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Winners or Whiners

Jim Lynn, a trade show specialist and friend, gave a presentation recently in which he referred to trade show exhibitors as being either "winners or whiners". In his extensive experience, he said most trade show exhibitors fell into one of these two categories. The winners were people who had properly planned their exhibit and objectives for the trade show; the whiners did not.

As I listened my thoughts expanded on this theme: the winners took responsibility for their show results. This means taking control, using one's power to make changes and to affect outcomes. While the results may not be what we desire, I find most successful people focus on how to improve outcomes, rather than blaming someone or something after the fact. Successful people look for solutions to problems as opposed to being victims of them.

Many entrepreneurs start their own business because they want to be their own boss. They all realize they are responsible for their own success; if they did not know it when they started, they learn it soon afterward! If they went into business to get away from a former boss, the realization that success or failure is completely their responsibility may be difficult, even overwhelming.

While we cannot change many things that impact our business or personal lives, we can change how we deal with outside factors. We can adapt to changing conditions to minimize their impact. We can sometimes even turn adversity into opportunity. For example, I can't do much to change an economic downturn, but I can deliver services that help my clients deal with worsened conditions and help them find alternatives. Such tactics adapt my business to present conditions and may even improve the bottom line. Then, when the economy turns around, I can again adapt and offer services dealing with client growth.

Taking responsibility does not need to be a lonely endeavor. With responsibility comes the power to use all available resources. Your resources include other people, such as friends, employees, and your network of professionals. You may be surprised how many people are willing, when asked, to lend a helping hand. Seek their advice or assistance, while you remain responsible for making final decisions and implementing new practices.

The concept of taking responsibility and exercising control over our destiny is not new; we all do it everyday in small ways. However, we may not be aware of the magnitude of control we really have. We all seem to have gremlins in our heads that tell us life is beyond our control. So we do the easy thing; we do nothing but whine. I want to remind you that you have much more control and ability than you may realize. You just need to take responsibility and apply yourself.

Our success and happiness in business and our personal lives comes from the choices we make, including taking responsibility for the outcomes. Are you a winner or a whiner? Which do you want to be? The choice is yours.

By: Gary J. Hessenaur, C.P.A.

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