If you own a small business you’re susceptible to any number of outside forces that can potentially influence your business in a big way. Influences like the stock market, natural disasters, the political climate, the environment and so on. There’s no denying that sometimes good or bad luck can totally change the course of your business. But stop worrying about what you can’t control and start taking charge of what you can.
With so many unknowns affecting the way you do business, it’s easy to get caught up in an endless cycle of hand-wringing and worrying about all the things that could affect your small business. This might even manifest itself as a mindset where you feel that almost everything is outside of your control.
That's just not the case. There are many things you do have control over. Things you might forget about or take for granted. In fact, the success or failure of your business is much more in your own hands than you probably give yourself credit for.
It’s time to get proactive!
When you focus on negative outcomes you most likely feel helpless. Helplessness is a strong emotion, one that's hard to overcome. So instead of looking at a situation you have no control over and thinking, "It’s outside of my control, so I’m going to wallow in self-pity" you should be thinking, "It’s outside of my control, but instead of focusing on how bad it could be, I’m going to work on things I can control."
Proactive vs Reactive
The fact is, in every situation you can choose to either be proactive or reactive. Proactive means that you intentionally choose your behaviour and take responsibility for it. On the other hand, reactive people are easily affected by their environment and as a result let it dictate outcomes.
When you’re proactive your outlook is more stable across time, wavering little with the daily ups and downs that come your way both professionally and personally.
2005 study reveals…
Something really interesting happens when we intentionally change the way we think. A study completed in 2005 (find it at https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/bul-1316803.pdf) searched for a correlation between happiness and success. The researchers weren’t trying to determine whether happiness was a result of success as that has already been proven. Instead the researchers set out to find if happiness actually leads to success.
The study found that happy people were not only more successful, but happiness creates behaviours that create success. Researchers also found that the successful people they talked to had “chronic happiness,” something that isn’t inherent in people. It's a trait that has to be learned and practiced, intentionally (and proactively) honing the craft.
So being happy is a self-fulfilling prophecy! The study also found that happiness carries over to every aspect of life: marriage, family, health, life expectancy and more.
Think about that. Successful people aren’t happy because they’re successful. Their happiness helped them become successful, in turn making them even happier. This is a great example of how being proactive with your emotions can change outcomes in your relationships, your health, in particular, your business.
Learn to be proactively happy!
There are lots of ways to ensure that we’re being proactive with our thoughts. Here are three things you can do to ensure you don’t start playing the victim when it comes to your business and what you can control:
1. Meditate. “Meditation” is a loaded term, but what I mean is taking a few minutes to clear your mind and focus on the outcomes you’d like to achieve that day. You’re getting your mind in the right place to make it through the day regardless of what the day brings. There's no need for candles and chanting monks... just your thoughts and some quiet time.
2. Make a list of things you can change. Create a list of the things you have control over so you can focus on those instead of on the things you can’t control, such as:
- What you say
- What you think
- What you listen to
- What you read
- What you buy
When we’re proactive we can change the outcome of virtually every aspect of our lives. We don’t need to be the victim anymore. The success of our businesses and the rest of our lives is more in our control than we may think.
Stay tuned for part two of this blog, where we’ll talk about how to set SMART business goals which will keep you on the PROACTIVE path to business success!
With you in every success,
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