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The Secret to Changing Your Outlook

Instead of buying in to the gloom and doom, ask yourself: What's not wrong?

Call me a heretic, but I just don't think we're collectively circling the drain. I know it makes for mundane water cooler talk, but I actually think that now is the most opportune time to start a business, take risks, expand and operate a solid, efficient, purposeful business.

The market beckons the tenacious, the curious, and those who truly believe in what they do and the manner in which they do it. Now's the time when the market is asking you to serve clients the way you do best. That's all you need to differentiate yourself from your competitors and solidify the trust your clients have placed in you.

I hope I'm not the only one who sees the opportunity in this set of continually changing economic circumstances.

Join the Club
During a recent discussion with a group of wealth advisors in Chicago about how changing your mindset can transform your interactions with clients, one advisor said, "The trouble is, it's not fashionable to be positive right now." And it's true--it's haute couture to be down-in-the-mouth and digging in for the hard times. It's all the rage to be unhappy--even one-up each other with predictions about how things might change and how unhappy you will be if and when they do.

Worry and fear make us all "part of the club," but it's a strange club to want to join if you consider that multiple studies have shown people who're generally happy and take a positive approach to whatever life throws at them tend to:

  • Earn more money
  • Be more productive
  • Yield stronger performance evaluations
  • Have stronger social networks
  • Live longer
  • Get sick less often and suffer from fewer chronic diseases

What's Not Wrong?
In his book Peace is Every Step, Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh turns the often well-intentioned question, "What's wrong?" inside out and asks instead, "What's not wrong?"

What might change in your business, your client relationships and your personal sense of security and well-being if instead of asking "what's wrong now?" you asked:

"What's not wrong now?"

  • What have I gained in the last six to 12 months?
  • What have I learned about my clients because of the recent conversations we've had that I never knew before?
  • How have my co-workers, colleagues and employees surprised me with their compassion/capacity/work ethic?
  • What have I learned about my own skill/depth/capacity?
  • How do I have more of what I want now than I did a year ago? Do I have more time? More clarity about priorities? More conviction in what or how I support my clients?
  • What is different today than one year ago today that delights me?

With a simple word addition, you can drastically change the business climate you operate in: Instead of feeling the defeat of your current problems, you'll be working with the momentum of all that you've already overcome. Now you can approach decisions with more confidence and composure. Though you may be the odd one out, this club accomplishes a lot more anyway.

Kristin Wehner-Keffeler is the " Healthy & Wealthy " columnist at Entrepreneur.com and a consultant coach. She partners with entrepreneurs and business leaders to increase their impact and staying power by leveraging their health and the health of their employees as a business asset. Reach her at kristin@kineticenterprise.com .

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