The recent election has put many small business owners on edge. The election of an unknown, untested President adds an element of uncertainty to the economy’s future. This was evident in many coaching conversations the past few days.
In any election, whether your candidate wins or loses, the small business owner is the one left to deal with uncertainties of some kind. Inevitably, political parties enact legislation that works in favor of our business, along with some that are less advantageous. Either way, we have to make it work for our business if we’re going to survive.
When uncertainty looms, its natural to want to retract – to shrink back from previous, well-thought out plans – to play it safe “just in case.” It’s part of the flight or fight paradox with which we’ve lived since the days of the caveman (and cavewoman).
The problem with choosing the “flight” path is that it causes us to miss out on opportunities within our grasp – if we would only look up from problems that have yet to occur.
I explained it to a client in this way.
Scaling back and playing it safe is surely an option when faced with uncertainty. It’s like holding a small bucket close to our chest. Much like a kid with a special toy s/he grips, we develop a protective posture over that which we currently define as “certainty.”
We hold tight. We look down. We guard our territory – all in hopes of retaining this small bit of control.
The problem with this position is that with head down and field of vision limited, we fail to see the opportunities within our sphere of influence. The very occurrences that would fortify certainty are hidden from view.
Rather than respond to uncertainty by going small – GO BIG.
GO BIG – and remove any option of going back.
You Can’t Come Home
That’s exactly what my mother-in-law told her son (my husband) when he signed on with the Marines. Knowing the rigors of the Marine Corp during the Vietnam War, she was not in favor of his enlistment.
Despite her objection, he signed up anyway.
When boot camp proved to be too arduous, he made one call. He called his mom. He begged and pleaded to come home.
His mom wasn’t someone to mess with. Raised in south Chicago, she knew that commitment and discipline were qualities that serve a young black man well during the 60s.
Much to his surprise, she refused his request to come home. He had made the decision to join the Marines, against her council, and he was going to have to stay and make it work…he was not allowed to come home.
Decades later, he says it’s the best thing that ever happened (besides marrying me).
He learned about the strength that existed within, the discipline needed to succeed, and the honor of commitment. He uncovered a man much stronger.
Don’t Go Back
In the same spirit of uncertainty, struggle, and doubt, don’t go home. Don’t play small – not now! Not ever!
Discover the strength, wisdom, and fortitude within yourself – and capitalize on the opportunities around you as you hold your head high and keep your eyes on the prize.