Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close to success they were when they gave up. – Thomas Edison
We thought coming into this year, “I can do this!” Some even thought “This will be no problem! This will be easy!” We started fresh and positive and motivated. Now here we are, 8 months into the year, two-thirds of the way through the third quarter, with only 4 months to go to finish 2013. And we know that it has been hard work to get to where we are and it will be even harder to get to the finish line.
Yes, the ramp keeps getting steeper. Yes, we have a long way to go. Yes, we all feel the pressure. Yes, it is stressful. But no, this is not the time to be shy, to shut up, or to shut down. It’s time to step right up!
Remember going to carnivals and state fairs as kids or with kids? Remember the carnival workers shouting “Step Right Up! Win a Prize! Every Player is a Winner! You Have to See it to Believe It!” It all starts with that first step.
STEP stands for Stress, Trends, Expectations, and Performance.
S – When it comes to Stress, we are usually looking at where we are, but we really need to be looking at where we want to go. If we get bogged down with emotions like fear, uncertainty, anger, or panic, or if we decide to turn it off, go numb, and just slog through and see what happens – however we feel about it, if we let negative emotions rule the day we have already given up and we will lose. Stress, if allowed, will destroy creativity.
T – Looking at Trends, the truth is we don’t need a pep talk, we need to get motivated! Forget the carrot and the stick. We can’t depend on others to do for us what only we can do for ourselves. We need to remind ourselves that, “Yes, I can do this job!” If things ae trending the wrong way then we need to ask why, formulate a solution to turn it around, and then implement it.
E – Examining our Expectations, we need to get creative instead of continuing to do all the things we have already been doing. We know that if we do the same things over and over and expect different results then we are crazy. The time for “we’ve always done it this way” thinking is long past. Let’s rise to the challenge and adjust our expectations if needed.
P – Gauging our Performance, we need to be realistic about where we are and what we need to do to get where we need to be. Quantity never makes up for lack of quality. Working harder and smarter we can do quality work. Let’s focus on things we may have overlooked in the past. Be innovative – adapt, improvise, and overcome. Don’t get stuck planning, put the plan in action.
This is not the time to shut down or shut up. Let’s keep it simple. Let’s manage the stress, put our emotions to work for us, and drive the number instead of letting the numbers drive us. It’s time to step right up and do what we are good at doing – building solid relationships offering winning solutions to our customers needs.
The best way to “think outside the box” is to ask others for their insight, perspective, and advise. So don’t ever underestimate the benefit of being on a team, especially when times are tough. If we isolate ourselves we will miss the best opportunities for personal and professional growth.