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Remaining Gracious When Troubles Arise In Your Business Journey

November 5, 2012

When my grandmother passed away, the priest said, “The best way to honor a loved one who has died is by thinking of their best quality and then incorporating that quality into your life so they remain alive through you.”  As I thought about my grandmother, the word that came to mind was “gracious.”  She had hardships in her life, the loss of her only 2 siblings when she was in her early twenties, the loss of her first born son at the tender age of 1, and the loss of her husband at the age of 64.  Yet she remained kind and congenial until she died at the age 90.

In work, as in life, entrepreneurs are dealt difficulties. The entrepreneurial road is not a smooth one. How we choose to deal with troubling times shows our character. When my grandmother passed away, my business was young and I started experiencing trying times but I always remembered what the priest said and tried to be as gracious as I could especially to a client who didn’t renew a contract, associates who disagreed with my leadership policies and  competitors who were harsh at times.

Here are some tips to remain gracious when troubles arise during your entrepreneurial journey:

  • Remember who you are at your core. Remain confident in your beliefs, values and mission no matter what criticism you face from the outside world. If times get tough, talk to trusted friends and family who support your dreams and know who you are and what you stand for. During one of my darkest business periods, my best friend from Kindergarten gave me the most perfect advice and she wasn’t a business woman. She simply was someone who knew me very well.
  • Be as compassionate as you can to people you work with. Give people the benefit of the doubt before judging them including clients, staff, associates and vendors. For example:  If you have a client who is always late paying their bills, don’t get mad, pick up the phone and make sure nothing is wrong before sending threatening invoices.  Maybe they are caring for a sick child or battling a health condition. Care first, save anger for later.
  • Don’t forget as a solo entrepreneur or small business owner, your personal reputation and demeanor can directly impact how consumers view and feel about your company. Being gracious always demonstrates strong character and garners respect for your enterprise.

As a business owner, I’ve always been grateful that my grandmother’s best trait was her kind spirit and not the opposite. I definitely wouldn’t have lasted in business for the past 18 years if I was harsh and merciless.  Embrace a new, more generous business spirit today and expect a positive impact now and in the future.

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