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3 Attitudes for Personal and Business Success in War Time
by Charles Carpenter

As the march into Baghdad continues, where are you going? During times of duress it is not uncommon for people and entire organizations to stand still while others seize the moment and pass them by. Many become paralyzed by economic uncertainty and the threat of homeland attack.

There will be sad stories to tell of war time failures and business disasters, but if you are not deafened by these negativity terrorists you will also hear stories of triumph and success. In this article we will explore 3 attitudes that will help you become one of the war time legends.

Have a “Silver Lining” Attitude  

Seek the silver lining in every situation. I remember a story I heard long ago of two boys: Each boy was placed into a room with nothing apparent but a pile of horse manure. The one boy simply held his nose and complained non-stop. From the other room the boy could be heard laughing gleefully as he dug into the pile repeating again and again, “there has to be a pony in here somewhere.”

This kind of silver lining mentality will get you through any difficult time. You will not only come through the tough times, you will come through tougher. So ask yourself the following silver lining questions:
bulletWhat unique need is created by this situation? 
bulletWhat can I learn from this experience? 
bulletWhat hidden benefits exist?

Have a “Hero” Attitude  

A hero is someone that stands head and shoulders above the crowd during difficult times. Whether you are an individual trying to be seen in the job market or an organization trying to be seen in the business market; that “head and shoulders” difference could be the difference between survival and suffocation.

First let me remind you what a hero does not do:  
bulletHeroes do not whine. 
bulletHeroes do not act irrationally. 
bulletHeroes do not let others think for them. 
bulletHeroes do not preoccupy themselves with what could have been. 
bulletHeroes do not act selfishly.

True heroes feel the pain, grit their teeth and bear it. True heroes take calculated action to survive. True heroes know that survival is tougher alone. True heroes consider ALL of the facts, exist in the present, plan for the future, seek win-win solutions and take action accordingly.

Do something to stand out.  

Make a statement. Be heroic. Make a sacrifice. We all love a hero. We will talk about them, write about them and even sing about them. So find a way to make a lyric worthy contribution during tough times. 

Ask yourself the questions heroes ask:
bulletHow can I help? 
bulletWhat statement will impact and comfort the uncertain? 
bulletWhat gifts or strengths do I have that will make a difference? 
bulletCan I volunteer?

Have a “Survivor” Attitude  

Survival may mean that we can not continue business as usual. We may have to re-budget, refocus and rethink our values and vision. There are at least three survival priorities every person and business must consider during tough times.

Safeguard your integrity.  

If you compromise your integrity you compromise your ability to rebuild after the war. You will need the trust of others to rebuild. Consider the following areas of integrity:

Financial integrity  
bulletCan you readjust your budget and spending to compensate for a worst case scenario? 
bulletIf you feel that tough times have a predictable life expectancy you may consider opening a home equity line of credit while interest rates are lower. This is not for use to sustain your existing lifestyle, but for emergency use. 
bulletYou may consider finding a financial consultant or coach that can help you make sound financial plans. 
bulletCut any unnecessary spending as early as possible.

Personal Integrity
bulletAvoid becoming preoccupied with self; you will need your friends. 
bulletKeep promises and business commitments as much as possible. When such a commitment is impossible to keep, inform the other party early and with diplomacy. 
bulletHelp others as much as you can. 
bulletBe honest in everything you do. 
bulletAvoid being negative and toxic. 
bulletAvoid casting blame.

Safeguard your relationships.  

If you see a turtle on a fence post it didn’t get there alone. Relationships are an important catalyst for success. Two steps will build stronger relationships:

Keep communication open.  

Sit down with your significant other and discuss your personal, financial and business concerns. Create contingency plans and goals that will keep both of you focused during the tough times. When changes need to be made, make them together and promptly. Communicate proactively with your business partners and customers. Voice your concerns as early as is practical and attempt to understand their concerns. Prepare to compromise.

Be friendly.  

People will be committed to you if you show yourself friendly. Be complimentary but avoid flattery. Give more than you take. Sacrifice often. Seek win-win solutions and lose when you can. Be interested in others and avoid monopolizing time and conversations talking about you.

Safeguard your dreams.  

Don’t stop dreaming during tough times. You may need to reevaluate your goals and plans, but avoid the temptation to throw them out the window. Share your dreams only with those who will support you and encourage you. Set realistic goals and continue taking action that moves you closer to your objective. Consider starting a “think tank” discussion or support group. Discuss your dreams and consider plans and ideas that can be helpful for each of you.

Remember tough times always pass. When they do there will be two types of people; the bitter and the better.

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©Charles Carpenter, 2003 

Charles Carpenter is a nationally recognized author, trainer, consultant and personal success coach. He is available for seminars, conferences and keynotes and can be contacted at 937.355.8831 or

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