When things are not going so well in life (business, personal, the economy, etc.), how we deal with setbacks will determine whether we will be overcome, or whether we’ll be over-comers.
Sometimes setbacks are due to a person’s emotional or mental makeup, and unless that's dealt with first, things can only get worse. Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar called it, Stinkin' Thinkin'. It's what can hold any of us back from reaching our goals. We need to deal with this “stinkin' thinkin'” with the same vigor as a business should deal with issues such as poor quality or a lack of sales. STOP IT!
An ancient king named David was known to say "I encourage myself," when no one else was around to encourage him—even as he was often running for his life and everything around him looked bleak. The way King David chose to encourage himself was through his faith, which I believe is a great start.
There are many resources at our disposal in today's information world—books in print, e-books, audio books, printed and online magazines, articles and blogs. Now, many top universities also offer free, online courses on any number of subjects.
If you're a salesperson and your sales are down, there is an infinite amount of material out there that can be read or listen to for inspiration and encouragement. If you are a business owner, dealing with tighter margins and other business hurdles, resources abound to help you deal with those issues and many others.
A couple of stories...
For nearly a decade, our printing company had been outsourcing some of its cleaning maintenance to a young man named Jeff, and I had come to know and appreciate him personally. Due to the economic downturn, in 2009 Jeff lost almost all of his top accounts; mainly commercial printers. Our company struggled through the same downturn, and for about two years we had to stop using Jeff's services altogether. Only recently have we started using his services two nights a week.
I can tell you, Jeff was pretty discouraged during that time, and I felt bad about that. Recently, when I asked Jeff how he had survived the setback, he said, "Sir, my house sits on about five acres, and I decided to plant a large garden, and started raising some chickens." Jeff said he had begun reading and studying GARDENING and, over the past four years, has apparently become quite the expert. He and his wife now grow most of their food, and whatever is left over, they sell. They even built a green house and are now growing a garden year round.
Jeff is currently taking free, online college courses for the purpose of growing what has become his newly-found business. I was happy to hear he had also read my book "System Busters," along with another business book titled "The E-Myth," and has become very interested in systems and the process of continual improvement. He sounds so on-fire and inspired now, he’s an encouragement to me also!
During that same period, that I was forced to cut back on my company’s nightly cleaning maintenance, we also had to lay off many of our employees. One of those was a very good pressman who called me some time later to tell me how he was dealing with his
setback. He said he had immediately started delivering pizzas at night, got a part-time day job working on small engines, and at the same time began taking classes to become a nurse. He is now a full-time nurse and, from our last conversation, was very encouraged about his future and really loving his new career.
Change can be hard, but it can also be a good thing—It's all about attitude; the ability to encourage ourselves to keep stepping forward, no matter what it takes.
If you have read some of my blogs, you should know I'm a strong advocate for giving employees the tools they need to do their job without constant supervision—i.e. Daily Routine Checklists, Quality Control Checklists, Procedures, Policies, Preventative Maintenance systems, etc.
To distribute these job-enhancing tools at our own commercial printing plant, we use System100®, our browser based software. We also use this software to systematically encourage employees by giving them access to hundreds of articles with self-improvement tips and other materials to help with their job performance. These tools can be accessed 24-hours-a-day, and we continually add new resources.
My book "System Buster: How to Stop Them In Your Business
" talks about the use of Daily Routine Checklists for all personnel. It's a simple thing to place a prompt on a DRC, to remind someone to read or listen to encouraging materials, regularly. It's especially helpful to get the input of those who have been through setbacks of their own, and how THEY overcame them.
A system of continual improvement should include not only our work, but our attitudes and education. It starts with determination that says, “I will overcome—and like old King David and others, I will encourage myself!”
Did I mention? Great System Work!