Avoid the Traps of Irrational Optimism and Irrational Pessimism

Spring is just a few weeks away. The Dow Jones just broke its all-time high. Optimism is in the air. Your year is looking better than you thought it was going to. You’re feeling very optimistic about the future. You want to throw a little celebration at your company. Be careful.

Your business results are not where you thought they would be by now and you’ve been working for years and years to survive these recessionary times and all you hear on tv is about high unemployment and massive government deficits. You want to take the day off and wallow in some good old-fashioned self-pity. Be careful.

The trap is getting emotionally caught up in results, or even the perception of results. I encourage you to not do that. Instead focus on rationally analyzing where your business is at right now, what got it there, and what you can do to positively impact the future. It doesn’t matter whether things seem great right now or terrible.

Here are the questions I encourage you to answer:

1. What were your business objectives six months ago and what has actually been achieved?

2. What did you personally do to try to improve those outcomes, what worked well and why did it work well, and what did not work well and why did it not work well?

3. As you look back over the past six months, what lessons have you learned or relearned?

4. As you look out over the next six months, what will you do the same, what will you do differently, and why will you be doing this?

By taking the emotion out of your current situation, you can move forward in the way that you think is best for your business.

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