Stop Waiting for Your Business to Change and Make it Happen

POST DATE Jan 25, 2016

AUTHOR Udo Jahn

A few days ago, I was asked if I had bought my ticket for that great big lottery prize everyone was getting excited about. I stopped for a second since I hadn’t heard how big the prize was. It was a very large number. The person asking me was saying that winning such a large prize would certainly change their life. That would be true for many people, but I began to speculate if that change would be for better or worse. Why would it require a winning lottery ticket to make your life better? I started to think about my life, and I wondered if maybe I should look at making some changes that didn’t involve winning the lottery. 

My thoughts then turned to the business world. In our region, many companies have seen a dramatic downturn in business due to the low prices of oil and minerals. Dramatic is definitely the right word. I have heard of areas where almost all the businesses have either shut down or have laid off the majority of their people. This is not a pretty sight to say the least and I cannot imagine how this has affected many communities. Every day people and businesses alike are watching the news to see if oil and mineral prices are recovering. In this way, it’s like they have invested in a lottery ticket – the lottery of the price of oil – and are secretly hoping that it will somehow go up dramatically, which would change their lives. In the meantime, they sit and wait for this to happen. 

I have personally experienced about 5 downturns/recessions, which is more than I would have wished to go through. I may have to endure a few more. The first ones were a really trying experience but as our company faced more, I decided that life was too short to wait for things to change. I don’t think you even need a downturn for business to become slower or die out completely. Slow business can be due to many reasons, but it seems the standard practice is to just sit and wait for something to change. I got the feeling that I must be missing something since it was a terrible feeling to sit around and wait.

I always look for inspiration around me. I found that successful companies, at least those that I consider successful, did more than wait around when business was slow. They seemed to amp up their activity and begin new initiatives to improve themselves. They realized that their success was in their control. They did not need to wait around for the proverbial lottery ticket win. They became winners by starting initiatives to get better. We can all think of a few companies that we admire who have pulled through tough times and become successful. 

I am truly beginning to believe that we are the key to our own success. It is through our actions that we make our own future. I don’t think it’s easy, and it definitely takes a huge commitment to change but in the end, you will see progress and some small successes by trying. Small successes are the positive things that make us want to go further. It’s like trying to get in shape at the gym. It’s hard at first, and you may feel like hurling up a lung, but as you start to see results, it gives you incentive to keep going. It is not quick, but success will come.

Our businesses are the same. The positive initiatives we undertake to improve our organizations do not yield immediate results but they will in the long run. The small successes from these initiatives will give us the positive reinforcement we need to keep going. We become the master of our own business destiny. It is a far better feeling than waiting for a winning lottery ticket to cause that change, which rarely ever happens. 

So when I was asked if I had purchased my ticket for the big lottery, I replied that I had not. Maybe next time. For now, I have things to do.

Author: Udo Jahn

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