As I was walking the unseasonably hot 90-degree streets in New York the other day, rushing between my meetings, I was struck by a thought.
I spend a lot of time hearing about how bad the economy is and wondering why, if the depth of that were true, is it not more universally being felt. In The Great Depression EVERYONE knew and felt there was a depression. As I question entrepreneurs in my circles, they are weary, but filled with promise. The pioneers are still pioneering and the watchers are still wondering. What is the difference between making it happen and worrying about it happening? It's the water.
Parched as I ran through the city, I wished I was a marathon runner, where water lined the marathon route. In all the bodegas I passed there was somebody inside worrying that there was water everywhere, but they were not selling a drop, and there were hurried passersby with no time to come in and sip. It occurred to me that those entrepreneurs that are stepping out from behind the storefronts of their worry to meet their customers are actually doing more and worrying less. If the focus was the customer, then on a 90-degree day bringing the water out to the street for a quick grab it and run would translate into no time to worry and a lot of water being sold.
If you take the time to notice and ask those that are meeting their customers on the street, they are worrying far less. According to Randy Friedman , author of Your Inner Swing , "The Power of Gratitude is an important aspect of attracting everything to you that you desire and deserve in your life. The power of gratitude will move mountains for you. He says to think of yourself as a giant magnet. No matter what you are feeling, whether its love, fear, anger, happiness, anger, joy, gratitude, etc., you are in essence creating a magnetic force that attracts and draws to you events, conditions and circumstances which are in direct connection to what you are feeling. Fear of something creates a magnetic force that attracts more of what you fear. Expressing Gratitude for any situation projects a magnetic force that draws to you more of what you are expressing gratitude for."
When we are truly operating from a place of gratitude for our customers, then we function as a magnet to meet their needs. Just giving people what they want, when they come to get it, is not enough to keep us from worrying. Being in gratitude and worrying can't exist at the same time. In this sphere of gratitude, we can clearly feel our customers desires and are operating from a deep well of resources. We know when they are thirsty and how to quench that thirst.
In taking a moment away from your fear to look, there are businesses that are thriving, despite all the gloom of this economy. There are restaurants that are busy, stores that are crowded, businesses that are surviving. The well is deep, but how do we tap the flow? The beauty salon that is offering free hair cuts to the unemployed, the pastry shop offering samples from the other side of the counter, the coffee bar that is staying open longer, the cheese shop that is partnering with the wine shop, etc. When it's raining the shop owner that steps outside with their customers will sell more umbrellas. In every business there is a way to meet customer needs in a new way.
If we take the time to step in front of those that we serve and ask them with gratitude what can we do to serve them better, our days will be filled with possibilities instead of worry. Better than lying awake at night fearing our competition, how can we partner with them to best serve the customer? If your customers are not standing right in front of you, where are they standing? The Metropolitan Opera , instead of bemoaning the theatre as competition, realized that they could partner with theaters to meet their huge audiences by creating the Met: Live in HD  series for fans to experience the Met at thier local movie theaters. From each trying situation comes stronger, more determined winners. We can't change the economy, but we can change our gratitude for what we have to attract more of what we want.
"It all depends on how we look at things, and not how they are in themselves" (Carl Gustav Jung ).
Business as usual is not an option.
I would love to hear examples that you see of entrepreneurs that "have skin in the game" by stepping out from business as usual.