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Wednesday / May 22.
HomemilastwordThe Last Word: Half Full. Half Empty

The Last Word: Half Full. Half Empty

“A pessimist,” Sir Winston Churchill once said, “sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

“If we’re to take advice from anyone in our day-to-day lives, we could do worse than to look to the man regarded as one of the greatest leaders, pre and post wars.

Despite private battles with depressive illness – Sir Winston made repeated references to his depression, famously referring to it as his ‘black dog’ – in public he perpetually demonstrated enthusiasm, determination and optimism.“I am an optimist,” he declared. “It does not seem too much use being anything else.”

His quotes have so often been repeated by orators, motivational speakers and even on bumper stickers, that it is easy to dismiss them as clichés.

However beautiful the strategy you should occasionally look at the results…

But stop and truly consider some of the statements Sir Winston made and how he inspired people to achieve against insurmountable odds: “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference”, “Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning”, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”

In the first flush of a new year it is easy to be optimistic about the future and ready to tackle that new business plan. But as the year grinds on, old difficulties resurface and a note of pessimism can creep in. Successful practices can’t run on pessimism without it affecting the quality of your work and impacting your relationships with staff and customers.

It is prudent, not naïve, to prepare yourself for all possible outcomes. You want strategies that can make you win, no matter what happens. We’re not talking about ignorant, starry-eyed optimism but a mind open to opportunities as well as dangers.

Sir Winston points out the big difference attitude makes. How receptive are you to new ideas or do you first look at why they won’t work? Do you spray your negative world view to all within earshot or look for positive ways to overcome your frustrations?

The culture of a work environment filters from the top down. If you’re optimistic, doggedly determined to succeed and don’t tolerate negativity, your positive attitude will rub off on the people around you.

Add to this a sprinkle of gratitude and encouragement, your staff will feel appreciated and valued, resulting in a better work vibe and bottom-line.

If you find worry creeping in, get your thoughts on paper and create an action plan instead. Then, commit to regularly reviewing and updating it because, as Sir Winston reminds us: “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”

Every business and practice has its challenges but, without a positive plan, you’ll end up fretting over competitors, corporates threatening to “squash you like a bug if you don’t sign up”, the online creep or patients asking for their scripts… and that will only lead to sleepless nights.