What should you be appreciating?

Last week, I heard a wise man say “What makes life precious is that it ends.”

It got me thinking about some of the things in my life that have ended that I could have appreciated more. For 28 years, I ran my retail business and there were people and features about that business that, in hindsight, I should have appreciated more. We all have lost friends or family that we cherish even more since they are no longer with us. Perhaps we have had jobs, money, friendships, pets, or even spare time that we thought were burdensome yet now they have vanished, linger as treasured memories. However, in our busyness of the past moments we didn’t take the time to value them. 

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The last few months have changed our lives and as I was on the road working with my clients last week, I was made to realize that there were aspects of business that we are taking for granted. The simple handshake for one, or greetings such as a pat on the back or a hug whose value has been underestimated in the business environment, take on new meaning when we can’t engage in them. 

Virtual meetings have become a fabric of our society, and while I have been using them for years in my practice of working with clients across the country and around the world, they don’t truly substitute for the face-to-face meetings. There is so much that can be gained by being physically present with people that we miss in our Skype or Zoomed out work spaces.   

Yes, there are benefits to working from home, including enhanced efficiencies and reduced expenses but in many cases, there is also lost production and more stress. More than ever, I see business owners and leaders with school-aged children popping into the background screen of our virtual meetings. Women and men who are leaders seem to be trying to balance business and work, homeschooling, making lunch, and cleaning the house while continuing to get results, manage employees, and retain their sanity. I hear them say how much they appreciated going into the office or sending their kids off to school. 

Employees too should be appreciating what they have right now. In 12-18 months, good paying jobs are going to be harder to come by. Once the full economic impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns filter through society and the government stimulus programs have run out, we will be left with businesses that are gasping for cashflow and governments that are cutting expenses and raising taxes to make ends meet. 

Organizations are going to need to make tough decisions about where to make their cuts and as labour costs are typically the largest expense for most establishments, those making decisions are going to be looking to the people that are delivering results to create the future of the organization. The current lack of accountability may benefit the lifestyle of some employees now but their job future may be in jeopardy if they are not creating value. 

The current climate of change is requiring that we plan ahead to ensure our survival. Ninety-day plans should be common place in every work environment to engage employees, have clarity about what you need to do in this ever-changing situation, and keep everyone accountable  to for achieving positive results. 

Many of us didn’t appreciate normalcy while we had it and that normalcy is now precious because it has ended. What should you be appreciating right now that might be taken from you in the next months or years? Take some time today to cherish what you have and to be thankful for those opportunities you have been given. 

- Dave Fuller, MBA, is an award-winning certified professional business coach and the author of the book Profit Yourself Healthy. Dave loves to hear your thoughts, email dave@profityourselfhealth.com

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