Every journey starts with a step - and a direction

In the daily grind of trying to earn a living, it’s easy to forget the true purpose of what you’re trying to achieve – or even whether the true motivation behind your job still exists. The wide-eyed zest of the early days can soon give way to cynicism about how things are going when expectations aren’t being met.

If you are stuck in a situation like this, take heart – there are many other people like you. At some point in time everyone goes through a slump. However, instead of wallowing in misery, it’s time to get back on your feet and make things work.

Have you experienced any of the following lately?

  • You find yourself wondering what would have happened if you’d gone with your original career choice of flamingo dancing instructor.
  • You’ve considered hiring an exorcist to banish the invisible barrier that seems to be stopping customers from crossing your entrance way.
  • You discover your 17 year old son is making more money per hour than you.
  • You simply aren’t enjoying your work anymore.

We all can relate to these circumstances from time to time. However, if you have been in this state for a long period of time, then it’s time you took a closer look at yourself and your business.

It is important to ask yourself, “What do I really want?” How often have you asked yourself that lately? Sadly, most people don’t ask for what they want, and miss out on what life has to offer them. Even though it sounds rather philosophical, it is all about what you want your life to be like. Your work is a journey towards what you eventually will become. If you don’t know what your goal is, you can’t expect to reach it. Would you like a life where you have enough time for leisure? Is earning money your sole purpose? Where would you put your time and money if you had more of either?

The best way to see life from a new perspective is to take some time off and allow yourself to reflect. Sitting at home or in the store will not give you any answers. That’s why you need a holiday, to clear your head. Pack your bags and take off for a couple of days to a serene destination, away from distractions and don’t take anything more than a pen and paper.

The important questions to ask are:

  1. What are you currently getting that you desire less of? (Grumpy customers, phone calls from the bank manager)
  2. What do you think there should be more of in your life and store?
  3. What do you think is wrong in your life and store, which should stop happening?
  4. What are the things that you think you should start doing?

Once you answer these questions, you will see a direction, a way forward for yourself and your store. Once you have a direction, all you need to do is chalk out plans to proceed in that direction. It will be evident what needs to be done once you have a sense of direction.

Life can give you exactly what you want; it is important to ask for it. Set yourself some clear one year, three year, five year and ten year goals.

This is never more important than when you set your annual budget. What else do you think a budget is? It is another way of asking. You aren’t asking for any more than you got last year if you don’t have a budget, or your budget is the same as last years result. If that’s what you ask for, then that’s what you are likely to get!

You need to know what you want and you need to go after it. It’s alright to go off track once in a while – an airliner stays off course most of the time but gets to its destination in the end. When it recognizes that it has lost its way, it makes minor alterations that are hardly noticeable. It doesn’t waste time and energy going further ahead from where it will have to make a major change in it’s course. Thus, even you need to evaluate your performance daily and see if you are on the right course. If you aren’t, take charge immediately and get things in place before it’s too late to make amends!

Start the process this instant and keep working at it. In due course the moments of self-doubt will be few and far between!

David Brown is President of the Edge Retail Academy, an organization devoted to the ongoing measurement and growth of jewelry store performance and profitability. For further information about the Academy’s management mentoring and industry benchmarking reports contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 877-569-8657.