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"It's Hard to Imagine"

by Dave Balch, "The Stay-at-Home CEO"™

(c) 2001, A Few Good People, Inc.

I was driving through the fog in 35-degree temperatures and a forestry truck passed me.  I remember thinking that the fire danger must be zero; “It’s hard to imagine that it will ever be so hot and dry again that the fire danger will be high.”   But I knew that it would be.  Then I realized that when it is so hot and dry, it will be hard to imagine it being as cold and foggy as it is now.   But I knew that it would be.  This area has been going through the same cycles since the beginning of time, and will continue to do so until the end of time.

            It occurred to me that the same could be said for many things in life.  Take your health, for example.  When you are feeling well, it’s hard to imagine that you will ever have another cold; that sore throat, stuffy nose, headaches, muscle aches.  It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it?  I’m sorry to say this, but you undoubtedly will have another cold.  By the same token, when you are sick it’s hard to imagine feeling well again.   But you probably will be.  Cycles:  sick, well, sick, well.  What a funny world this is.

The same can be said for your business.  When things are not going well, it’s hard to imagine prosperity, but if you stick with it better times are bound to be around the corner.  By the same token, when things are going really well, it’s hard to imagine hard times, but don’t be lulled into complacency, or they will be upon you faster than “you can imagine”.

I remember a time when I had a problem with an employee that was draining me financially.  He wasn’t stealing from me, at least not in the literal sense.  But he was costing me plenty and not producing.  By the time I got it resolved I had gone from doing pretty well to $50,000 in debt.  My business credit line was maxed out.   I remember thinking that I couldn’t imagine getting out of this hole and “doing well” again.  It was very discouraging but I kept at it and, sure enough, was out of debt sooner than I expected.

Think about that example.  I said “…I had gone from doing pretty well to $50,000 in debt.”  When I was “doing pretty well”, I couldn’t have imagined that I would ever be in the pickle I found myself in; namely $50,000 in debt.  There are those cycles again!  Is it possible that when things were going great that I got a little complacent, a little lazy?  Very possible!  Did that complacency or laziness contribute to the decline?  Probably.

The lesson is this:  understand that your business, like many things in life, will run in cycles.  It’s easy to get complacent when things are great, and it’s easy to get discouraged when they are not.  So don’t.  If you keep at it all the time you can exploit the good times and minimize the bad.  Imagine that!

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