Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Good Idea? Don't Deceive Yourself

Think of a problem in your business.

Not enough customers? The new product stinks? Your vendor just raised prices?

Pick one.

Now. Ask yourself, "What should I do about this?"

Then, pray about it. Yes, pray. Look up and ask: "God, what should I do about this?"

Then, be still and listen.

Okay. Got an answer? Or at least the beginning of one?


Now that you know there's something you should do that would improve your business and your family's livelihood, are you going to do it?

The answer could mean everything, in your business and your life.

As James, the older brother of Jesus, writes, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." (James 1:22)

Why is it so easy to slip into "listen only" mode and avoid DOING things we know would improve our lives?

Perhaps because the thought of solving a big problem all at once is too daunting. Taking comfortable, ineffective actions -- or no action at all -- is much easier.

In his excellent book, 100 Ways To Motivate Yourself: Change Your Life Forever, Steve Chandler writes: "The next time you're worried about something, ask yourself, 'What small thing can I do right now?' Then do it. Remember not to ask, "What could I possibly do to make this whole thing go away?" That question does not get you into action at all."

So, just for today, do one small thing.

Take one action you know would improve your business, even though you know it won't solve all your problems.

  • Call the last customer who had a complaint. Ask them how you could make things right. Then do it.

  • Write a thank-you note to the 3 people who helped you most in your first 90 days of business. Tell them how thankful you are. They will be delighted and you will get an energy boost for at least an hour.

  • Redesign your business card. I don't know what yours looks like, but it could probably be more compelling as a miniature receptionist/sales rep/brochure, which is what it really is. Click here for ideas.

As these examples show, there are plenty of things you can do to improve your business. You can merely listen, and so deceive yourself. Or you can do something. Start by doing just one thing. Today.

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