I remember a number of years ago, I met with an individual who worked at a large company, who had enrolled in a stress management class that I would be teaching. As a part of my pre-class interview, I asked him why he wanted to take the course. He said, “My job in accounting can be very stressful and every morning around 11 a.m., I start to get a headache. When that happens, I reach into my desk drawer and take a couple of these.” Without saying another word he reached into his desk drawer and pulled out one of the biggest bottles of aspirins I ever saw. It was industrial-sized! I didn’t know they packaged aspirin in such large containers. He went on to say, “After I come back from lunch, my stomach is usually upset, so I take a tablespoon of Pepto Bismol.” Then he reached back into his desk drawer and pulled out a gigantic bottle of pink Pepto Bismol to show me.
I began to see that stress was causing him some real health concerns. I must say, for a moment, I was speechless. I thought to myself, how can one person be so reliant on drugs to help him get through the day? The aspirin alone was eating holes in his stomach. He knew that if he kept on this path, he was headed for some major health problems, and he finally decided that it was time to try something different.
The sad fact is that many people today do not realize the emotional and physical damage they are doing to themselves by allowing stress to control their lives. When they let a stressful job or relationship cause them to react by trying to artificially take control of their anxiety, they are creating even more serious problems.
As billionaire oilman J. Paul Getty once said, “Don’t be surprised by trouble.” In other words, if you are running a green industry company, you can expect a steady stream of problems, big and small, to come around and play in your backyard, just to see what kind of person you really are.
Life tests each and every one of us on a daily basis. Our job is to deal with challenges, and after doing so, to become a wiser and better person for it. As I tell my consulting clients, when it comes to stress, if what you are doing is not working, it will cost you in terms of time, money, and most costly of all, your health.
If we don’t have the tools to effectively deal with opportunities that come dressed as problems, we will lose. With that understanding, let’s take a look at some strategies that are designed to help you handle the stressors you face on a daily basis as you attempt to do your best to profitably run your green industry business.
The 30-Day Test
Studies have shown that what we worry about can be divided in to the following percentages and categories.
—40% which never happen
—30% have already happened
—12% needless concern about our health
—10% trivial things
—8% something worth being concerned about and taking action to resolve.
Based on this research, it is easy to see that 92% of the things we worry about are not worth worrying about.
Just to prove it to yourself, I encourage you to use this exercise.
Take out a sheet of paper and write down everything you are worried about right now. Date it with today’s date and then insert this list into an envelope. Seal it and print on the outside of the envelope these instructions: ‘Do not open until’...with a date 30 days in the future.
After thirty days, open the envelope and go through the list, classifying each one under the appropriate category I cited earlier, from the studies on what we worry about. Chances are, you will discover that 92% of what you were worrying about falls into those various categories.
The next two methods will show you how to solve the problems you are facing.
Four Magic Questions for Solving Your Problems
Here is one of my favorites. When you are faced with a worrisome problem, try using this simple formula from Dale Carnegie.
Take a sheet of paper and write out these questions and completely answer them:
a. What is the problem?
b. What are all the possible causes?
c. What are all the possible solutions?
d. What is the best solution? Now take action on the best solution and you will easily solve most of the problems that you ever encounter.
How to Make a Mega Risk Decision
Simply living your life is a risk. However, it has often been said that with risk comes opportunity. The greater the risk, the greater the opportunity. In order to take full advantage of an opportunity, when it presents itself in the form of a risk, one needs to have a strategy to deal with it. Nido Qubein, business consultant, offers an excellent formula for making tough decisions that involve a great deal of risk.
The first part of this formula consists of three questions that you must ask yourself and your management team:
1. What is the best thing that could happen if I take this risk?
2. What is the worst thing that could happen if I take this risk?
3. What is the most likely thing that will happen if I take this risk?
Once you have answered these three questions, there are two more you must ask.
1. If the best thing happens, will it get me closer to my goals?
2. Can I live with the worst thing, if it should happen?
If you answer yes to both, then go for it. It you answer no to either one, do not go for it.
When you approach the decision to take a mega risk with this formula, you will enhance your ratio for successful risk-taking.
Far too often, people let opportunity slip through their fingers because they don’t have a strategy to handle it. They look at the opportunity—disguised in wolf’s clothing— as a problem or a threat they don’t want to deal with. Using any or all three of these methods can help you run a more profitable and successful business without excess stress. And that is the kind of real success that can help you fearlessly make quantum leaps forward, allowing you to achieve consistent growth and happiness in growing your green industry business.
So there you have it. These three strategies will help you solve your problems, reduce your stress and improve your happiness with running your green industry company. Feel free to contact me with your questions.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Tom Borg works with small and mid-sized green industry companies to improve customer acquisition and retention. For more information or to ask him a question, contact him at 734-404-5909 or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at www.tomborgconsulting.com.