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When You’re Going Through Hell . . . Keep on Going!

Going Through Professional Purgatory:  Personal experience has it, and national headlines confirm, businesses are scrambling to keep their heads above water, many not surviving. Like many small business owners, I have my fair share of trials and tribulations.  I’m constantly hustling for new clients, larger accounts, and breaking into more lucrative sectors. At the same time, recruiting, hiring, and retaining outstanding employees feels akin to running on the perpetual hamster wheel of labor employment.  And if that weren’t enough, add to it drastically increased costs –raise in minimum wage, the unprecedented increase in gas prices, and vendors nearly doubling their prices for products. It’s fair to say I’ve got a few mountains ahead of me.

Keep on Going: And yet, the human will to survive attests to strengths that psychologists label as GRIT and resilience, among other virtues. I reflected on my own strengths, not as an attempt to self-aggrandize, but because it is important to consciously acknowledge one’s own stock of special powers and secret weapons.  Being fully aware of them allows me to consciously pick and choose which ones I will summon for a given occasion. I regularly draw on these three to help me navigate those tricky waters and keep going.

  • Being decisive –One of my crucial leadership skills is simply to make a decision. In my line of work, there are dozens of decisions to be made and I find that people are reluctant to opt for one course of action over another. That is, no one wants to decide. I have clients and employees who can’t decide: Do I want to start with the bathroom or kitchen? Do I want this cleaning package or that one? In a world of people who don’t want to make decisions, one of my strengths is to be decisive and set us on a course of action.
  • Getting GRITty –Real leaders are willing to get down and dirty and do what it takes to get the job done –over and over and over again. Day in, day out; year in and year out.  GRIT is about having passion and perseverance despite the obstacles. For example, with labor challenges,  I’ve taken over cleaning. When there’s only four of you or when there are no jobs at all, closing is not an option. I dig in even deeper and make it happen.
  • Solving problems –I love it; That might sound odd, after all who doesn’t like smooth sailing and calm waters? Well, I thrive on coming up with best solutions for whatever challenges the day presents. Even when things are going well, I still like to make things better. I always want to improve things. After all, why just be good, when we can be great?

Taking time to remember my strengths is incredibly empowering and motivating, especially during those tough times.  After all, it’s much easier to take on the mountains in front of us when we realize all the mountains we’ve already climbed.

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