Tough Times, Optimism, Personal Responsibility and Success

Self confidence is one of the keys to personal and professional success that is part of my Common Sense Success System.  I discuss it in several of my books: Straight Talk for Success, Your Success GPS and 42 Rules to Jumpstart your Professional Success

You can become self confident by doing three things.  First, choose optimism.  Believe in your heart of hearts that today will be better than yesterday, and that tomorrow will be better than today.  Second, face your fears and act.  Procrastination and inaction feed fear and rob you of self confidence.  Action cures fear.  Take responsibility for yourself and do something.  Third, surround yourself with positive people.  Don’t let the naysayers into your life.  Hang around with people who are positive about themselves, their careers and life in general.

I have been in business as a success coach, speaker and management consultant for 21 years.  I’ve been through several economic downturns.  This past year, however, have been the most difficult of all my years in business.

As a result of the economic downturn, many of my clients are in a severe cost containment mode.  This means that a lot of my consulting and coaching work dried up this year.  I’m an optimist, so I feel confident that it will return.  However and more important, I’ve used my down time as this opportunity to change my business model and learn some new tricks. 

For 21 years, I have operated in the B to B sector.  This downturn has led me to refocus my business on the B to C sector.  This year, I invested time and money in becoming adept as an internet marketer, selling coaching services and information products via the internet to individuals, not corporations.

This change has not been as simple as it seems.  To begin, I had to learn an entirely new marketing model, one in which I prospect for lots of small clients instead of a few large ones.  I’ve learned to focus more on my cash flow.  I’ve opened merchant accounts that allow me to accept credit cards.  I’ve learned about list building, joint ventures and internet shopping carts.  In short, it’s been a time of incredible learning as well as a time of high stress.  Instead of bemoaning my “bad luck” as a result of the economic situation, I have turned 2009 into an exhilarating year.  I’ve chosen to be happy and optimistic and to use the economic downturn as an opportunity to learn new things and put them into play.

This change has also impacted my home life.  For many years, I got on an airplane on Sunday or Monday almost every week and returned home on Thursday or Friday.  Now, I stay at home more and work out of my home office.  While this is good, it has introduced an entirely different dynamic into my marriage.  Cathy and I are both had to get used to being together 24 -7 instead of just on the weekends – and this is a good thing.  I live a healthier lifestyle too.  I eat better when I’m at home — and I exercise more too.  It’s all good.

This change has had some other unexpected benefits.  I’ve met some great people that I never would have had I not begun marketing my services to individuals.  One of my coaching clients is the pastor of a Chinese Christian Church in New York.  Another is a woman real estate developer here in Denver who has done well for herself buying abandoned buildings and turning them into condos.  I’ve met some dynamic young people who are mentoring me in the art of internet marketing.  Had I not added a B to C component to my business, I would never have met these interesting people, and I would have lost an opportunity to serve many others, helping them create the successful lives and careers they want and deserve.

In short, I’m grateful for the opportunity this economic downturn has afforded me.  I chose optimism and committed to taking personal responsibility for creating positive change in my life and work.  As a result, I’ve expanded my business.  I’m traveling less.  I’m healthier.  And, I am building a business that I can sell when, and if, I decide to retire.  Right now though, I’m having too much fun learning new things and meeting new people to think about retiring.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people are self confident.  Self confident people are optimistic.  They face their fears and act.  They commit to taking personal responsibility for their lives and careers.  When you are optimistic and commit to taking personal responsibility you realize that the stuff that happens to you is not nearly as important as how you choose to react to the stuff that happens.  I used the recent economic downturn to add another component to my business.  I learned a lot in the process and created a more sustainable and stronger business.  And that’s how I suggest you think.  When the fates seem to be conspiring against you look on the bright side.  Figure out what you can learn from the situation and how these learnings can help you move forward.  Then commit to taking personal responsibility for doing what it takes.

That’s my take on tough times, optimism, personal responsibility and success.  What’s yours?  I’d appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.


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