Jerry Vance, Brad Bertoch and I were standing and talking in a hallway at VentureCapital.org talking. Vance had pulled us aside and asked:
“Have I ever introduced you to Troy Skabelund?”
“Yes,” I said. “I’ve worked with Troy on a Cooperative Venturing Team. He does amazing work!”
“Troy is a business systems expert and has done amazing things with companies such as Disney,” Vance said. “I’d like us to figure out how to use his expertise to help more people!”
His comments stirred my memory. In 1958, Time Magazine wrote, “For every company that slims down its operation, another discovers new ways of doing things that should have been in effect for years but were overlooked during the boom.”
We all know that economic adversity forces companies and people to find creative ways to cut costs and it inspires us to find all sorts of methods to improve the way we do things. And, once in place, we always find that the changes made work so well that we’d never go back to the old way of doing things. The process of struggling can lead us to become our very best.
The best of us show our true colors during times of struggle. When struggling, you and I may be tempted to lay low and wait for things to pick up, but this is exactly the wrong approach. Instead, we should redouble our efforts by recognizing that a crisis can be a catalyst for creativity if we choose to make it so. Here are a couple of key actions that will bring out a person’s best by allowing creativity to flow during challenging times.
Embrace the counterfact: A counterfact is an alternate scenario our brains create to help us evaluate and make sense of what really happened. In other words, you and I can choose to invent an alternate, positive scenario. We can decide to consciously select a counterfact that makes us feel fortunate rather than helpless. And choosing a positive counterfact, besides making us feel better, sets up the benefits of motivation that come with a positive way of thinking or style of explanation.
Change your style of explanation: As a salesman by profession, I live the life of a salesman, which is fraught with failure and rejection. New statistics from the National Association of Realtors show that within five years of becoming a Realtor, only 2.5 percent of Realtors remain in business. Now that’s an eye-opening statistic! Over the years, I’ve noticed that the people who consistently do well seem to be immune from the setbacks to which others have surrendered. No matter what difficulty they face, they always bounce right back. They all share an optimistic explanatory style and their belief directly affects their actions toward higher performance. The bottom line is that virtually success is dictated by one’s explanatory style!
My friend, and colleague, Les Ellison once said to me, “I love it when I have no business because I know it can’t get worse than this!” His statement is perhaps the greatest example of a positive explanatory style I’ve ever heard.
I heard Vance’s voice nudging me back.
“Troy specializes in business systems and works with people to make amazing transformations!” he explained.
“I agree with you Jerry!” I said. “Perhaps we can design a series of seminars where he can actively help more people. I can’t think of a better time to begin.”
Yes. Now is the perfect time for you and me to begin, to make our own amazing personal transformations as well. Will you and I surrender to the challenges of life, or will we allow ourselves to become transformed by living an optimistic explanatory style?
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.