Turning it Around

u-turn2I recently read an article, 12 Quiet Rituals of Enormously Successful Humans. The fourth point is the one that really hit me, “They gradually turn life’s obstacles around.” As much as failure pains me, sometimes it’s the only option I have to learn something new.

If I am honest, I fall short of my mark pretty often. But simply falling short of the mark doesn’t lead to great change. Too often, completely going down in flames is the only way to get us back on track. These epic failures seem to recalibrate us. They swing the pendulum wildly in the opposite direction, while small setbacks don’t challenge us that much. It’s easier to shrug them off and try again. There simply isn’t enough force in a small indiscretion to change us, at least not for long.

Are we supposed to intentionally do stupid things? Of course not. This is not about being reckless. This is about not giving up! This is about Post Traumatic Growth! It’s about choosing to come out the other side a better person.

It’s more than just a choice. People who successfully grow from traumatic events are able to distinguish between what they can and cannot control. They also allow themselves time to grieve. Too many people see grief as weakness, but it is an important part of the strengthening process. The final part of the puzzle is talking through these issues with a community. While some might consider this “whining,” it’s simply necessary. In the words of Neimeyer, R.A., (2001). Meaning Reconstruction and the Experience of Loss. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, “It also benefits a person to have supportive others that can aid in post-traumatic growth by providing a way to craft narratives about the changes that have occurred, and by offering perspectives that can be integrated into schema change.” In essence, talking about it helps us wrap our minds around what’s happened and form that into a new view of our world.

If we translate all of this into a business model, how do we turn a hardship into a success? First, we identify what is within and outside of our control. Is there something happening politically or economically to slow down our sales? Can we do anything to impact the cause of the dip in sales? If no, we need to look at our options. We need to accept the loss of a particular market or the failure of a particular brand. We need to discuss what needs to be left behind and what can reasonably take its place. That process will eventually strengthen us. Maybe, like in the film Kinky Boots, we need to change our business model of making mens dress shoes. We just might make a killing in an industry we never even knew existed.


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