Through several recessions, I always have found predictability in business. You just compensated for changing economics. Companies spending big bucks and hiring fancy, showhorse firms switched to workhorses and lower budgets. I live in the workhorse world, so it presented opportunities.
The current state of affairs has created a condition I’ve never seen in 38 years of business—pervasive wibble-wobble. Essentially, it’s pivoting to nowhere—letting fear and uncertainty drive the bus around in circles.
One of my favorite Theodore Roosevelt quotes states, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” Many decisions, or “indecisions” if you will, are based on doing nothing and waiting…and waiting…and waiting.
There’s a natural tendency to pull back when a pandemic, politics and economic havoc have combined to create the perfect storm of terror. But, this is the time for “perfect perseverance.” While exercising prudence, you still need to move forward somehow, some way on the presumption that we will survive, conditions will improve and the earth will continue to revolve on its axis.
There have been many times over the past four decades when wibble-wobble likely would have taken me down. By moving forward, even when some choices turned out to be anemic, I always found a way to keep going. In turn, it’s helped me help others—which is key to customer service excellence.
This isn’t a tale of heroism or Herculean wisdom. It’s simply about doing what we as human beings are hard-wired to do in every facet of our lives—progress. Stagnation, the enemy of progress, is summed up by a great quote from Frederick Bonfils, founder of the Denver Post: “There is no hope for the satisfied man.”
The solution? Follow in the footsteps of Thomas Edison, who said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Do something, try something, move forward in some way in both your life and livelihood. Use the current state of affairs as a platform for progress.
These steps don’t all have to be gargantuan. Consider baby steps. For example, early in the pandemic—when my clubhouse weight room and swimming pool closed—I re-invented a workout routine that I’m using to this day. When those amenities re-opened, I combined everything. I believe it’s the best workout regimen I’ve had for a long time. And, I’ve been doing this for decades.
One business step I took in May was to contact the Costco Connection editor with a story idea tied to customer service in times both good and bad. I made a very strong case for my article. An hour later an editor contacted me with the go-ahead. In August, it published in the nation’s fourth largest magazine with 14+ million circulation. Published Costco Connection information claims readership twice that, around 30 million.
To put it mildly, the article is proving a boon for business and personal connections. People I haven’t communicated with in nearly four decades have reached out because of it.
Bottom line, I over-rode my fear of rejection and self-doubt—and it paid off.
We all have fears, and they’re very legitimate. We call have doubts, and they can feel overwhelming. And, we all have it within us to plow forward with our best efforts—no matter what the outcome. Ability to progress under any conditions will prove to be a primary way to overcome fear that keeps knocking on the door.
As I celebrate 38 years in business this September, I’m recalling lessons learned and how those lessons will impact the future. In late August 1982, I asked my boss to become my first client. I had a dog, mortgage and $600 in the bank. With his thumbs-up, a marketing education gained with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and a creative, persevering brain (thanks dad, mom and stepmom Lois), I went to the mountains the next day and sat on a lounge chair in a river reading and drinking a six-pack. The following Monday, I started Mark Lusky Communications with a commitment to provide solid customer service and high-quality writing and marketing communications.
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Mark Lusky (aka The Happy Curmudgeon)
is the owner of a Denver-based marketing communications firm. He’s a veteran writer, storyteller and author, with 40+ years of public relations, advertising, marketing and journalism experience, and author of A Wandering Wondering Jew… and co-author of Don’t Get Mad, Get Leverage.