Jerry Green's Top Ten Adversity Busters
I've navigated plenty of speed bumps on life's road. My father's death led me to an entirely different career than my planned one. My business burned to the ground. Unscrupulous partners left me with a $15 million dollar debt. My doctor diagnosed me with a disease that a year earlier would have meant probable death.
Some people call it adversity. I call it life. I'm going to share with you my philosophy for dealing with the downs that will no doubt accompany the ups. Some will make you want to smack your forehead because they are so obvious. But as I mentioned earlier, the key to business is taking in more than you pay out, and scores of business fail every year because they forget simple things like that.
Finally, I've got to say that I'm skeptical of anyone who claims to have the magic solution to your life. These things have worked for me, but they might not work for you. It's important for you to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, and devise a success strategy that fits your personality.
Here is my top-ten list of adversity-busters:
Don't panic. When something unexpected comes your way, shouting, "Oh my God, I'm ruined!" is not conducive to handling the situation. Remain calm and you'll send a message to your brain that you might be able handle the situation after all.
Take the emotion out of it. To come up with a rational solution, you have to have a rational approach, and that's hard to do while your blood is boiling.
Build and use your networks. Develop and maintain a diverse group of associates and friends. Take the initiative in keeping in touch. If you only contact someone when you need their help, they'll cringe when your number comes up on their caller ID.
Be polite. The bank teller you cursed at might be the vice-president in charge of granting you a loan in a few years.
Get a plan down on paper. Review and list your assets and resources, then make a plan, Figure out what you need to do, and break it down into small steps if the big picture overwhelms you. Pay attention. It's been proven that what people call ESP is often just a finely tuned sense of what is going on around them. Once Carol Burnett woke up in the middle of the night and decided to move to the other side of the bed to sleep. Shortly after there was an earthquake and a very large, heavy big-screen TV fell from a shelf on to her bed, where she usually sleeps. In her sleep her subconscious sensed small tremors that led to big ones, and she paid attention.
It's not unusual for me to make a serious business decision after only a few minutes. I get a certain feel about whatever it is I'm considering, and I go with it. I'm not saying don't be careful, but be aware of the things your mind is trying to tell you. This works whether you're dealing with adversity or on the lookout for new opportunities. If I hadn't paid attention when I saw an ad for franchising a new, fledging rental car business, I would have missed out on Budget Rent-A-Car, which turned out to be even more lucrative than the car business.
Don't waste time looking back. Every second you spend thinking "If only?" or "I should have?" is a second you could spend developing another opportunity. Maybe somebody told you to invest in Microsoft 15 years ago and you didn't. So what? Dwelling on the past paralyzes you in the present.
Know thyself. Understand your strengths and weaknesses.
View your challenges as opportunities. Earlier in the book I talked about what my stepfather said when my business burned down. He told me it was the best thing that could have happened to me, because I could make a fresh start. That's the attitude I took. He was right.
Ask for help. Be smart about it when you do. I asked Kansas City businessman Frank Morgan for a $15 million loan and he gave it to me. But first he made sure I knew my business. Give people a reason to help, and they usually will.
Good luck out there on the highway!
Jerry Green owns WHB810, America's largest all-sports radio station. His new biography, "Autos to Airwaves, Mantle to the Mob," is available at http://www.moonbookstore.com.
Starting out in the car business, Jerry owned a Playboy Club, one of the original Budget Rent-a-Car franchises, and a series of banks before venturing into the world of media.
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