We’re faced with challenges every day of our lives. Here are some common negative thoughts business owners have, and how we can spin it positively.
1. “They’re undercutting the industry standard price, and I’m losing business.”
This is an example of projection. We see she’s upset her pot isn’t full, and noticing that someone else is filling theirs, leaves her grinding her teeth at the thought that someone else is “taking” her business.
We can all agree when someone undercuts the industry’s standard pricing, that it challenges the way the industry sets its value system. Consumers are looking out for their own wallet, so if they can get a product for cheaper, they’re more likely to do it. This in itself sways the inherent value of a product, and can set divides within the industry for what a service costs. It’s another reason why we have “affordable” products made overseas, and products made in the U.S.A. cost more.
Rogue Fitness, a fitness equipment manufacturer, developed a cost effective product for the everyman/everywoman, made entirely in the U.S., which challenges what commercial-grade equipment is, who can afford it, and vows their product is superior for these reasons and takes pride manufacturing in the U.S. They don’t need to spend time demonizing others in the industry or feel they’re undercutting other manufacturers, because they built a product model they believe in.
This can apply to our everyday lives as well. Say a coworker makes the same salary as you do--but works extra hours and doesn’t use vacation time—this can lead to your employer reevaluating the salary structure of a job and its demands. They’ll pay less for more labor. Being upset at your coworker’s work ethic and priorities because it makes you look bad isn’t fair to them nor is it fair to yourself. Either buck up and work harder, or be at peace accepting your other priorities are more important.
A much more constructive view is to take pride in the quality of your work, or your product, and let that speak for itself. Hold strong to your values, or reevaluate your values.
2. “My product is better but it’s not selling.”
If this were true, it would sell. If it doesn’t sell, your product isn’t better, or you’re not finding the right consumer. If a company like Potato Parcel—who mails a potato to your fiercest enemy or best friend-- can make a dent on an industry, your quality product should, too.
This can also apply to us when it comes to our love lives, our family lives, or even our friendships. “I’m great and am not being appreciated.” Perhaps you feel you are, but if other people aren’t appreciative of your efforts, either you’re surrounding yourself with selfish people… or you’re the only one who thinks your efforts are enough. If you need validation, either up the ante or accept that perhaps it’s not good enough, or you’re giving to the wrong people.
A more constructive way of living is to surround yourself with people who appreciate you (you’ll be a much happier person for it), or give of yourself selflessly with no expectation (you’ll be a much happier person for it).
3. “They’re only succeeding because they got help.”
Eric Cressey, founder and owner of Cressey Sports Performance, recommended reading “The Founder’s Dilemmas” by Noam Wasserman. Wasserman discusses how, when founding a company, one needs certain circumstances for a better chance of success, some of which are “Human Capital,” “Social Capital,” or “Financial Capital.” These fancy things mean either you’re extremely skilled at what you do, you have a large network of professionals and consumers supporting you, or a lot of money coming your way either through your own pocket, loans, or funding.
Being upset at another business for being more skilled than you means you’re not ready to compete. Being upset they have a larger network than you means you need to build yours. Being upset they got funding in some way, or for not “boostrapping” it, means you either need to succeed to prove that it can be done (and for your own gratification), or do what the pros do and get funding.
We can apply this to our everyday life when looking at someone else’s success and being envious. In college, I would get so upset if a friend’s parent bought them a new BMW just because, or gave them the down-deposit on their first house, or paid their credit cards for them so they could eat and drink whatever they wanted. This was no way to have a friendship, nor a way for me to exist in my day-to-day. On the plus side, it was a fantastic feeling finally putting a down-payment on a used car with too many miles—I may not have been gifted a new BMW, but this is mine and it feels like a Porsche.
In the end, this negativity leads to frustration and deflection. We need to own up to our own insecurities; our own fears; our own limitations; and make decisions that will either set us free or lead us to success. If I spend my time being upset at someone else’s success—no matter how they did it—I’ll waste energy not doing what I need to do to get there. It will fracture my relationships with friends, family, coworkers, and peers. And I’ll become a person no one would want to succeed with, anyway.
Who would want that?