Now almost two years removed from the pandemic’s start back in 2020, many of you spent the bulk of the end of 2021 dealing with challenges. The rapid change in the way things were and the shutdown brought supply chain disruption, difficulty finding employees, and the continued divisiveness of the world. I spoke to a lot of people who were overwhelmed.
Much of our human nature is not built for us to thrive in our current modern-day times. It is made to keep us alive and conserve energy. Commiserating is a tool humans use to build community and show each other sympathy to remind us we are not alone. It is part of the amazing gifts we are given as humans, but we must change our mindset to thrive in modern times. After expressing and feeling the feeling that comes from the act of commiserating, you then need to switch to the conscious part of your brain to create solutions.
While it is natural for us to commiserate, the one-upmanship becomes a competition to see who wins the most significant challenge award. That just pushes everyone involved down deeper into a feeling of insurmountable odds.
Let me give you an example from a real-life post on a Facebook group where someone shared the challenge they faced with ordering from multiple warehouses to get the garments needed to fulfil one order. The comments on that post went like this:
- I raise your challenge and share that I can’t find stock and also don’t have any time in my day to deal with it.
- I raise you the lack of stock, lack of time, and also lack of profit because prices are going up.
- I raise you the lack of stock, lack of time, lack of profit, and the extra time it takes for shipping.
- I raise you the lack of stock, lack of time, lack of profit, extra shipping time, and extra shipping cost.
- I raise you the lack of stock, lack of time, lack of profit, extra shipping time, extra shipping cost, and the pending holiday shipping time extension.
- I raise you the lack of stock, lack of time, lack of profit, extra shipping time, extra shipping cost, pending holiday shipping time extension, and the reduced stock quality.
- I raise you the lack of stock, lack of time, lack of profit, extra shipping time, extra shipping cost, pending holiday shipping time extension, reduced quality, and getting customers to believe the issues are real.
And it goes on and on until we all just want to hide under a rock because the outlook is so grim. But is this working?
Outside of the initial “at least I am not in this alone,” what is the value of all of this commiserating without finding solutions. The good news is the scarcity mindset, the need to one-up each other is a programmed limiting belief from our past. What it takes to overcome challenges is a solution mindset.
We must share how we have overcome the challenges and encourage people to one-up us in solutions. That mindset will bring new ideas. The reality is people are overcoming challenges daily, and while it might not be our favourite part of business ownership, it is a requirement.
I want to brainstorm with you the “how.” How do we overcome the challenges? While this might not be business-specific, it is our mindset that we need to look at first. We must change our thoughts, our beliefs, and our perspective. Then we can change our outcomes.
When faced with a challenge, the first step is to stop and clear your mind to come up with at least 3 potential positive outcomes. What will facing and overcoming this challenge afford you in the future that you might not have otherwise had if the challenge did not force your hand? By doing this, you are “putting your oxygen mask on first.” That means you are focusing on yourself first so you can show up to support those in need.
Secondly, it’s time to come up with some solutions. The commiserating and responding to those challenges have pointed to the root cause. It is time to move from blaming, complaining, excuse-making, and commiserating to finding solutions. I have 5 suggestions for you.
Drop out of the “ain’t it awful” club
A quote from a renowned marine artist, Wyland, sums it up pretty well. “There are two types of people, anchors and motors. You want to lose the anchors and get with the motors because the motors are going somewhere and having more fun. The anchors will just drag you down.”
Make deliberate decisions about the group you are in, the posts you read, the people you listen to, and more. If you want a successful 6 to 7-figure business, the crafter group showing the stolen copyright artwork and “how to’s” on the cheap are not for you. The people who like to share their problems and one-up people to prove they have it the worst are probably not for you. Be grateful for the information you did get and move on.
When you are a business owner, it can feel like you are alone on a deserted island. It’s part of why we run to the groups to commiserate to cure that lonely feeling. But what you need is accountability. Someone to encourage you and help you make sure you work towards the solutions and do what you said you were going to do. The keyboard warriors of the internet are not going to be that for you, so you need to find a real community, mastermind groups, or an accountability partner.
Refine Your Options / Fire Customers
When you had the scarcity mindset, the feeling was the sky was falling all the time. You were taking on any job that you could, inventorying every possible item any customer could want, and chasing every person that had a dime to their name like you were a lost puppy dog.
A supply shortage challenge is a perfect time to tighten up your options because many options are not available. Use this challenge as an opportunity to focus on your core customers and stop chasing the latest and greatest. When trying to source only a few options, it is much easier than thousands. When only working with your core customers, you can become the “best” in your niche because your core customers are your niche.
Most people in the “good” times only knew their vendors by a username and password. They placed orders online, and they arrived in a day or two. But those folks who have relationships with their vendors are the ones who will come out on top.
Start making sure you know what person (not just a phone number) to contact, should an issue arise or if you need help out of a bind. If you can’t get a rep, find another source. The stronger the relationship you can build with your vendors, the better off you will be.
Those vendors can make or break you. Don’t have an adversarial relationship with them. As someone who has built customer relationships in the industry for over 21 years, I know I worked a heck of a lot harder for those customers who also valued me. Those people on the other side are humans just like you.
These challenges we are facing are a great reminder that all things in your business should have a backup. Even if you don’t need a new vendor right now, try to carve out some time to look around, test some options and just make sure you have a plan B. The best time to find a new vendor is when you don’t need one. The worst time is when you are desperate and end up taking whatever you can find.
I’m curious what other solutions you have implemented? What are you doing to future-proof your business and tackle new challenges head-on with confidence and positivity? I would appreciate any sharing or questions you might have about specifics in your business.