What We Can All Do
The other day I received an email from a business colleague that I would like to share. In this email, he talked about how he was having breakfast with a friend. “We had important stuff we needed to talk about,” he wrote. Problem was, there was a TV above and a few feet behind the, blaring out an incessant stream of bad news from the mouths of the anchormen and on the streaming ticker below the screen—you know, the Fed has to bail out another bank on the brink of collapsing, stocks are down, the dollar is weakening, more homes foreclosing, Iran’s nuclear weapons, etc. etc. My colleague said had to get up and walk over and turn the volume down so could have a civilized conversation without that background noise.
That is the perfect screen shot of what all of us have to fight every single day: Gloom. Doom. Negativity. Bad news. Failures. Collapses. Economic Malady. Uncertainty.
All drowning out the conversations that really matter—about life, business, family, the future..
“The world is awash in this dreariness,” my colleague wrote.
Don’t forget glib promises by professional politicians: “Vote for me and I’ll fix it for you.” Or like that old 60s song “Ball of Confusion” says: “Vote for me/and I’ll set you free!”
This is something to think about today. We will accomplish nothing positive by focusing on any of these “newsbytes.” It will only weaken and distract us. But we are bombarded by it—not just from TV’s in restaurants and bars, either. Look at the news screen in the elevator here—newsbytes of the same negativity; these screens are on pubic transportation, public squares, on buildings. The technology is wonderful, don’t get me wrong, and we live in a world where world news travels across the globe in an instant, when ffty years ago it took days, weeks, maybe even months for such news to spread…
But we cannot dwell on this every day and allow it to have hegemony over our personal and professional lives. This will only hold us back.
Nor will it help you to dwell on the problems that are going on in our particular industry, or any industry.
It would be beneficial to us all if we remind ourselves, daily, that wherever there is chaos and uncertainty, there is indeed opportunity.
The Real Deal: It’s Up to You
Okay, let’s be pragmatic: there may be things to criticize but there are also things to be praised. There is much around us that is good and praiseworthy. Nobody’s going to be inspired to focus on the good stuff if they’re just watching the news and newsbytes and soundbytes and ticker info.
And let’s be realistic: if there’s anything good to be said, it’s going to have to be said by YOU. Yes, here comes the burden of positivity. We cannot seek out others—gurus, ministers, politicians, friends—to deliver encouraging and enlightening words. We have to take on this task ourselves. If your employees, partners, and co-workers are going to hear an encouraging word from anyone today, they’ll probably have to hear it from…yes… YOU.
Think on this: the email your customers get from you may be the only positive, encouraging email they get from anybody all day. As such it will stand out. You will not only change their day, you may change their lives. I’ll be so bold as to say you may save a life. There are people out there so bombarded by negativity that thet do not know where to turn…and here comes your positive email, and it brightens their day.
My colleague wrote further in his email: “Light and dark cannot occupy the same space at the same time. I’m at a Strategic Coach meeting today, where Lee Brower said, ‘Grateful kids do not commit suicide. Grateful husbands and wives do not get divorced.’”
Powerful stuff, wouldn’t you say?
Call to Action
This is my challenge to you: before you’re done reading this email, I’d like you to write down 5 things you’re thankful for, or accomplishments you’re proud of. I would like two of them to be something that’s happened in the last 24 hours…
…then I’d like you to make one resolution about how you’re going to encourage more of the same kind of positive victories to happen—write down what step you’re going to take to ensure this….
…finally: I’d like you to think of one thing that’s good, that nobody else is recognizing enough, and I want you to communicate it to your clients and customers. Something that gives them hope! That gives us all hope, including me.
Here is an example: there is a fellow who’s in the very worst part of the mortgage market. He has watched his proud business literally disentegrate during the last year and is courageously taking back ground that he lost, completely re-inventing himself and changing the entire way that he interfaces with his customers. This man’s efforts, his refusal to accept defeat, his strength to march on, gives me hope.
What has this fellow been doing? He’s been working hard online with new media strategies and advertising tactics to get more leads, transact loans in real-time online and building vehicles to grow his business in ways never thought possible until he reached out and shared his passion and vision for the consumer.
I will leave you with this thought: there is opportunity all around us. It just takes gazing through a positive lens of anticipation and knowledge, coupled with old-fashion faith, that those opportunities exist.
Do we need new eyes to see this? No. We just need to open the eyes we have and shut out that TV in the background—turn it off even! And focus on what is good, what is positive, what changes our lives for the better.