To Hope or to Act, THAT is the Question
By Denise Ryan

I want to rant about something I saw in
USA TODAY. It was one of those little
polls they have off to the side of the

The question it posed to small business owners was, "Do you feel there is anything
you can do to make a difference in whether your business succeeds or fails in the
current economy?"69% said yes. But what shocked me was that 31% said no. WHAT? If
that was how they responded, that 31% DESERVE to go out of business.

Take the words "the current economy" out of that question.

If you think you can make a difference in good times, why would you think you can't
in tough times? Surely 31% don't believe they can't make a difference in their own
businesses? Have their brains fallen out?

You can either lie down and "hope something will change to make things better" or
"try new things to stimulate business." (Those were the choices in the USA TODAY

Any time you opt to simply "hope something will change to make things better" you
are being a victim. Why would you not try everything possible before you just sat
around and "hoped"?

Hope is never a bad thing -- it is hope that has that 69% trying new things. But hope
should start at home. Get off your own butt before you expect some secret external
factor to come in and bail you out. (And I do mean bail out.)

Bail yourself out and you have security.

You'll know what to do next time. You'll be stronger, more competitive, smarter. Let
someone else bail you out and you rely on them forever (hear me, Big Three?). Do kids
learn to walk because you carry them? No. They learn to walk by falling a few times
and working like crazy to say upright.

I know we can't control much, but I will NEVER believe that hoping is better than
taking action.

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or
where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in
the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and
comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who
knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at
the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at
least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls
who knew neither victory nor defeat."  --
Theodore Roosevelt "Citizenship in a
Republic,"Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

Do you want to be someone who dared greatly or someone who hoped things would

How to do more than hope:

1.) Define the problem.  Are sales down or expenses up?  Is your marriage bad or have
you quit trying?  Are your fixed expenses too high or is it all those lattes, magazines,
and shoes that are wrecking your finances?

2.) Make a plan.  If sales are down, what's the best way to get them back up?  If your
relationship is in trouble, what's the best way to get it back on track?  What actually
worked in the past?  Is it a viable option today?  What new ideas do you want to try?  
Gather information here; don't just act for the sake of acting.  Take the correct action.

3.) But don't get bogged down in research and planning - you need to act as quickly
as possible.
 Your competitors are acting as well.   While you feel a sense of urgency,
get on it!

4.) Do it!  And do it in a big way!  Why act just a little?  Now I'm not saying put all
your eggs in one basket, but now is not the time for timidity.  Be bold!  I am in the
process of redoing my website and getting a book designed and printed.  Both are big
marketing expenditures.  What better time to spend money on marketing?  Why try a
little fix for a relationship in trouble?  It's not going to get better by delaying or trying
something risk-free.  If you are in the arena, are you going to try your smallest weapon
first?  No way - you'll do what it takes to WIN!

5.) Do not give up!  Let the 31% give up.  Let them sit there as the fight rages and hope
something might happen so they don't get killed.  Fight for what you want in life with
everything you have.  It's the fighters who will either win or emerge much stronger to
fight another day.

6.) Know what you really want.  Don't try this strategy if you are not sure you really
want your business or your relationship or whatever it is.  This strategy only works if
fueled by true passion and desire.  Can't commit?  Can't decide?  Join the 31% and get
out of the way of the rest of us.

Roll up your sleeves, get in the arena! Your life, your business, your world is what
YOU make it. That 31% should be ashamed.

About the author: Denise Ryan, MBA, is a Certified Speaking Professional, a
designation of excellence held by less than 10% of all professional speakers.  She is a
blogger at
Motivation by Chocolate.  Visit her web site, where
you can see more articles and sign up for a free newsletter.

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