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3 ways to keep your chin up in hard times

One of the books on my business book shelf is one by Jeffrey Gitomer called “Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Golden Book of YES! Attitude – How to Find, Build and Keep a YES! Attitude for a lifetime of Success.”  I love this little book.  I love Jeffrey Gitomer’s style of directly saying what he means.  Attitude is so important…especially so when you feel challenged all around.

Right now in the United States and many other countries of the world business is difficult.  The economy has people hurting.  People have lost their homes or are in jeopardy of doing so.  Many people have been laid off their jobs, downsized, had their paychecks cut or fear any of those happening.  Many people expect that they won’t see any raises or bonuses this year.  Consumers are cutting back on spending which in turn is hurting businesses that sell consumer goods.  If sales get too slow, then those businesses may have to lay off workers, scale back…it’s a difficult picture.

So what can you do to keep your chin up?  What if you have a small home-based business and you are dependent upon customers buying your products?  What if you’ve lost some customers because they’ve tightened their belts?  When times are hard, they are hard for everyone.

Keep your chin up by:

  1. Being grateful every day for what you do have.  This sounds like a cliche, but the very act of acknowledging gratefulness can, I believe, put you in a positive frame of mind.  I’m old enough now to be able to look back on some hard times in my life and I know how hard it can be to put this gratefulness-thing into practice.  There was a time when my daughters were little girls [both are grown and married now] and it was just the three of us – I had a low-paying job, we had no health insurance and daycare took over 1/3 of my monthly salary.  That particular year was so difficult that I had to go to a food bank just to have Thanksgiving dinner.  However, I was able to be very grateful because I was blessed to be mom to two beautiful little girls. 
  2. Do your very best work.  There are days when it seems pointless to care about doing a good job….days when you feel you  just can’t smile at one more customer who ends up just browsing and not buying; or you hear one more customer service complaint; or you read the memo that says paychecks will be cut by 5%.  You can feel as though what’s the use of trying?  Who cares?  I believe it’s times like these when personal integrity ought to come to the forefront and you dig deep and do your very best work because that is what you do.   Even if you are the only person who cares, your opinion about it matters to you.  Hard times do not last forever. However bad impressions can.  Do your very best now, during hard times, and they will be remembered when times are good.  Some years ago I worked for a retail clothing store, high-end lines of clothing, and the store’s policy was to accept returns on purchases no matter what.  As a sales person, if someone brought you something to return it went against your sales for that day.  There was a day when a customer brought in some clothing to return and the amount was over $1000.  And I made no sales that day.  It was miserable.  But I did my best work that day and was helpful and courteous to the few browsers who came in.  The next day one of those ladies came back and purchased an entire wardrobe for her upcoming cruise…from me.  She told me that I had been so nice to her the day prior that she wanted to work with me again.  Her purchase that day more than made up for the previous day’s negative sales.  If I had allowed the bad day to negatively affect my attitude I think there would have been no way this customer would have returned.
  3. Smile.  This one thing, one action, can have remarkable effect.  Smiles are contagious.  Smiles make people who receive them feel validated.  Smiles – truly sincere and spontaneous – can lift another’s spirits and change moods.  What if you were to smile and add polite conventions to it like saying “please” and “thank you?”  I started getting into a habit of always thanking a waitperson for whatever they do when I’m at a restaurant – I thank them for bringing my drink and thank them every time they refill my glass.  I smile and try to use their name if they’ve given it and/or it’s on their name tag.  Since doing this I have noticed I get much better service most of the time.  Smile even when you feel you don’t have anything to smile about. 

Being grateful for something everyday, doing your very best work every day and smiling can help you to keep your chin up during hard times.

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the great advice! I’m a small business owner and let me tell you, it’s been challenging to stay positive when looking at the state of our times. This entry was very encouraging!

  2. Very sound advice and good recommendation. I’ll have to pick that up. And you’re right about gratefulness.. we definitely forget that and we shouldn’t.

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