Taking care of business…



A few days ago I took on the task of brainstorming the aspects of my life that are keeping me from happiness.  I created a list of grievances, a collection of thoughts that embody what I dislike about myself.  Suddenly, all of my fears and insecurities were staring me in the face.  In the two days since I made the list, I’ve found myself focusing more and more on areas of my life that need improvement.  The more I think about it, the more I realize that I’m not living the life I want to live.


Our lives are complex and convoluted, and looking inwardly and examining ourselves critically can have its negative consequences.  It is distressing to identify the objects of our dissatisfaction, many of which are hidden deep beneath the surface.  Looking critically at my own life has been eye opening.  In many ways, I feel as though I’ve taken my car to the shop for the first time and realized that my oil needs changing, my brakes are shot and my engine is rusted.  Ok, I’m being a little dramatic.  Nevertheless, the whole process is overwhelming and can understandingly leave an individual feeling worse than when they started.

* * *


The situation reminds me of a story I once heard about a major corporation that was in shambles.  They were in such a state of dis-array, the CEO proposed to the board of directors that the they hire a consultant to analyze the company from top to bottom.  The consultant was expensive and the board of directors was skeptical, but the CEO insisted that a thorough analysis of the company, from the low-level employees to those at top of the corporate ladder, was necessary if the company was to survive.  The company was hemorrhaging money, so the board willingly agreed.


The consultant was a particular man and spent several weeks investigating every facet of the company.  He was careful to spend time in each department (accounting, marketing, research and development, etc.), in an effort to fully understand how the company operated.  He interviewed employees and read costumer satisfaction reports.  He spent time in the factory, the mailroom and the employee lounge.  He felt that truly understanding the company was more important than merely looking at numbers.


With him through the entire process was the CEO, who was debriefed daily by the consultant.  When the analysis was complete, the board was eager to hear the results.  The CEO delivered the material in the form of a presentation.  Graphs and charts were shown, illustrating financial loss that was far worse than they imagined.  There were major inefficiencies in almost every department and employee satisfaction was at an all-time low.  The company was indeed in shambles.  Yet, at the end of the presentation, after hours of articulating the company’s problems, the CEO boldly stated: “business is better than ever”.


The board of directors nearly hit the ceiling, shocked and offended by such a statement.


“How can business be better than ever?

“Did you hear what you just said?”

“I thought you said that things were worse than we imagined”


The CEO calmly reiterated that indeed, “business was better than ever”.  The board was astonished, but curious.  The CEO continued:
“You see, before we hired our consultant we were not fully aware of our current situation.  We were aware we had problems, but not to this extent.  Now we know our problems and in greater detail. We may not know the solutions to our problems, but we know enough to proceed from a better place.”


Most of the board nodded in agreement, but there were still skeptics.  The CEO carried on:


“Perhaps by looking more carefully into some of our company’s problems, it may seem as if things may get worse before they get better.  That is only illusionary.  Now that we’ve taken the time to understand our problems at a more in-depth level, we are better equipped to solve them.  Because we are more aware, we will move forward and better manage our resources, reduce redundancy and waste, and increase our market share.  Therefore, business is better than ever.”


The CEO is wise.  He saw great importance in the process of thoroughly examining the current state of his company, despite the cost.  In addition, he deemed it important to analyze the entire company, not limiting his view to the numbers.  Most importantly, instead of focusing negatively on the report, he chose to respond with positivity and proactivity.  He did not dwell on the analysis.  Instead, he recognized that his company is in a position to move forwards in a better direction.  Profits may be down, and morale may be low, but at least they knew what they had to work on, even issues they were previously unaware of.  Therefore, business is better than ever.


I can learn immensely from this story.  Even though it hurts to critically look at my life, I know, in the long-term, I will be better as a result.  By continuing to analyze my life, I’m confident I’ll be in a better position to understand it more thoroughly.  This information will be invaluable, and serve me greatly as I search for fulfillment and happiness.  It will help face my fears and insecurities with more strength and courage.


This wisdom empowers me and I’m overcome with the urge to tackle some of the more pressing issues in my life, from my physical body to the dirty dishes.  Even as I type, I feel a surge of positive energy flowing through me.  It’s time to start my day, and take care of business!  Maybe I should start by getting my car looked at?  Hmm..




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