Thursday, March 31, 2011

Are You Dreaming or Dismayed?

Blatent Self Promotion: Ellie's new adventure is an exploration of issues for those who are older and feeling it, fatter, or sicker than we want to be! We are investigating what's true, what's hype and what's damned lies about health, aging, nutrition and accepted protols.
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Marketing Article: Are You Dreaming or Dismayed?
Before PT Barnum became the circus owner we all know of, which was late in his life, he owned a museum of oddities. It was a multistoried, huge building full of exhibits of interesting and weird things he’d collected from all over the world. Barnum’s museum burned down—not once, but twice during his lifetime. He also lost his wife, and two daughters. He went bankrupt, too.

Mark Twain also faced some of the same personal tragedies. Both men invested in businesses that failed. He too suffered bankruptcy. He too lost his wife.

PT Barnum and Mark Twain were contemporaries. Both men are considered greats in their respective fields. They both lived through the upheavals of the Nineteenth Century—the Civil War, the diseases that ran rampant, the beginnings of the industrial revolution, robber barons, the Indian wars, terrible crime, slavery, famine and poverty, and both political and religious hysteria.

And yet, there were huge differences in how they responded to the circumstances of their lives. Mark Twain suffered bouts of anger and depression. Barnum never allowed the difficulties of life to get him down. When he received word that his museum had burned down, the next day he simply began to rebuild. He never lost his optimism and his belief that every situation held opportunities. That allowed him to meet every disaster with calmness and expectation that all would be well. And for him that became the truth.

In your lives you probably know examples of people who meet disasters in widely different ways. There are those who stop moving forward and descend into negativity—discouragement, depression, complaining, giving up. And there are those who seem to find strength and opportunity—a way to grow from their situations. It is the difference between dreaming or being dismayed.

I have talked before of two great examples of those who found growth and opportunity for good from disasters. Steve Jobs (founder of Apple who was so publically fired) and Rachael Scott’s family (Columbine massacre victim whose family began a national program in schools.)

How do you deal with the problems that life throws in your way? And why does it matter?

First of all, how do you want to feel? Depressed, angry, discouraged, sad? Or would you rather feel hopeful, energized, eager and confident in your progress (however that is defined)? How you respond to events in your life can make a big difference in the results you end up with. And your response is very much your choice.

Right now, the economy--recovering they tell us--is the still the biggest disaster in the lives of most farmers. I hear from you daily. “I haven’t sold an animal in over a year!” “No one wants to buy a ____________ in this economy.” “No one has any money.” Email lists are full of herds being dispersed.

If you want to feel bad and have minimal (or no) success, keep focusing on the things that cause you dismay. Yes, there are those things out there. You can focus on those things if you want to be discouraged and less successful. But if you want to feel better, even feel good, if you want to work on your dream, if you want to sell animals, crafts and produce, you need to change your focus and attention.

How? Do this experiment right now. Pick up a pencil and jot down (the writing is important) five things that are right with your world. They do not have to be big things. Are there some flowers that have bloomed? Is the sun shining? Is it almost time to plant something? Did your best friend call? Did that new baby in the barn snuggle up with you this morning? Did you finish a chore that feels good to be done with? Little things, big things, write them down. At least five.

How do you feel now? It turns out that the act of finding things in your life that are good, right, changes outcomes in miraculous ways!

Here’s the reason it works. When you look for the good stuff, that’s what you find! When you look for the bad stuff, that’s what you find. And what you focus on makes your brain work in different ways. It screens for different things, either possibilities or lack of them--for the dream of dismay.

If you’re depressed, complaining or discouraged, your brain is screening out opportunities that are available. It refuses to allow you to pay attention to what’s possible. Its job is to keep what gets into your processing center consistent with the instructions you give it. And your instructions are—Things are bad! But the reverse is true, too. You can give it the instructions: Things are great!

Thie economy can be a wake up call. There are opportunities. Have you been trying to run your businesses like a hobby? In a decent economy, that sometimes works. But a business has three parts if it is to be successful—product, financials and marketing. Give any one of them less attention than it needs and your business will be less than it could be. This economy is the time for you to find opportunities for success by giving marketing more of your attention. Marketing consistently, with the customer’s interests in mind and in more places than ever!

Look for opportunity. Look for the good stuff. Follow your dream! Believe it's possible, because it is. Will you have to spend more time? Will you have to learn new skills? Will you need to read some books, take a class, brain storm? Absolutely! That’s where success comes from! But start by paying attention to what you’re focused on. It’s an adventure! You can do it! Stay tuned. I’ll be reminding you of attitudes and skills for Dreaming big!

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