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6 Ways to Cultivate Gratitude Through Hard Times

Hard times are part and parcel of entrepreneurship, but they don’t have to be miserable, lonely interludes between better days.

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Hard times are part and parcel of entrepreneurship, but they don’t have to be miserable, lonely interludes between better days.

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December 7, 2020 6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

No matter what’s going on at your business, practicing gratitude is a great way to make it more pleasant. When you remind yourself that, yes, you are lucky, hardships have a way of not seeming quite so hard.

Maybe your star employee left, but what about all the other talented team members surrounding you? How have they grown since that person’s departure?

In business, it’s all about your perspective. Here are six ways you can cultivate gratitude in the hard times so that you come out of them better than ever:

1. Embrace the suck

Hard times suck. There’s no way around it. But to get through and over hard times, you need to think about what positives have come out of them.

You may need to dig deep here, especially if the hard time you are going through is emotionally powerful. By writing down the positive outcomes that come from hard times and gratefully reflecting on those outcomes, you can bring yourself emotional closure.

Gratefully processing negative experiences can shift our memories to be more positive and to better fit our life story. Then, sharing our story with others can help us find connection and help others.

Know that we’re all going through these challenging times together. We will get through this, but we have to appreciate and share with each other our vulnerabilities.

Related: Entrepreneur Stories of Struggle and Success: 7 Founders Tell All

2. Give gratitude to clients who cancel

During Covid-19, we’ve seen a record number of businesses shut their doors for good due to a decrease in revenue. If a client is unable to pay, be empathetic to their situation. Thank them for their interest and loyalty through the years.

In the long run, so what if they can’t afford to pay you now? If you can keep your doors open long enough to withstand this downturn, that client might re-sign and even pay a premium for your services.

Why? Because you brought emotion, empathy and honesty into that relationship.

Gratitude cultivates trust and maintains connections. When you give gratitude to a client who cannot afford to pay you, you are strengthening that relationship, which will always be beneficial to you in the long run. Remember: People buy from people, not from companies.

Related: How to Calculate the Lifetime Value of a Customer

3. Give grace on missed deadlines

Remember Stacy and Bob, those colleagues of yours who sat down the hall? They never missed a deadline, hardly took a bathroom break and somehow always managed to bring the team donuts in the morning.

Well, now Stacy and Bob are like 42 percent of the American workforce: working from home, homeschooling 1.93 kids and still trying to keep your team afloat. They have a lot more on their plate than they did 8 months ago, so is it any surprise they failed to meet a deadline?

Just like you, your workers are experiencing all sorts of new challenges. Regardless of what struggles they’re facing outside of the workplace, thank them for continuing to work. Realize that, despite the fact that it seems like the world is ending, they’re continuing to wake up every single day and make an effort. That alone is worth your compassion.

Be empathetic. When someone fails to meet a deadline, step into their shoes and try to understand what they’re going through. Use that understanding to guide your reaction. Maybe it’s not as simple as giving them a lesser workload. But if you can give them tasks suited to their strengths, and give gratitude in the same serving, you’ll increase their productivity.

The best way to help struggling teammates achieve big goals is to encourage them to accomplish their small goals and celebrate those wins thoroughly.

Related: Forget Big Goals: Take Baby Steps for Small, Daily Wins.

4. Give gratitude to yourself

Maybe you are the kind of person who is always thanking others and feeling gratitude for the wonderful people you’re surrounded by. But are you feeling gratitude for who you are?

We all want to feel capable and competent. But in times like these, it can be tough to let ourselves off the hook.

By expressing gratitude to yourself, you can help build your confidence and self-esteem. In doing so, you’ll also decrease feelings of uncertainty, which will help not just you, but also those around you. Remember, how you treat yourself dictates how you treat others.

Related: 12 Ways to Stop Undermining Your Self Esteem

5. Switch up and systematize your outreach

Hard times have all sorts of silver linings. One of them is that they encourage you to talk to people you might not have spoken to in a long time.

Chaos is an opportunity to make changes. Start by changing up who you connect with and reach out to. Resist the temptation to turn inward.

Think to yourself: Who would you never think to give credit or thanks to? Now, go out and thank the people who come to mind.

My favorite app to remind me who I haven’t thanked in a while is the newly launched LoveBomb App. It literally sends me daily reminders of who is long overdue.

We physically and psychologically need social gratification to help us get through the hard times. The hard times become significantly easier when we reconnect with loved ones. When we reach out and express gratitude to people in our past, we not only help ourselves but also help others.

This applies to both your personal and professional lives. Take these hard times as opportunities to reach out to coworkers, clients and customers. If you build a relationship during a difficult time, it will be more likely to last in the long run.

Now is the time to forge foundational relationships in your work life. Connect authentically over the difficulties you’re facing. And be sure to thank the people you reach out to.

6. Don’t say “at least”

If you’re struggling to find something positive to say to someone, what do you do? You couch your compliment in a phrase like “at least.”

Gratitude is not a comparison. You shouldn’t be grateful because “at least” it’s not the alternative. You should have gratitude in order to celebrate the positive consequences that have occurred from a life event, whether positive or negative.

Even when it’s hard, try to genuinely appreciate any small amount of good that has come out of the bad. By doing so, you will build a mindset rooted in positivity, not comparison.

Related: 4 Communication Habits That Will Make You and Others Feel Good

As entrepreneurs, we have the opportunity and resources to use hard times to better ourselves. We can shrug our shoulders and say “This sucks,” or we can turn the hard times around through gratitude.

Stop simply waiting out the bad times. Be proactive and see just how much your business and your life improve.

You may need to dig deep here, especially if the hard time you are going through is emotionally powerful. By writing down the positive outcomes that come from hard times and gratefully reflecting on those outcomes, you can bring yourself emotional closure.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/entrepreneur/latest/~3/rLPJ2og0vEw/359404

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Entrepreneur

Advice From a Famous Mathematician and Babe Ruth Could Help Unlock Your Potential

These simple approaches to doing great work often go overlooked – but they could be just what you need to get it done.

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These simple approaches to doing great work often go overlooked – but they could be just what you need to get it done.

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May 3, 2021 7 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The mathematician Richard Hamming said, “If you don’t work on important problems, it’s not likely that you’ll do important work.”

In the math world, Hamming was known as a rebel. But unlike Jim Stark, with his trademark T-shirt and pompadour, Hamming’s rebellious nature was focused squarely on tackling some seriously knotty questions in early computer engineering.

Hamming’s career was sprawling. His first professional job outside of academia was on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos Laboratory, where he worked on the computers used to make the first atomic bombs. But it was in his next role, at Bell Telephone Laboratories, where his pioneering work in error-correcting codes and digital filter theory contributed to several significant breakthroughs in computer science and telecommunications.

It’s not a coincidence that Hamming is tied to no fewer than five eponymous concepts: The Hamming distance, Hamming codes, the Hamming bound, the Hamming predictor-corrector and the Hamming window. His insane productivity was, according to himself, the result of a ruthless, singular focus on what he thought was important.

Hamming was a mathematician, not an entrepreneur. But in explaining his life’s work — which he did over the course of several books and speeches — his central premise applies to all disciplines: Do work that matters. Luckily for us, he was also endlessly quotable, so I’ve rounded up a few of his more memorable bits of wisdom here.

Put in the time

“If you want to do great work, you clearly must work on important problems, and you should have an idea.”

How will you do important work if you’re not spending any time, well, doing it? Whether you’re a scientist or an entrepreneur, it can be incredibly easy to get wrapped up in day-to-day minutiae. In order to make sure he was sticking to his “important work” ethos, Hamming adopted a practice called Great Thoughts Time, which took place on Friday afternoons.

“Friday afternoons for years — great thoughts only — means that I committed 10% of my time trying to understand the bigger problems in the field, i.e. what was and what was not important,” he said, explaining that it was during this time that he realigned what he was doing with what he wanted to be doing.

“If I really believe the action is over there, why do I march in this direction? I either had to change my goal or change what I did. So I changed something I did and I marched in the direction I thought was important,” he said. “It’s that easy.”

Creating your own Great Thoughts Time will not only give you time and space to clear your head of workaday problems, but it also lets you reconnect with your core mission and evaluate if you’re still on track. If you’re not, you get the chance to course-correct. I give my employees at JotForm plenty of space to grow their most important ideas. We don’t have deadlines because I want ideas to flourish freely, and worrying about a looming deadline doesn’t do much to inspire creativity. Sure, some day-to-day tasks, like answering emails and going to meetings, are unavoidable. But if they’re taking up 100% of your week, it’s time to recalibrate.

Related: 15 Time Management Tips for Achieving Your Goals

Work with what you’ve got

“So ideal working conditions are very strange. The ones you want aren’t always the best ones for you.”

It’s tempting to dwell on what you could accomplish with billions of dollars and all the time in the world to build something great. But sometimes, what we think of as limitations are actually opportunities for growth. For Hamming, it became clear that Bell Labs wasn’t going to furnish him with the usual “conventional acre of programming people” to work with. He thought about leaving for a different company that would give him the resources he wanted, but ultimately decided to fix the problem himself.

“I finally said to myself, ‘Hamming, you think the machines can do practically everything. Why can’t you make them write programs?’’ As a result, he got involved in automatic programming very early on.

“What appears to be a fault, often, by a change of viewpoint, turns out to be one of the greatest assets you can have,” he wrote.

Related: The Top Programming Languages Entrepreneurs Should Know in 2021

The role of luck

“It seems to me to be folly for you to depend solely on luck for the outcome of this one life you have to lead.”

Some of the last decade’s most successful entrepreneurs — see Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom or LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman — have attributed their accomplishments at least 50% to luck. It’s certainly true that fate seems to intervene for some people at precisely the right moment. But that’s far from the whole story.

Hamming didn’t discount the existence of luck, but he did often repeat a quote from famed chemist Louis Pasteur: “Luck favors the prepared mind.” In other words, luck may have a hand in positioning us for good things, but we still need hard work, skills and awareness to recognize it when it happens and take advantage of it accordingly. If you’re spending all your time waiting for luck to show up and fix your problems, you’re bound to waste a lot of time.

Related: 7 Marketing Tips to Help Grow Your Brand on Instagram

Believe that you can do important work

“Once you get your courage up and believe that you can do important problems, then you can. If you think you can’t, almost surely you are not going to.”

There’s risk in tackling important problems because ambitious goals come with the possibility of major failure. For entrepreneurs, success is not guaranteed no matter how confident in yourself and your vision you are. But by the same token, failure is absolutely guaranteed if you don’t truly believe you’ll succeed. This is true whether the important problem you’re facing is numerically integrating differential equations or deciding to quit your job to build your business. Babe Ruth, who was neither a scientist nor a startup founder, famously said: “I swing with everything I’ve got. I hit big or I miss big as I can.”

Hamming also flouts conventional wisdom when it comes to failure and cites his former colleague and fellow mathematician Claude Shannon‘s approach to playing chess: “While playing chess Shannon would often advance his queen boldly into the fray and say, ‘I ain’t scared of nothing.’ I learned to repeat it to myself when stuck, and at times it has enabled me to go on to a success. The courage to continue is essential since great research often has long periods with no success and many discouragements.”

Running a company has similar plateaus. Courage is what will keep you going during the late nights and early mornings when it feels like no one is cheering you on but yourself.

It’s not a coincidence that Hamming is tied to no fewer than five eponymous concepts: The Hamming distance, Hamming codes, the Hamming bound, the Hamming predictor-corrector and the Hamming window. His insane productivity was, according to himself, the result of a ruthless, singular focus on what he thought was important.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/entrepreneur/latest/~3/zARny-hI7SY/369457

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National Bubble Tea Day Celebrants May Want to Pause Festivities Due to Shortage

The past year has led to supply chain issues for boba and other restaurant staples.

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The past year has led to supply chain issues for boba and other restaurant staples.

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April 30, 2021 2 min read

While various bubble tea companies are offering promotionals in honor of National Bubble Tea Day, some establishments are starting to worry about future supply.

Boba pearls, the chewy tapioca balls commonly used for bubble tea, have become one of the latest of many shortages blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic. Delays in exports from Asia have been cited as one of the main reasons, as cargo ships are unable to dock due to logistical issues.

In states like California and Michigan, where bubble tea is the most popular delivery order, the lack of boba is concerning for some storeowners. According to NPR, the shortage could even stretch into the summer.

“Some boba shops are already out. Others will run out in the next few weeks. 99% of boba comes from overseas,” bubble tea company Boba Guys wrote in an Instagram post on April 8.

Boba isn’t the only item in short supply due to the pandemic. Perhaps due to a 287% increase in popularity from last year, restaurants are struggling to meet chicken wing demand with supply. A February article from Restaurant Business Online found that the average price for a pound of chicken wings was $2.65, whereas the price was $1.81 the year prior.

Restaurants are also suffering from ketchup-packet shortages, as The Wall Street Journal reported that packet prices have increased 13% since last January. To keep up with such heavy demand, ketchup supplier Heinz promised to increase production by 25%. But the packets have been so sought-after that some people have turned to ecommerce platforms like eBay to sell them.

Beyond food items, some establishments are struggling to find material such as glass and plastic as pandemic habits have upended pre-COVID supply-and-demand levels. Marketwatch reports that plastic product prices have reached their highest levels in years in the U.S. as supplies tighten. In West Michigan, a shortage of glass pickle containers even delayed the release of Burger King’s chicken sandwiches.

Related: Semiconductor Industry Set To Benefit From Global Chip Shortage

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/entrepreneur/latest/~3/HurM9wsruns/370361

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When Writing the ‘I’m Moving On’ Post, Channel Kenny Rogers

Know when to fold ’em, and avoid making the situation look like you’re waving the white flag.

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Know when to fold ’em, and avoid making the situation look like you’re waving the white flag.

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April 27, 2021 4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As the principal of a bustling PR agency, I’m used to dealing with human resources issues. Mostly they’re in-house at my company, but occasionally HR issues come up on the client side, and I’m called in to consult.

In many cases, these client-side HR issues revolve around new hires and high-level departures. Publicizing new hires or board members is, of course, the stock-in-trade of PR agencies, and we often write press releases and execute media-relations campaigns when a notable executive joins a client company. However, when a key executive departs — including the CMO — there is a need for communication around those departure events as well. Employees, customers and partners deserve to be informed about what is going on at the top levels of a company, and key stakeholders, including investors, should also be informed of personnel events that might be considered material.

I often find myself assisting my CMO clients with external communications when they depart one job for another. The most common vehicle for making a public announcement of such a departure is via a blog post, either on the company website or through channels like Medium or LinkedIn, which give the poster complete, unedited control of the message. My personal belief is that departing CMOs should use such communications as a way to set themselves up for their “next adventure” in the corporate world. Even if the departure is contentious, the main goal for such announcements should be to remain positive and upbeat and avoid making the situation look like you’re waving the white flag.

Related: Ready to Quit Your Current Venture? Consider These 3 Questions First.

When counseling CMOs in these circumstances, I encourage them to be gracious, kind and professional. Perhaps it goes without saying, but a good CMO departure post should never be bitter, petty or small-minded. This is not the vehicle or forum to settle scores or critique one’s employer and their strategic, operational or financial shortcomings. Instead, departure posts should be complimentary when possible, thanking as many people as possible and being generous with praise when recapping both team and personal accomplishments.

This sort of post is also a good place to thank your enemies, because they may end up being your friends or colleagues later in your career. I encourage people to think about the maxim, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” because it could happen someday! These communications are also an opportunity to give cover to people for successes not achieved or other challenges that have arisen during a CMO’s tenure. In addition, the departing executive should talk about “lessons learned” that have been instructive to the team or the company overall.

Some HR professionals identify executive resignation letters as “letters of resignation and gratitude,” and I believe that is a good definition of what they should be. A gracious departure note or post always positions the departing CMO (or any executive) favorably, and a key element of this communication is articulating that a successful transition of roles and responsibilities is planned or underway. Positive and well-explained departure announcements, particularly when it comes to C-level executives, portray an organization in the best possible way and can build confidence and strengthen relationships with key stakeholders. And that should be the aim of any organization that is experiencing a top-level executive departure.

Departure letters or blog posts are also great opportunities for explaining the next steps in one’s career and why they’re moving in that direction. Portraying a new opportunity, building on past experiences or making personal changes can be illustrated or alluded to in varying degrees as appropriate, and they help the departing CMO provide color and depth to their departure. This also helps avoid perceptions of hard feelings or disagreement, despite what might be happening behind the scenes in the C-suite.

Related: When Is the Best Time to Make the Leap From Your Day Job to Entrepreneur?

Ultimately, a well-crafted departure letter or blog post sets the stage for a positive transition — not only for the CMO’s own career, but also for the company and employees he or she is leaving behind.

So, yes, in the immortal words of Kenny Rogers, “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.” And when it comes to walking away as a CMO, doing so gracefully is always your best bet.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/entrepreneur/latest/~3/UZxafllMcu8/368467

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