Turning your ‘IF ONLY’ into WHAT IF’

Turning your ‘IF ONLY’ into WHAT IF’

Looking back over the last year, many people have looked at their lives and businesses said to themselves, “if the pandemic had not happened, I would be in a much better situation financially, personally and mentally”. Some people go through their whole lives with this mentality of thinking if only this or that hadn’t happened then ‘I would be successful or happy or content’.  This is not a healthy attitude to have. If we spend our whole time bemoaning our current situation or regretting the circumstances in which we found themselves, we will always be the victim in our own story and never the victor.

The attitude of, ‘if only’, comes from falling short in our expectations we have of our lives and of our achievements; and not holding ourselves accountable for the decisions we made that both got us and keep us from not achieving them. I find that businesspeople especially have high ambitions and expectations for themselves, with these expectations are often unrealised.

It is very easy to say that our failure or shortcomings are not our fault.  Maybe a big contract was won by a competitor, or lock down meant your business had to close for several weeks or months. What can you really do in either situation?

Simply put, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade! In response to adverse events or circumstances we should always seek to Review, Evaluate and Innovate. The competitor may have been more cost effectiveness and Covid may have halted foot traffic to your store. By reviewing your proposal, or your business model and evaluating its strengths and weaknesses and coming up with an innovative solution where you add value where your competitor isn’t or branch out to an online store front will lead you to improve, grow and do better next time.

This process of review, evaluate and innovate focuses on what is under our control and prevents us playing the victim card. It is this ‘poor me’ attitude which corrodes our response to set packs. Why do we regret our situation and circumstances? What is going on?  What is going on in our hearts and minds? There is a sense that our ambition outweighs our capability. Is it that we want to run before we can walk and that our businesses are not based on sound principles which can ensure that the products or services we offer are properly delivered and meet our customers’ expectations?

If we have fallen short on our customers desires then it is our fault and it is our responsibility, and the solution is in our hands. If on the other hand, we live by “If Only” we are in fact blaming somebody else for our troubles and avoiding our responsibilities. It is possible to find what is wrong with our product and service or even our processes and procedures and fix it so that we are no longer held back by it. However, this requires an attitude of accountability and of taking responsibility when it comes to the actions we take and the decisions we make rather than passing the blame onto someone or something else. A passive attitude can seem attractive, but it is unhelpful as far as a successful business is concerned. So cast off your ‘poor me’ attitude and let’s look at a better alternative.

Start thinking of new possibilities and new ways of working. You will be amazed how an attitude of “What If” can put you on the front foot. What if, I subcontracted out some of the work to give me more time to prioritise my customer relationship management? What if, I invested in my company website and online store to raise awareness and increase sales? What if, I was more strategic in my business and delegated responsibilities for sales, marketing, or production to individuals more suited for the roles? What if my processes and procedures were streamlined and easier for other people to follow?

Attitude is important. It opens possibilities to success.

The last year has challenged us all with circumstances far beyond our control, and completely unprecedented. We’ve had no practise on how to deal with this situation. Living through a pandemic wasn’t a subject taught at school. We have all been making it up as we go along. Some people have managed to cope with this better than others. Those working on their own, can find it difficult without their friends and colleagues around them to encourage, stimulate and challenge them.

Lockdown in the UK is starting to come to an end with the economy slowly opening up once again. The easing of lockdown will once again see a change in the dynamic of work and home and it’s an opportunity to put behind us that sense of being victims of our circumstances and embrace a renewed attitude of taking responsibility for our situations and circumstances. We can return to being leaders of our businesses working with those around us to make our businesses better places to work in, to work for and to be our customers or supplies. So, let’s make 2021 a year in which throw off shackles of victimhood embrace challenges of personal responsibility, leading our businesses out of lockdown and into renewed vigour and growth.

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