“How can I get past this challenge?”

Do you ever find yourself having difficulty being optimistic? I think we all do at times. Of course, not when we are getting in excess of $20 per cwt for our milk, but how about when milk prices are far less positive, as they were from 2009-2012? You might want to save this article for those times… What is the real problem with this? Don’t you have a right to be pessimistic during those times? 

Author Steve Chandler, in his book entitled 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself, states: “Motivation comes from thought. Every act we take is preceded by a thought that inspires that act. And when we quit thinking, we lose the motivation to act. We eventually slip into pessimism, and the pessimism leads to even less thinking.” The real problem lies with our inability to snap out of this mode and thus focus on the challenge we are facing.

Chandler gives an excellent example that we all can probably relate to. A pessimist decided to clean his garage one Saturday morning. However, when he looked into the garage, he was immediately overwhelmed and cried, “’No one could clean this garage in one day!’ At that point the pessimist slams the garage door shut and goes back inside to do something else.” For a pessimist, it is either perfection or nothing.

The optimist, however, after looking at his garage, continues his thinking. “’Okay, so I can’t clean the whole garage,’ he says. ‘What could I do that would make a difference?’ He looks for awhile, and thinks things over. Finally, it occurs to him that he could break the garage down into four sections and do just one section today.” Over a period of four weeks he will get the entire task completed. Sounds like a solid plan!

Don’t we all have a neighbor for whom everything always seems to go right? Could it be his thinking process? Consider one decision that you are presently being faced with. Be sure to remind yourself that there is, indeed, an answer to your challenges. Perhaps you are concerned about finding the financing you need to expand your business. Can you break it down into sections, just like cleaning the garage? Here is an example for you.

1.)    Establish an outline of your particular business plans and what you want to do.

2.)    What do you think you will need in terms of financing for capital expenditures and/or working capital for your operational needs?

3.)    Does this project have a positive payback in your specific operation or is it just “what everyone’s doing?” Run some cash flow projections on the idea. Just as three times milking does not work at every dairy, the same may be true for the idea you are considering.

4.)    Are you prepared to go to one or more banks and present your ideas? Have you fully outlined all aspects of your plan and made certain that your financial reports are up to date? If not, talk to your accountant about getting updated accrual financial statements for your business. Lenders love to see them because it provides them with a much clearer picture of what is actually taking place in your business. You should want these, too, to make sure your costs are in line with the rest of the industry.

These four steps should serve as a guideline of how to approach your business hurdles, whatever they are. Remember, when you face a business challenge, stay optimistic so you remain open to all possibilities. The primary reason to remain optimistic, as I said earlier, is that there is an answer. You just haven’t discovered it yet. Author Steve Chandler adds the following advice:

“If you catch yourself brooding, worrying and thinking pessimistically about an issue, the first step is to recognize your thoughts as being pessimistic. Not wrong or untrue – just pessimistic. And if you are going to get the most out of your bio-computer (the brain), you must acknowledge that pessimistic thoughts are less effective… If you really want to open your life and motivate yourself to succeed, become an optimistic thinker.”

The next time you are faced with an important decision within your business, why not give this process a try?