Good day, team,
This will be the last challenge for 2009, and as I write it, I’ve been reflecting on the opportunities this year has presented. From small business owners to employees of large companies, no one was exempt from the huge challenges the poor economy created for us.
Many of my clients understood they could no longer do business as they had been used to doing for many years. Their management skills seemed to be sorely lacking when it came to motivating a workforce faced with layoffs and no promotions or bonuses, as well as their inability to hire new talent. The fear of losing their best people, who were now working overtime to cover multiple functions, continued to weigh heavily on them, and keeping sales up and expenses down was the order of the day.
In my case, the first six months of 2009 were the worst I’ve experienced in the 17 years I’ve been in business. Ironically, this circumstance forced me to think creatively, and I’m now seeing that by being more open-minded and venturesome, doors have opened for me that I had never considered. As human beings, we are extremely adaptable, and when it comes to figuring out what to do to survive, we can be very inventive.
Maybe this was the year in which you got a new job or went back to school to learn a new set of skills. I applaud you if this is the case. We generally hang on to our current jobs or stay in whatever our familiar situation is when times get tough, no matter how bad they are. Changing in the midst of insecure times is particularly difficult, but the rewards can be great if we have the courage to move in the right direction, even when it seems like the wrong time to do it.
It helps to remember that change is not just one thing, but actually three things: endings, transitions and beginnings. When we change, we always give something up. The loss is often painful, but it also creates space from which something new can emerge. Transitions are usually where the most opportunity arises for us, since we’ve let go of the past and are not yet quite in the future. It’s the scariest phase, but the most exciting! And beginnings are full of all those unknowns that we hoped or dreamed about as we moved through the transition phase. It’s important to remain aware in every stage, because each is distinct and evokes many different emotions and thoughts as conditions, demands and even people change around us.
As this year comes to a close, take some time to reflect on what it has required of you. Think about what you’ve learned and had to put into play. Perhaps you’ve refreshed some of your old ways of doing things. Maybe you’ve become more innovative and benefited by having to re-create your business model. I have a client who decided that the only way to drum up more business was to make many more cold calls. Like most of us, he hates this task, but his business is actually growing right now because of his extra effort.
Whatever the case may be, take time to reflect on what the challenges of this past year have been and how you’ve dealt with them. Give yourself credit for having done the best you could in difficult circumstances. Show your appreciation to the people you’ve worked with during these trying times and don’t forget to be grateful to your friends and family for being supportive when you needed them most. The holidays give all of us a much needed break and many chances to be with loved ones in positive surroundings. Take advantage of these moments and look to the new year with renewed hope that 2010 might bring all of us the peace and prosperity we seek.
Have a good week and Happy Holidays!
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