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Seriously, You Need to Lighten Up

Sometimes when I am speaking to responsible, serious-minded leaders, I ask the question, “How many of you take business seriously?” Most in the room raise their hand. I tell them to stop it because it will kill them!


Taxes, the threat of bankruptcy, inflation, unemployment, health insurance, employee issues, the price of gasoline… And I have the insensitivity and indecency to tell people to lighten up? Isn’t that irresponsible, not to worry and stress over problems? Isn’t it cruel and sick to smile amidst deep challenges and issue?


I contend that as we face difficult times, we must be on our best game. We need full engagement and creative thinking and then respond efficiently and be quick on our feet. Heavy, sad, worried people don’t do that. And my friend, your energy, attitude and thought are chosen by you. Your feelings are the caboose that follows the engine of your thought. Emotions are biochemical responses to the thoughts we hold and the actions we take.


To perform best in a difficult challenge, your best thought produces the best attitude, feelings, energy, and creative action. Somber serious thought will not sustain. It is an optimistic, realistic, game-on, engaging, joyful, let’s go, thinking that produces the creativity and energy necessary to win the game.


Don’t misunderstand. There is an appropriate time and place to mourn, grieve, and weep with those who weep. Certainly the loss of a close family member or friend, the diagnosis of a serious illness, or a tragic loss is appropriate reason to mourn. But that somber state of mind is not best for problem solving and addressing major challenges. I am challenging you to embrace the philosophy that only a very few things in life are deserving of my grief, depression, and sadness. If I want to triumph in life, I need to train myself in the habit of being happy and light.


Here’s the coaching. Quit complaining and whining. At the end of life, what truly matters? Life is too precious and short to squander on sulking and self pity. Get up, and with a smile on your face and thanksgiving in your heart go to work on the problem. Quit thinking about how hard it is and begin to serve. Hard work won’t kill you. It’s the undue stress that we add to problems that causes so much sickness and death. Take a realistic objective look at your situation, don’t candy coat it, choose a great response, and then act. Even if what you do doesn’t work perfectly, you can use the result to figure out what to do next as you move forward.

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