Fall is a time of change
Fall is that time of the year that I simply cannot appreciate enough. Something about fall is magical, unique, genuine, and heart-warming. When leaves begin to change color turning from green to yellow, red, burgundy, creating an aura of pure peace, hope, and change. Such experience reminds us that we are not standing still, and time and life goes on with or without our involvement. We cannot stop the time, we cannot change our past, but we can appreciate the world around us, people who were there when we needed help and support, and welcome life as it is with all of its challenges, surprises, and happy moments.
Every year during the last two weeks of November I look back at everything that has happened during the year – good and bad – and remind myself how fortunate and how thankful I am. Everything good that happened in my life will be remembered forever, and everything bad that happened were opportunities that I have used to learn a lot from and continued to grow as a person, as a father, as a son, and as a husband. We should not dwell on our past or criticize our present life, what we should do is show our appreciation for everything and everyone in our life who helped us to overcome life’s temporary challenges and come out as a much more confident and stronger individual.
Everything that happens in our life is, in a way, a test of our character, our will, and our strength. How we choose to deal with and react to specific situations is what determines the outcome. We can choose to give up, we can choose to place blame on others, or we can choose to fight, get tougher, learn from our opportunities, and become unbeatable no matter what happens, or which surprises life may present us with. I am not saying this because it sounds good, I am saying this because I live it every day. I face daily challenges, learn from them, and make a decision to keep going, keep fighting, because I know that until we give up, we can conquer any challenge, any problem or obstacle on our life’s path. Everything boils down to what we choose to do and how we choose to react in any given situation.
Fall is a time of change, as leaves change their color, we have an opportunity to change as well. If things have not been going well during the year, why not take a step back and see what we may have done differently? Would we make the same choice as we did during the year knowing what we know now? If the answer is ‘no’ then this is a wonderful opportunity to reflect and change the course or change the approach on how we do certain things. Perhaps we need to change on how we view specific situations which we encounter on the regular basis at home or at work. Maybe, instead of getting frustrated because our day is packed with meetings and complain for barely having any time for other tasks, we thank our employer for an opportunity to be a part of a great organization that cares for its employees, for receiving regular paycheck which allows us to take care our family and put food on our family’s table, for giving us an opportunity to have very good health insurance and other benefits like taking time off whenever we need it to recharge.
If we run our own business, instead of complaining about financial losses and lack of profit, we take a step back and analyze our business model and see how our model aligns with the business plan, and actions that we take every day in running the business. Perhaps it is time to change our marketing strategy and reallocate marketing dollars towards other channels that we have not explored yet. Or, maybe, it is time to change our focus from trying to manage multiple projects at once and, instead, focus all of our time and energy on one or two projects so that we do not spread ourselves too thin.
My hope is that after reading this article you will see fall as a time of change, and not only what we see outside by observing leaves change their color and fall from the tree giving new leaves an opportunity to take their place next year, but as a opportunity to change inside by changing how we look at the world around us and how we respond to life’s lessons.
Patience is a key when it comes to creating and pursuing the future that we have always wanted and dreamed about
We all know what patience is, so I am not going to waste your time explaining the obvious. However, what I want to review and discuss is how important patience is in our daily lives. Often, we think that we have everything that we need in order to pursue any project or any opportunity at any time. We may have secured a financial capital, we may have received a required knowledge, plus some, in a specific subject, or business area, we have learned everything there is to know about marketing and advertising, we have created an awesome-looking and compelling collateral for our business, checked off all legal and compliance checkboxes and, despite a great deal of fear of unknow, we stepped into the world of business ownership and its management. And then comes what exactly? Absolutely nothing. So, we think that it is just a matter of time before customers and money would begin rolling in and we would not know what to do with all the revenue and profit that we will be generating from selling our awesome products and services. Right? Wrong. Nowhere close. What we often see is absolutely nothing. No customers, no calls, no emails, I mean, nothing. Then, we begin doubting everything that we did and continue to do. We begin questioning if our advertising is any good, if it makes sense, if it captures the right audience, it if is enough or too much. We also begin doubting ourselves, the products, and services that we create and offer for purchase. And the biggest question of all that just sits in our mind all the time and does not go anywhere is: “Maybe starting a business was not such a great idea after all. Maybe, I should have stayed and power through my “secure” 9-5 job and collect a paycheck every two weeks or every month?”
This is where patience really comes into play. This is where patience is absolutely required to break through our self-doubts and self-limiting beliefs, worries, concerns, and our own thoughts that make us question everything that we do and if we have made the right decision to do something different, something that has a potential to allow us to create a life that we have always wanted. That is why patience is so critical in such situations. Patience is what allows us to keep going, keep trying, keep waiting for things to turn around for a better soon enough, and all that we need to do is be patient. Who said that it is going to be easy? Nobody. Anything that is worth having and fighting for requires a great deal of effort, time, energy, resources, and, of course, patience.
Yes, starting something new and breaking off from what we have always done, stepping into the unknown will be difficult. We may not see the results that we were expecting to see, or any results for that matter for some time, and yes, it is difficult to accept, but that is the reality. What is important to remember is that eventually things will turn around and we will begin eating the fruits of our labor, determination, and patience. All we need to do is believe in ourselves, in products and services that we create and offer for others to buy and use, keep evaluating and enhancing our marketing and advertising efforts and spend, and never quit no matter how challenging things may get at times. Sun always comes out after a period of darkness, even if that period of darkness lasts longer than what we initially expected. Whenever we are struggling, when our mind forces us to start doubting ourselves, our ideas, our efforts, our goals, we must remind ourselves why we do what we do. We must remind ourselves why we have decided to change our life and lives of those who depend on us, and start our own business, putting everything on the line, including the false security of a 9-5 job. Doing so will help us remind ourselves why we embarked on the journey of self-employment and why keeping everything status quo was simply not an option that was on the table when the decision to change our life was made.
Believe in yourself, believe that everything eventually will work out and would result in an opportunity to finally change your life and lives of everyone who depends on you for a better and more fulfilling future. Be patient, work hard on creating products and services that others want and need, and continue to invest into advertising and marketing. You may create and offer best, top-quality products and services, but if nobody knows about you, your business, and why you do what you do, you are wasting your time. Would I want to waste my time, energy, and resources to create something that nobody knows anything about? I do not think so. If you are ever in doubt and not sure if what you do and offer makes sense, just ask yourself why you started whatever it is that you do and how that reason or those reasons align with your values. If reason(s) are still aligned with your values, then you are on the right path. So, just keep going, keep trying, keep believing in positive outcome, and BE PATIENT.
Playing it safe embracing the life of status quo, or taking risks in pursuit of change
One major and often critical roadblock that stops many of us from achieving the life that we want for ourselves and for our family is the fear to make a mistake. We have all these wants, ideas, thoughts, and dreams in our heads and think that we are ready to do whatever it takes in order to achieve everything that we want, however, as soon as things get real and it is time to actually take action which could potentially change our life forever, we freeze, we panic, we submit to fear of change and fear of making a mistake. As result, often, this fear takes over any and all of our plans and dreams that we had and causes us to delay or completely abandon anything that could potentially change our life for better or for worse. That is exactly why so many great ideas, business ventures, personal and professional goals go nowhere, or they go to the “I will revisit this later” folder in our mind. Unfortunately, as many of us have experienced this before, every thought, idea, or want that we place in “I will revisit this later” folder almost never gets retrieved and acted on. Why? Because every time we think about acting on anything that we have deferred before, we once again are faced with same fear of change and overwhelming fear to make a mistake which could negatively impact our own life and wellbeing of those that we love and care about.
Years go by, we get older, our priorities change, our circumstances change, and we no longer want or are able to pursue wants, goals, or dreams that we once had. So, we settle for the status quo and forever abandon the life that we could have had if we were not so afraid of change, taking chances, and making mistakes. The unfortunate part is that we only realize all this after opportunities and time passes us by without leaving any changes of returning.
Is this how we want to live our life, giving up on our own lifelong goals and dreams, disregarding any opportunities that may result in life-changing moments? That is not how I choose to live my life. I have procrastinated in the past, I was afraid of taking chances that could have resulted in potentially negative outcomes for me and my family, which often led me nowhere. Therefore, I have made a decision that I will no longer allow fear and uncertainty to dictate how I live my life or what decisions I make. I am choosing to take risks, explore all opportunities that come my way that that may have a potential of creating a positive life-long changes in my life. What I do not want is to look back few years from now on my life and all opportunities that were ignored and left behind due to my inaction and fear and regret not taking action sooner when I had a chance, abandoning my goals and dreams.
We as human beings are the only ones who are responsible for choices and decisions that we make throughout our life. Therefore, if you choose to follow your dreams and put fear of change and fear of failure aside, good for you. However, if you choose to keep everything in your life as is because you are completely satisfied and happy with how things are, all I can say is that I am happy for you and wish you only the best.
Being in control and getting things done using the approach that works best for us
Are you energized by having autonomy in your place of business, or do you prefer having someone finding and directing you to what you should be doing/pursuing?
I, personally, enjoy having a sense of freedom and autonomy in everything that I do. I always strive to paint my own picture of the future and choose actions and opportunities that would allow me to reach my goals and objectives in my professional and personal lives. However, every person is different, and we tend to approach problem solving and personal and professional development differently, which is absolutely ok. If you are someone who is motivated and energized by having one or more people, business leaders, setting goals and objectives on your behalf, and then having a series of regular checkpoints scheduled to check and monitor your progress against objectives set, that is ok.
Whichever approach works best for us, helping us, and motivating us to work hard towards and accomplishing goals/objectives set, that is the approach that we should embrace and use. At the end of the day, what matters is that we deliver on our goals and objectives, as long as the method that we use does not prevents us from pursuing our own personal and professional goals.
If your preference is autonomy in everything that you do, that is great. What is especially important to remember is we should find ourselves and work with a mentor what we can call on anytime we are stuck and in need of an advice on the best way to solve a particular problem or respond to a specific situation that we may be facing. Even the most confident and independent individuals sometimes need a helping hand, guidance, point of view from someone whom they trust and view as a subject matter expert in a particular topic, field, or subject. Often, we may think that we know everything and can do everything on our own, but unfortunately, that is far from reality. Therefore, if we are in need of help and guidance, or for in need for someone to simply hear us out, then we should absolutely reach out for help, setting our own personal egos aside.
Lastly, we should remember to enjoy what we do every day. Because when we do, our approaches to getting things done do not really matter. Why? Because, when we enjoy what we do, everything else will eventually be good, even if we must overcome few obstacles along the way. Be happy and simply have fun with what you do.
Risk-averse mindset blinded by the unrealistic expectations of high reward or gain
What is risk-averse mindset anyway? It is when regardless of the take we are contemplating in pursuing, the project that we are considering on taking on, or an opportunity that we are thinking about exploring, our number one goal is to make sure that level of risk involved in either endeavor is near or at zero. We do not want to take on any risk at all, and we do not feel comfortable when even the slightest element of risk is present in anything that we do or consider doing. Moreover, at the same time many of us with a risk-averse mindset also have high expectations of a big reward or gain from minimal to no risk actions that we are will in to take in pursuit of our or someone else’s goals. Now, thinking realistically, based on my personal experience, is there typically such a thing as high gain or reward with minimal to zero level of risk? In my opinion and experience, there is no such thing. What I have noticed over the years is that the level of risk that we are willing and ready to take on is usually closely correlated to the potential reward or gain that we may expect as a result. Therefore, with that in mind, I always find it interesting to listen to individuals who have grand plans for their life, their finances, career, etc., but at the same time these individuals are unwilling to try, and act on their goals and objectives in hopes of reaching them, because they are afraid of taking any risk and the fear of failing. Well, what one can expert in such situation and risk-averse mindset, with the fear of failure, is seeing things remain status quo, with zero progress being achieved towards accomplishment of their goals. The question that we should be asking ourselves here is: “How can I expect for things to change in my life when I am afraid to try and take any risks due to the overwhelming fear of potentially failing in my attempts?” This is the question that many of us choose to avoid at all costs, and instead, we choose to keep doing what we have been doing all along, without trying to change anything in our life, take risks, and do anything that could potentially get us closer to the reaching our goals and dreams that we are so ready to share anytime with everyone that we know.
One thing I know from my personal experience is that introduction of a change and calculated and carefully considered levels of risk, versus its avoidance, can bring some unexpected, surprising, and often positive changes and opportunities into our life. Over the years I have taken many calculated and analyzed risks and had welcomed many changes in to my and my family’s lives. I am not going to tell you that taking on risks and accepting changes, especially when such changes impacted someone other than me. At times it was exceedingly difficult and scary, however, I knew that if I avoid and run away from accepting changes and taking risks that come with that, I could not expect for things to change for a better for me and my family. For example, relocating from one state to another, over a thousand miles away from parents and friends, packing everything we had, and moving by car was extremely risky and difficult decisions that me and my wife had to make. We did not know what to expect, if our lifestyle and everything that we expect will become a reality or not, we did not if things will be better or worse with us relocating more than once over the years, however, we always chose to be optimistic and focused only on the positive outcome, no matter what happens. I am pleased to say that we have never regretted our decisions to relocate from state to state, when opportunity called, every time completely changing our lives, leaving status quo behind every time. No matter where we were, which state or city we made our home, we always looked for the best in every situation and were thankful for everything and everyone that was and is in our lives. Sure, sometimes things were hard, but most of the time we found the positive changes and opportunities that we were seeking at any given point in our lives. One thing I know for sure, is that I will keep on working hard, remain as determined as I have ever been, and focused on creating positive change and opportunities for me and my family, and will not stop until everything that I want and expect to accomplish in my life has been achieved.