Quit Wishing for “the Good Ole Days”. They’re Gone!

I know this is a little harsh for some. But I want to jolt us from our business sleep and awaken to what’s at stake. Many business owners are going through the motions, hoping deep down inside, that things would go back to the times when they could:

  • Go home at a decent hour
  • Employ people who would just do as they were told AND used their initiative
  • Have business just flow to them like bees to honey
  • Take regular vacations

And the list goes on.

Today’s business climate calls for liberal use of the “F” word. And by that I mean FLEXIBILITY! Stability, safety and wealth entitlement are all business concepts of the past.

Let go!

One of the first steps towards making positive change is first accepting what is. If we continue to live in denial then we can’t solve anything. I love Suze Orman’s line in “The Money Class” – “Learn to “stand in your truth.” Begin with a painfully honest, clear-eyed stocktaking of your personal finances as well as your dreams for the future. This personal accounting, Orman says, provides a critical foundation of honesty on which to build future dreams.

How dishonest have you been? Are you pretending to have more money than you do?

In a Time Business Interview in March 2011 Suze was questioned about her statement “The American Dream is dead.” She said “The American dream transformed over the past few years. It became a dream of bigger, better, newer. How do you buy stuff without any money? It was leverage. It was this American financial fantasyland. We were all trying to keep up with the Joneses. We were all trying to do things that we never should have done. And that American dream turned into the greatest financial nightmare of all time. You can’t get a loan. You can’t get a job. You can’t get credit. So the old American dream really is dead. “Couldn’t we just as easily substitute Trinidadian/Tobagonian dream inside there and still make a valid statement?

By now, anyone who’s paying attention must realize that the global financial situation is not over. Regardless of where you are in the world everyone is being affected. Who knows what the ramifications will be?

Your guess is as good as mine but one thing’s for sure – the minute you embrace your own truth, whatever that is, then start thinking for yourself. Stop Googling looking for the easiest and best ways to do X or Y. Stop looking at what Joseph or Felicia are doing in their business. Become aware of what you’re doing and why and truly begin to understand how you can use what you have. Stop trying to think outside the box. Instead look inside your box and work with what you have. That goes right back to the initial point about standing in your truth. So often we tranquilize ourselves with musings around “things would be better if we had more money or sharper tools in our shed etc.” Rubbish.

Author Jeff Vankooten calls it practicing bricolage. “Bricolage’ is an obscure word in the English language critical for effectively facing turbulent times. It comes from a French verb, meaning “to tinker, or fiddle with”. Bricolage means we make great use of whatever resources we happen to have on hand.

Aren’t we almost always surprised (once we put our minds to it) with how much we can do with a little?

If you want to see changes in your business – begin right where you are. An overeater asked a recovering alcoholic, “Give me the answer so that I can begin.” And he responded “Begin so you can get the answer.” Sometimes we think that our plan is a bad one and so we’re afraid to move until we can be sure that this is THE route we should take.

Instead why don’t we start navigating the plan while remaining open to flexibility and interpretation? Recently on a road trip from LA to San Francisco, I got completely and utterly lost, somehow coming off the scenic Pacific Coast Highway, following some Harley Davidson bikers who I was CERTAIN were heading to Frisco also. Then I saw signs suggesting that I was heading right back to LA!

Did I have a plan? Sure! I had a map (created by professionals I might add who know their stuff!)

Did I get lost because I didn’t follow the map? I must admit here that my map reading skills aren’t that good however in my gut I somehow knew that I was going the wrong way and yet chose to follow the bikers who “looked” like they knew what they were doing. What I should have done was to stop immediately at the nearest service station and ask for directions.

Did I get to San Francisco? Of course!…Eventually

Did I learn anything along the way? Apart from learning to trust my gut more, I found out that Oxnard, where I got lost grows a lot of strawberries in fact it’s called the strawberry capital of California!

My point is that in order to survive we need to learn how to thrive amidst chaos, in it and on it. Remaining open and flexible will allow you to outlast those who choose to remain in fa-la-la-la-la-land!

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