Are you as effective as you want to be? No? Is your business thriving? Not the way you’d like it to be? Are your friendships positive, productive, and rewarding? Nope? It may be time for you to stop looking down. It may be time to learn how to start looking up! When you run into a problem you’re not sure how to solve, try looking up! When your business is struggling, try looking up! When your spouse or best friend does something you don’t admire, try looking up! When you haven’t done your personal best, look up!
Have you noticed that when things aren’t going as well as you’d like, you often start looking down? By, the way, I DO mean looking down with your head and your eyes. But I also mean looking down figuratively … looking down with your mind.
“Gee, life sure is hard.”
“Why are there so many obstacles to my success?”
“I could do really well if things weren’t always so gosh darned difficult!”
It may be time to stop looking down, and time to start looking up! When your life starts looking just a little too hard to bear, look up! When all you see are obstacles in your way, look up! When things seem to be just too gosh darned difficult, look up!
I’ve been in the business of trying to be a better person, if you get what I mean, for about three decades. I’ve been lucky enough to talk about business, attitude, and personal development with some incredibly successful people, as well as some who never seem to get out of the starting gate. And I’ve noticed something. The people who are barely getting by and the people who aren’t getting by at all are usually looking down! The people who make it big are usually looking up! Those whose businesses are constantly struggling are usually looking down. They’re seeing the bad side of things because that’s exactly where they’re looking!
A friend of mine, I’ll call him Javid, runs two departments at a book printing and binding company. Before the economy got bad, he ran one department with 17 employees. Now, he runs two, and has a total of 11 people working for him. He spent three years trying to get the other executives in the company to look up, but they could only look down. They saw the problems with the economy, they saw the competition, they saw the problems in the book industry. They were looking down. Javid told them about the opportunities in the world of virtual publishing. He told them about the efficiencies of digital delivery, the size of the worldwide market, and the benefits of collaboration outside their industry. Unfortunately, instead of looking up, the other executives could only look down. They insisted on staying with what they knew, and as a result, their company is 1/3 the size it was before 2008.
People who can’t find any friends, except those folks around them who keep doing to same old failing things again and again, are always looking down. So are people who say there’s just no opportunity for them to get ahead. Who are they looking at for examples? Their friends, their families, the businesses around them. So are people who can’t find a job. I know a guy who comes to a networking group that I attend. He was looking for a job last year, he’s looking for a job this year, and what do you think he’ll be looking for next year? Half the people in the group are employers, and the other half have started their own small businesses, and this guy thinks there are no opportunities! He’s DOWN and he’s looking for help in the place where he IS. If you’re DOWN and you’re looking for help where you ARE, you may have a vision problem!
Instead of looking down, try looking up! In business, study people who are MORE successful than you are. Not only are their companies great examples of things that work, but you might be surprised by how many accomplished business people are happy to share what they’re doing. Look up – you can find a more seasoned executive to become your mentor. Look up – you can join or create a peer group of entrepreneurs to help you learn and refine what you know. Look up – at the very least, you can pay a professional business coach to help you keep growing.
Think about your friendships. Are you spending time with people who keep making the same mistakes over and over? Do you remember your social occasions with distress because of the unproductive drama caused by one or two of your least productive friendships? Are you and your friends stuck in a rut? Try looking up – spend more time with the friends who seems to have the happiest relationships, the most going on. Try looking up – find a club or some organized activity you like and seek out the top few members of that group. Try looking up – make a pact with your best friend that you’ll work together to eliminate any and all pettiness and accentuate the best parts of your friendship.
Try looking up! All the stuff you see when you look down is BELOW you. When you look up, you see the things and people that are ABOVE you! Once you learn to see what’s up there, you can begin to reach for it. And if you can reach it, you can live it. Try looking up!