Build a Bridge and Get Over It

by Maureen Kanwischer

These words of admonition (or advice) came from my 16 year old niece, Sarah: “Aunt Mo, build a bridge and get over it!”

I have not been able to get those words of wisdom out of my head. How many hours do small business people spend worrying over trivial issues when we face real issues that impede the growth of our business? There is no doubt that the little things do matter and we need to pay attention to the little things. But how much time to do we spend lamenting over the things we have no control over? How much time and energy is wasted fretting over what’s done instead of what we need to do?

This is a good lesson for all folks in business. Don’t waste your precious resources (time, money, energy) on unworthy issues. For example: You’ve worked on getting a new customer for months and in the end, they choose to buy elsewhere. Yes, we should learn as we go and find out why they didn’t choose your company, but once that learning is complete we need to move on.

There is a nasty phenomenon that happens to business owners that causes us to dwell on the negative. We beat ourselves up over things we really have no control over. If you were on your A-game, and did all the right things in the sales cycle and the person still bought from someone else, then there is not too much you could have done to change it. Perhaps we can learn a new piece of competitive data or sharpen our sales ability, but that’s about it. Be honest. How much time to you spend thinking about the one that got away? We double think every conversation. We re-work our pricing. We question our own skills. How much more beneficial could it be to simply move on to the next prospect?

In other words, build a bridge and get over it. Yes, the economy sucks. But is that supposed to stop us from marketing our businesses? Do we coerce ourselves into thinking “I am not going to that networking event, because it is a waste of time. No one is spending any money anyway.”? It is that type of demoralizing thinking that is counterproductive and hugely damaging to small business owners. We can not afford to accept things as they are. We need to build bridges. And once they are built, we need to get over them.

If we can think of all the barriers to reaching our goals as rivers we can visualize the left bank and the right bank. Sometimes the river is narrow and shallow and we can build a bridge in a day (i.e. solve a minor problem). Sometimes, the river is wide and the water is swift and it takes a little more time and energy to get from one side to another. But the point is we are actively building bridges to move forward – not dwelling on being stuck in the mud on one side when you really want to be in the green pastures on the other side. The result of wasting time worrying over issues is what gets you stuck in the first place. It immobilizes you. Your head tells you not to bother because it is of no use. You get stuck. However, if you can imagine getting to the other side is a bridge you will become unstuck. You will put one foot in front of the other as you get over it. You’ll get back on track and soon you will come to another river. Time to build another bridge and get over that one, too.

Call it what you want: Problem solving. Visualizing. Strategizing. Building a bridge. It is all the same. You are working on your business as if it is a journey. Sometimes the road is clear and the path is straight. You can see for miles. Sometimes the road gets a little muddy, your view is hazy and you get blocked by a river. As a business owner it is in your power to say “Well, that’s the end of the journey. There is a river and I can’t go any further.” Or you can build a bridge and get over it.

Copyright 2011
Feel free to publish this article to your own site as long as you give credit: Maureen Kanwischer of Momemtum Business Consulting and link to my website: Thank you.