As I take inventory of my thoughts and emotions as the year starts, they vary widely. One moment I'm excited about the new year, and some moments I'm uncertain. No doubt we are living in unique economic times that create all kinds of unusual challenges and opportunities.
I have shared with many friends and business associates that 2008 had tremendous growth opportunities, with few of these being economic. It is like the old saying, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”
And that is the key point: we have to decide to do something. We have to choose to think proactively, take action to make improvements and believe for the best.
To lead effectively, we have to understand it all starts with our thoughts. The question is, are we leading our life with positives or negatives? Through tough times, we can unconsciously and slowly get in the habit of thinking the worst about the prospect of gaining new business or the effectiveness of our own abilities. If left unchecked, it can lead us down a path to true business failure, or worse.
Let me share a model I learned that has helped me have a clearer understanding of the power of our thought:
A thought leads to an action;
An action leads to a habit;
A habit leads to character;
And character leads to our destiny.
We have to take control of our thoughts to have success in business and life. You may know this already. What matters is to understand that as human beings we have a natural tendency to drift from what we know to be true.
In addition, there are many things that can cause us to be deceived and take us off track. The first is our emotions. Have you ever woke in the morning with a feeling that made you think something is wrong? I have, and for no good reason in many cases. The enlightening thing is that almost all of the negative thoughts coming from these feelings have never come to pass, and most people I talk to have had the same experience.
The challenge and trap is that it takes us down the wrong path, a path of negative and heavy thoughts, many connected to our pride and ego. These thoughts will not produce positive results. Of course at certain times they can wake us up to something that we need to change.
One way I have overcome these negative thoughts is to ask myself, is this a beneficial wake-up call or just one of those fearful thoughts that something is going to go wrong? The majority of the time it is nothing but a negative thought, and I need to move on to the path of believing and thinking for the best.
For most, having mastery in this area will be the deciding factor between success and failure.
The reality is that our mind helps to create what we focus on. So, we have to choose thoughts that match up with what we want to happen. This sounds simple enough, but it takes making a conscious decision and effort to actually apply it.
Second, we have to understand how choices are made. Some would like to believe that by not choosing they avoid responsibility. But if you are caught up in doom and gloom thinking, thus focusing on yourself and overanalyzing things, you are robbed of time for productive work. Then, let's say because of this you don't follow-up on leads, call past customers for work, or lead with an optimistic attitude. Even though this was an unconscious choice, you are responsible for the results. Thus, you chose to get poor results because you were caught up in negative thinking and behavior.
For some, the decision to be productive is the difference in being in business or not, and for others it's the difference between surviving or thriving. To win in this battle we need to have faithful and positive thinking friends, business associates, mentors, peer groups and/or a personal coach.
If you slipped into this destructive mood, then simply acknowledge it, forgive yourself, and immediately move out of it. Then, proactively and consciously decide to believe positive thoughts, and take action that will produce the results you desire. I wish you a successful 2009 filled with positive thoughts for you and your business!
|Doug Dwyer is president and chief stewarding officer of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen, one of the nation's leading remodeling franchises. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.|