Failing or Waiting to Fail

As we talk each day to clients and potential clients, they often discuss the economy and most discuss a slowdown in business and revenue. If not their business, then perhaps their customer’s businesses.

What I find particularly interesting is the number of people that insist the economy is the ONLY problem with their business. 

“We were doing great until the economy slumped and now we just have to wait it out.” 

“I know I’m a great salesman but in this economy no one is buying. There is nothing I can do about it.”

It has made me wonder, if the economy is THE cause of their problems now (as many claim), does that mean the economy gets ALL the credit for the money these people made during surging economies?

Concerned WomanIn other words, can anyone that blames the economy exclusively still honestly take credit for success when the economy is booming? After all, if you just ride the winds of the economy, what can you take credit and blame for personally and professionally? 

Let me be candid. “It’s totally beyond my control” is NOT a very professional business plan. And it does not communicate  a professional image either.

I submit that the economy is “A” problem but not “THE” problem. Realize, if it is “THE” problem for you, you are essentially admitting that you are powerless. Who wants to hire a powerless professional? And how do you explain those that are still making money in this economy when others are failing? Granted, it may be less money, but there is a difference in those that are succeeding and those that are failing. 

Which are you?  Which do you want to be? 

What are you doing differently to be successful?  Are you adapting?

I encourage you to be sure you are looking at yourself PROFESSIONALLY. Be a businessperson. Be proactive. And proactive can be a number of things, from a new approach to a change of professions. 

Company LeaderThe most successful business people adapt. Many will even have more than one career over their lifetime. But I don’t see any of the successful people using “wait for the economy to improve” as their exclusive business plan, their marketing message or their personal career plan. If one line of business or a project does not work… STOP IT. Find something that does work. 

Failing is not the same as waiting to Fail. The former is active, the latter is passive. If you or your business or career is struggling right now then which are you doing? And what are you going to do about it?

Many businesses will fail in a down economy and granted some will have had a proactive plan. But most that fail will have deserved to fail and their leadership will sincerely (but not necessarily correctly) believe it was not their fault. I suppose that is human nature. 

I believe a failure can be a blessing if you learn from it and use that information next time. But most waste that lesson and then repeat the same mistakes in good times. After all, if it is not your fault, there is nothing you can fix or change.

My encouragement to you is to not simply wait for your fate. That becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Be proactive, whatever that may be for you. Do not fear bad decisions because even postponing a decision is also a decision. If you make a bad decision, correct it and go another direction.

Be a professional. Be a business person. And if you don’t know how, find a mentor (The most successful people I know also know when to ask for guidance!)

Oh, and stop telling everyone that the economy is the only problem.  It makes you look powerless and unprofessional!


About the Author

Glenn S. Phillips works with leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. An author and blogger, Glenn is often quoted in national media, plays a really ugly tuba (it even has a bullet hole) and is a fan of dark chocolate and great puns.