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A Winning Attitude

Sponsored by: Ritch Insurance Services


In my 30 years as an independent businessman, I’ve learned a few things about the nature of business and made some valuable observations about the power of a positive attitude. I’d like to pass that knowledge on to those who are worried about the future of our economy.

1. Recession/depression also refers to a state of mind.

I believe a reactive state of mind has fueled the current panic as much as the actual financial circumstances we’re facing. If we don’t participate in the panic and instead realize that change always brings opportunities, we’ll all find our way through this temporary setback. If your mind is focusing on fear, it’ll seize up and won’t be able to think creatively. If this happens, solutions that are right under your nose will be missed. So don’t fear change, embrace it and adjust. As an example, imagine that you are in the middle of a chess match.  You look away from the chessboard, and when you look back, all the pieces have been moved.  However frustrating, this new set of circumstances should be viewed as an opportunity, because within every adversity lies the seed of positive solution and change.

2. Have a firefighter mentality.

What would you think of a firefighter who ran from a fire? We expect firefighters to run to the fire. It’s the only solution. We need to apply the same type of courage to our current economy and face the fire head-on. This is also called “responsible optimism,” meaning always be prepared for the worst but always expect the best. Today, when we’re all faced with overwhelming economic hurdles, it’s vitally important to face these circumstances with a positive perspective and belief that a solution can be found.  Your attitude should always be your first step, because it’s completely under your control.

3. Be a good neighbor.

One good thing that’s come from the financial crisis is a return to simpler living and basic values. We all effect each other, and by sowing the seeds of hope in our communities and encouraging our neighbors and fellow businesses to do the same, we can instill a positive perspective and move forward together for the benefit of us all. Be a positive thinker and model leadership in your community. The payback will be beyond your wildest imaginings. When you’re positive, you'll not only attract others of like mind but, in these negative times, you'll stand out.  Become a beacon of hope. It’s important to acknowledge negative circumstances, but it's more important to be part of the solution. Positive action is always the source of solutions; model this for your associates, you’ll all reap the rewards.

4. Get back to business basics.

How did you build your business? More than likely, you took a few chances along the way and you have a history of overcoming adversity. This isn't the first time the economy has taken a dive. It’s time to reach back, into your own experience—possibly working smarter, harder and/or longer—to refocus your business for the new economy as it emerges. Understand that faith in yourself and in your country is more important now than ever before.

In the end, how you emerge from this current (but not permanent) economic turmoil will depend on your approach. Ultimately, it's all about the proactive actions you take and the attitude you put forth. Start the day reading or listening to positive messages, or begin by giving thanks—we all have something to be thankful for, even in the hardest of times.  Commit to doing something that’s part of the solution everyday.  

This mindset is much more powerful than it seems: No risk, high return—sounds like the perfect investment. A positive attitude is contagious, but so is being negative. Find individuals with  "winning attitudes" and interact with them. Commit yourself every day to positive outcomes, and help others to do the same. In the end, incorporating these practices into your daily routine will enable you to look back at this time and reflect how your specific attitude and behavior made it possible to emerge successfully into the next market upturn.

Ed Ritch and his son, Colby, are pricipals of Santa Rosa’s Ritch Insurance Services, a family-owned business that’s been serving its customers for more than 25 years.  They can be reached at (707) 579-1209.


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