: “What if I’m buying the wrong business?”

Fright: “What if I order all of this stuff and no one buys it?”

Panic: “What if my pricing for this bid is too high—or worse—too low?”

Dread: “I hate it when I have to fire an employee.”

Trepidation:  “I need a business loan; what if the bank turns me down?”

Anxiety: “How will I ever be able to compete with the Big Box competitors?”

Shock: “What do you mean our best customer signed a contract with a competitor?”

The best way to minimize—if not eliminate—these fears is through performance. But performance only happens when you use the fear-fighting tools: awareness, knowledge, experience, training, planning, preparedness, decisiveness and execution.

Armed with the fear-fighting tools, fear can become manageable and a productive stimulus that can actually create opportunity. But if you don’t use these tools, the fear you feel is probably well founded and giving you good advice.

The only way to make sure your fear is a motivator and not an immobilizer is through performance. And small business performance only happens when you’re armed with the fear-fighting tools.

Write this on a rock —

Fear-fighting tools help you replace fear with its archenemies: confidence and excellence.

Jim Blasingame is author of the award-winning book, The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance.

Where do your priorities lie?

The following quizzes, and the subsequent paragraph, are attributed to the late Charles Schultz, creator of the comic strip, Peanuts.  I’m passing along his thoughts because I think it’s important that we realize what is really important in life.
Quiz 1:
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade’s World Series winners.
Quiz 2:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
6. Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.
“The applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.  The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones who cared.”
This is Jim again.  As we go through life, let’s make sure our goals and priorities include caring about and serving other people, not just about other things.

Thanks for being part of my community. I’ll see you on the radio and the Internet.

The failure/success connection

Here are three pieces of wisdom which can only come from those who have known failure and from that acquaintance, found success:
In Uncommon Wisdom, my friend, Tom Feltenstein wrote, “When winners fail, they get up and go again. And the very act of getting up is victory”.
Robert Allen, author of Multiple Streams of Income, wrote, “There is no failure, only feedback.”
Paraphrasing Thomas Edison just a little, “Failure is successfully identifying what doesn’t work.”
And since I certainly am no stranger to failure, here is Jim Blasingame’s contribution to understanding its value, “Failure is the harness mate of success, and I expect to be acquainted with both as long as I live.”
You will never enjoy success until you are prepared to risk failure.

Thanks for being part of my community. I’ll see you on the radio and the Internet.



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