Business Tips: “Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative”

It’s easy to get caught up in a pit of negativity, especially when free time dwindles and schedules become busier than rush-hour traffic. We complain about the service at fast food joints if it’s not turbocharged, dwell on interactions gone awry, and get angry when we “can’t even get 3G” on our phones in areas with weak reception. That’s why when I came across Neil Pasricha’s blog, 1000 Awesome Things, I was refreshed to find someone paying tribute to the little things: “The smell of rain on a hot sidewalk,” “Perfect parallel-parking on the first try,” and “Tossing garbage in the trash can from far away.”

Pasricha’s blog isn’t a prescriptive list of methods for garnering happiness, but simply a reminder of the things that make us happy. There are a number of books that offer a more direct approach to bringing positivity to our lives, though, like the one I recommended this month in the leadership group for small business owners that I’m a part of: A Happy Pocket Full of Money, which instructs readers on how to bring abundance to their lives by giving and forming favorable relationships and through applying newfound discoveries in theoretical physics.

I was introduced to this work while reading Bob Doyle’s Follow Your Passion, which similarly explores the concept of the Law of Attraction. Though it’s a difficult and sometimes dense read, once you make it through the first chapter on quantum physics you’ll gain a greater understanding of certain universal laws, why they work, and more importantly – why they don’t.  I found that business picked up tremendously within weeks of starting the book.  I turned a few others onto it, too, who ended up having the same success in their businesses as I was having.  Deals assumed to be dead finally closed, opportunities seemed to show up out of nowhere, clients signed on the dotted line, and revenue increased.

Without deeply analyzing the principles of quantum physics and the Law of Attraction, one underlying concept that became clear to me in reading these works is this: negativity is the ultimate blockade to progress. Regardless of where the negativity stems from, if it’s bogging down any conversation surrounding your business, relationships, finances, and so forth, it’s pretty much proven to have a negative effect. I’d like to propose that we all act a little more like Neil Pasricha, and begin appreciating all the awesome happenings in our lives: we need to focus on the good.

Whether the country votes Democratic or Republican in the upcoming presidential election is as of yet to be determined, but what is apparent is that our economy is teetering on another recession. Many economists are predicting a less than stellar upcoming year – perhaps one that’s worse than the 2008-2009 calendar year.

As you are working on your goals and business plan for 2013, ask yourself: what can you do better? What can you can give to others? Those who hoard are rarely recipients of good opportunities from others. Appreciate your clients, your staff, your opportunities, your partners, yourself.  Give to others – make introductions, give referrals – even give your competition opportunities that just aren’t the right fit for you. You’ll be amazed at what comes back to you.  Give for the sake of giving and without expectation.  Think of it like Christmas: it feels good to see the smile on someone’s face when you give him or her a gift.  That feeling could exist year-round and it could be just what your business needs during a troubled economy to thrive – so long as your make an effort to give.


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Why Labeling Clients is Bad for Business

“Once you label me you negate me.” – Soren Kierkegaard

We are a culture obsessed with labels – from the ones displayed on our designer jeans to the titles we use in the workplace to distinguish higher-ups from entry-level employees. Categorizing people, places, and objects is a way of simplifying our lives, of easily defining who is who and compartmentalizing them in our minds.

But labels are also risky – they make us inclined to expect certain behavior from certain people, which can cause us to project negative attitudes onto them. I see this happening a lot in the world of business. Oftentimes, business and sales people might judge their clients before much interaction has even taken place. It’s not something I’m proud to admit happens in the sector, but it’s a reality, and labels like “annoying,” “needy,” and “high-maintenance” might get tossed around as descriptors for clients with specific needs.

Usually, I find that applying such labels has a guarantee of making them come true – they are self-fulfilling prophecies, so to speak. If you dread dealing with a client because you regard them as any of the aforementioned problematic labels, then it makes sense that they are going to seem annoying, needy, and high-maintenance. This, I think, is what Kierkegaard was getting at in his famous quote – assigning a label has a way of automatically nullifying who an individual is beyond the classification. That is to say that all other distinctive aspects of a person fade away so that the label takes precedence.

Needless to say, this only makes doing business more difficult, which is why I’d like to propose a challenge: leave the labels behind. Rather than ascribing strict designating terms to people, think of your prospects more generally: as an opportunity to help someone. I guarantee it’ll make your interactions with clients more pleasant, and your attitude about working with them much more positive.

At Springboard, our sales team is committed to letting go of labels, and our resulting positive approach to sales makes our business development successful, expanding your company with our outsourced services.

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