Skinny Alligators

Jim Blasingame Marc Allen is the author of Visionary Business and A Visionary Life, and co-founder of New World Library. He is also one of a handful of friends to whom I turn to talk with me about acquiring and maintaining balance in our lives. I really like the way Marc blends capitalism and spiritualism.

In small business we have so many "alligators" chomping on us. (If you're tired of the alligator metaphor, I have coined a new term that has been approved by the PC Police, "ubiquitous stress companion," or USC for short.) Marc has shared something with us he learned that has helped me and my audience deal with allig... I mean, USCs. He says whenever he has to tackle a difficult problem he repeats the following affirmation:

"I will deal with this (cashflow problem, difficult employee, life decision, etc.) in an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way."

It is also helpful as an affirmation to start the day. I use it in concert with prayer. Clear your mind of other things except the issue at hand. Then close your eyes, and as you are taking and releasing a deep breath, say those words. Focus on the key words: easy, relaxed, healthy, positive. Try saying it to yourself first, and then out loud. For some reason, I think out loud helps me to focus better. Perhaps letting your ears hear the words helps them sink in.

If you are going to survive in small business, let alone succeed, you have to learn to manage USCs for two very important reasons: Your business and yourself.

1. Your business. You are where the buck stops; the Alpha Member of your organization. If you don't make it, nobody makes it. And even if you are worried that you might not make it, you have to make your Beta Members believe that you've got your corn flakes together. Your business depends on your ability to keep your head "when all about you others are losing theirs." Put bluntly, it's your job to manage the USCs.

2. Yourself. Especially your spirit. You know, the energy that moves your protoplasm. The only thing that's different about identical twins. Like navels, everybody has one and they're all different. (Not sure about identical twin's navels.) Anyway, you probably take care of your protoplasm: healthy diet, exercise, all that. For some reason, that's pretty intuitive. But are you nourishing your spirit? This part is very important: USCs don't go for the jugular, they go for your spirit. It's their food, and they like to eat. If you feel stressed out and spiritually undernourished, check your USCs. I think you will find that they are fat, healthy, and ready to go best-two-falls-out-of-three with your spirit.

Marc and I agree that one way to nourish your spirit is to define success in terms other than stuff. At the top of my list is family, especially my relationship with my children. Success can be measured by having friends and being a friend. You get the idea. Definitely NOT just stuff.

Write this on a rock... Find out what nourishes your spirit, stock up, and then feed it every day. Easy ... relaxed ... healthy ... positive. Remember, the only good USC is a skinny USC.

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