Have you ever wondered if you should go into business for yourself? Given the scary statistic that 70 – 90% of all new small businesses fail within the first two years, this is more than just a casual decision.
One of the first things you need to decide is if you have, or can learn to have, a strong positive attitude. Running your own business is quite possibly the most challenging and exhausting job you will ever do. However, with the proper attitude, you can get through the tough times you most assuredly will experience.
Thomas Edison once said, “Results! Why, man I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won’t work.” Every entrepreneur needs to tape this quote right above his/her desk and refer to it daily. Persisting in the face of failure is key. A positive attitude will make this much easier.
If you don’t currently have a positive attitude, there are many things you can do to develop one. You don’t have to accept that your life will never change for the better. Using some of the techniques below will help you to see that when you are at your lowest, you have no place to go but up!
Make friends with positive people. A positive attitude is infectious and may be the only bug you will actually WANT to catch. A little careful observation of your friends and acquaintances will reveal the ones with whom you want to spend more time. Positive people smile more and always look for the good in every situation. They are the type of people who when it rains say, “Wow! The grass is sure getting green!” And when their children are driving them crazy, they thank God they have healthy kids. This is not a Pollyanna “everything is perfect” attitude. It is important to recognize that your life isn’t and never will be perfect in all respects, but it is equally vital to know that the good can outweigh the bad if you look for it.
One exercise I find helpful is to review my day before I fall asleep and try to name 10 good things that happened. Some days this is a bigger challenge than others, and I have to resort to such things as, “When I woke up this morning, there was no chalk outline.” Remembering the many things that have gone well keeps you focused on the good rather than on the bad.
Another part of maintaining a positive attitude is keeping things in perspective. When I used to call my dad to complain about whatever problems had beset me that day, he would ask, “So, other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” It was his way of reminding me to always keep things in perspective. I had to remember that no matter what had happened in my life that day, I had not just seen my husband murdered in front of my eyes.
No matter what has gone wrong, there is always someone who has it worse. Lately I have been focused on the people whose lives were crushed by Hurricane Katrina. Even though I may be experiencing some professional setbacks, I have my family, my home, my pets, and enough food and drinking water to last several weeks. Life is good.
Reading positive books is another way to develop and maintain a positive, hopeful attitude. One of my favorite authors is Zig Ziglar, whose books are filled with positive inspiration. For a Christian perspective, Joel Osteen’s book, Your Best Life Now, is very uplifting. There are many websites, such as PositiveInstitute.com, which are dedicated to promoting positive attitudes.
When you surround yourself with positive influences, you will see your own attitude start to lift. Winning the attitude battle is the first step on the long journey to business success. Although a positive attitude won’t guarantee your achievement, it will go a long way towards maintaining your spirits as you keep trying. As Dory said in the wonderful movie, Finding Nemo, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” If you refuse to give up and always remember that there are many positive aspects to your life, you will be well on your way to attaining your business goals.
In our next column, we will discuss other personal traits that are important to succeeding in business.