Tuesday, May 22, 2007

It's All About Perspective

It’s All About Perspective
Life’s a matter of perspective. So ask yourself: Is the glass half empty or half full?
Often the answer to this question determines your level of success and happiness, both in business and in life. It works the same way with your employees.
Take Ramon, for example. Ramon came to the United States and spoke little English. The only job he could get was as a dishwasher at a local restaurant. Here’s where his story becomes interesting. Instead of looking at the dishwasher’s job as a demeaning, low-pay, no-respect position, Ramon saw nothing but opportunity. He felt he could someday move up to cook, then assistant manager and manager.
He hoped to learn as much about the profession as possible and someday open his own restaurant. He saw a dishwasher’s job as the first step on his road to success.
He was right. Ramon Gallardo, local entrepreneur and founder of Casa Gallardo, parlayed that dishwashing job into one of the nation’s top restaurant chains. He’s followed Casa’s success with numerous other eateries. What would have become of Ramon if he had not reveled in the opportunities of that dishwasher’s job?
Tessa Greenspan is another great local example of seeing the glass half full. When she took over a near bankrupt grocery store in South County, friends and family told her she was nuts. They said the struggling store couldn’t be saved. But Greenspan never saw a decaying store. In her eyes, she saw nothing but opportunity. She saw the American dream and a chance to bring a one-of-a-kind store to area residents.
Did she ever! Today, Sappington International Farmers Market is flourishing. What if Greenspan had looked at the glass as half empty?
In turning the business around, one of the first things Greenspan worked on was her employees’ perspectives. She knew pessimists wouldn’t and couldn’t help her grow her business. They only make the job harder for everyone around them. And the worst part is their attitudes rub off on others, creating a no-win situation. She encouraged employees to embrace opportunities and seek the silver lining in all situations.
This is a lesson any business can utilize. Encourage your employees to look at each business challenge as an opportunity rather than a problem.
Take the stories of Ramon and Tessa to heart, and encourage employees to see the positive in every situation.
Motivational guru Tom Peters certainly understands perspective. In his book, “The Pursuit of WOW!” Peters outlines how perspective can lead to happiness and success:
“Life (personal, business) is a circus. If you fail to get a kick out of all three rings’ worth of entertainment and can’t accept the fact that nothing ever goes according to plan, you’re in trouble.
“It’s not that every cloud has a silver lining (lots don’t); it’s that every success is built on your taking advantage of the unexpected detours, setbacks and embarrassments that life routinely serves up. If you can reap cheer and joy from the mess that surrounds you, you’ve gone a long way toward stardom and happiness.”
Life is a matter of perspective. Is your glass half empty or half full? You choose.

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