How your strength of character can make or break your online business.

So, I’m back from my half term ski break in Chamonix – thank you for all the holiday good wishes – we had a lovely time despite the fact that the airline managed to lose my entire luggage on the way there…well not quite all, I was left with one ski boot which I had packed in my daughter’s bag with the intention of spreading the weight.

I fully expected my luggage to turn up 24 hours later as had been suggested to me – but it didn’t – and so I have spent a week begging, borrowing and stealing clothes from my husband, daughter and friend and being the butt of jokes ranging from ‘Are you any good at balancing on one leg?’ to ‘You could invent a new winter sport – mono-skiing…’ and ‘Are you going to list your single boot on eBay to see whether anyone will be daft enough to bid on it?’

And even now there’s still no sign of my luggage, 13 days on. Thank goodness for travel insurance! Anyway, I happened to post the luggage saga story on Facebook and my sister in law posted a comment that said this:

“You know what Maya Angelou says…“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”  *Maya Angelou is an American author and poet who still at age 85 travels the world spreading wisdom!

It’s a little cryptic perhaps but I read it again and realized that a persons reaction to a situation like ‘lost luggage’ can take several paths depending on how the ‘lost luggage-ee’ deals with the situation. And this ultimately can really show their strength of character.

For example, a calm, resourceful type of person might shrug their shoulders and simply get by without the contents of the bag – as long as the contents weren’t the most important part of the trip! If there were gifts in the bag, personal items or a special outfit for a specific occasion this could mess up lots of plans – would you stay calm then?

What if you just couldn’t bear the thought of not wearing clean, fresh clothes all week? Could you handle that? What would you do – would you go and buy new clothes or would you make do with offers of help from others? Or would you actually ask friends for help?

How a situation like this is handled gives huge clues as to the positivity or negativity and the character of a person – it’s a test, and last week I found this to be very true!

So what did I do?

Well after having a quick sob (yes really, I know, how embarrassing) and then queuing at the airport baggage tracing department for two and a half hours I decided to just get on with it. I have to say that thoughts of my personal things, languishing, probably battered, possibly dirty and most definitely lost, were never far from my thoughts during the duration of my holiday – but it was obviously lost, simple as that and as the days went by I discovered that actually I could get by without my ‘stuff’.

I bought toiletries and salopettes, hired ski equipment and then lived in a kind of grungy, disheveled fashion for a week – and it was fine. I’m over it now and the world hasn’t ended just because my luggage was lost.

Part of the reason for this is that I did have the trust and believe that everything would work out in the end and I decided to be positive rather than negative. Yes my things may well be lost forever – but they are replaceable, I still skied, enjoyed my holiday and had a great time.

And so, as I finally get to the point of todays eletter…

Strength of character and how you deal with situations is very important when you are running an online business too. Things may not always go your way. They might not be straightforward or be simple to get right first time. And you may have to deal with loads of challenges and frustrations along the way, just like lost luggage. Whether you fall into a spiral of negativity – or keep your chin up and stay positive is down to you.

It’s very easy to get demotivated and become down when things aren’t going your way – and it’s easy to have a good old moan about how rubbish things are and then throw in the towel when things get difficult.

That’s why more than 90% of all internet business start-ups end in failure within the first 120 days. That’s a shocking figure…but now don’t dwell on that – think about the other 10% who succeed. They have all found the strength to carry on, even when things aren’t all rosy in the garden, be pro-active and have made a concerted effort to actually be successful.

It doesn’t just happen. It doesn’t just fall into their laps. Those 10% work hard, remain positive, don’t expect anything for nothing and above all, they have the right mindset in the first place. Those 10% will almost certainly have three important things on their minds – and so should you.

  • A business plan that they follow which is set out in small steps or goals which can be achieved before moving on to the next one.
  • The expectation that hard work, patience and effort will be involved. And a willingness to keep going.
  • The understanding and acceptance that an online business takes time to build. It won’t happen overnight and there’s no such thing as a ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme!

So, my message to you today is this:

Next time something goes wrong or takes longer to understand or get right than you think it should. Next time you feel like it’s all too much effort and not worth the bother, have strength of character, take a step back and look at the situation in a positive manner and ask yourself:

  • What can I do to solve this?
  • Is there someone who can help me with this?
  • Can I break this down into smaller steps in order to achieve my goals?

Work through the problem rather than assuming it’s all doom and gloom and you may be pleasantly surprised at the outcome. Just before I sign off, thank you for all your suggestions regarding topics for my blog posts and eletters. I will be incorporating these in the coming weeks.