It’s not uncommon for me to work with people who are stuck in the depths of despair.  The economy is in terrible shape, they’ve lost customers, and any dreams of profit are distant hopes.  I actually see people in this posture, who have lost almost all hope for the future.

Part of my role as their business coach is to be optimistic.  Am I insane?

Not at all (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).  It’s not that I don’t see the reality that this person is faced with.  Instead, my role is to help them create a better future, and that’s only possible when they can imagine that things CAN get better.

So my role is to uncover any shreds of positive news that I can find.  That can sometimes take real creativity.

Here’s an example:  I’m going to ask you to imagine that your best customer sits down next to you.  You love this guy, because you enjoyed serving him, he made your life easier, and maybe his loyalty is helping to put your kid through college.

I’d like you to tell him how much you appreciate him.  Get specific:  Tell him why you like him as a person, tell him how important he’s been to you, tell him why working together has been such a pleasure.  And be honest – you’re not trying to impress him.

This simple little exercise helps you to find some gratitude for successes you’ve had in the past, and to realize that your customers really are the reason why your business exists.  If you’ve had a great customer in the past, there’s a possibility in your mind that you’ll be able to have one in the future.

It helps you realize that perhaps there might actually be a better future.

From this energy, we can start working together to describe what that looks like, then to define some steps which will help us get there.  At least for a moment, we’re working in a positive mindset which is optimistic, energetic, and creative.

That’s where the magic happens.