by Sandra Weaver
"Some people see things as they are and ask why. Others dream of things that never were and ask why not?" George Bernard Shaw
Life happens. Whether it's good or bad, happy or sad, successful or challenging depends on how we define the events which occur on a daily basis. Our thoughts and attitudes concerning the circumstances of our lives determine its quality. The following are 10 steps to help you begin to build a successful future.
1) Give thanks. No matter how bleak a situation may seem, there is always something to be grateful for. Focus on those things and give thanks. Families who suffered the loss of a loved one in the September 11 tragedy expressed gratitude for the opportunity to speak with them in their last moments. Many who have lost jobs are grateful for their good health and a supportive family. Still others are grateful to be able to help those in need and thus appreciate their good fortune in these trying times.
2) Recognize the present situation Be in the moment. Learn from the past, but don't let it determine your future. Refrain from "wishing back" the past or fearing the future. Look around you. What is the reality of now? What are the actions you need to take? This is a time to take a good look at "you." Recognize your special talents and abilities. Be willing to take risks. Now is the only time there is, and we have many choices.
3) Release judgement Don't judge the present circumstances as good or bad. They are simply what they are. Don't judge the actions or decisions you have already made. Value the lessons learned and move forward with confidence. Refrain from blaming outside circumstances regardless of how apt that may appear. Don't base your decisions on what others are doing or what others may think. Stay in the moment without judgement and see it as the starting point for a future which will be determined by you!
4) Focus on what you can give rather than on what you need.
When we help others in need, our own needs diminish. How can you help your employees, your clients and even your competitors? How can you be of service to your company and to your community? Work together. Years ago in rural America when disaster struck, everyone pitched in to help rebuild, replant or do whatever was needed to recover from the setback. Those that were helped then went on to help others. This cooperation and mutual effort will work in today's environment as well. Look around for opportunities. When the focus of your business is making your customer successful, your own success is inevitable. Those businesses that put service as a top priority develop business relationships that last.
5) Look at possibilities rather than problems. The recent events have impacted businesses in many ways. Some have been forced to downsize significantly. This means layoffs for many employees. This is a time for creative thinking, not tunnel vision. How might the business be restructured? Can you combine efforts with a competitor in a way in which you both win? What if you are laid off?. What do you do now? Consider the possibilities. My son had been driving limousine part time just to earn a little "extra fun money." When he was laid off, this job became a much needed source of income during his job search. Because the layoff occurred just prior to the Christmas holidays, he was able to work many hours. Look beyond what you "do for a living" to what you might do enjoy a better life. Use your imagination and don't be afraid to be outrageous. Anything is possible. Everything is doable.
6) Set priorities What are your immediate needs? What can you do now to meet those needs? . Remember to be in the moment. This is the time when short term goals take priority. Setting priorities may mean more than planning for your financial and physical needs. It also involves looking at what is important in your life. Regardless of what action is taken, your life will change. Make sure those changes don't jeopardize what you most value.
7) Evaluate Begin with the present. What are the results of the actions taken? What is the present situation? Have you moved forward in a positive way? Even if the movement seems to be at a snail's pace, consider it good. What are your options? Is there an alternative plan worth pursuing? Each time you take action, evaluate whether that action has been positive or negative. This is your compass for taking each next step. In addition to your evaluation, consider the options for the next step. 8) Be flexible Take action but continue to be aware as you move forward. If circumstances warrant changing tactics, don't be afraid to do so. A sailboat does not go from point A to point B in a straight line. It changes direction with the wind so as to move toward point B more quickly and efficiently. Moving back can often be a step forward. Sometimes those steps can seem like failure or the result of a bad decision. It's important to remember there is no such thing as failure. Failure is simply a wrong choice. And we are always free to choose again. Each new choice strengthens us and enables us to make better decisions.
9) Ask for help. If you need help from your employees, customers, family or other source, ask. On the flip side, offer to help your clients or associates. This is an opportunity to develop closer relationships with your business associates and clients. Working together works.
10) Give thanks Gratitude is a powerful tool for creating a prosperous and fulfilled life. Use it often. When our focus is on what we have and what is good in our lives, we attract more of the good .we desire.