Every Challenge is an Opportunity

June 20, 2012

Once In A Lifetime…

Everyone has a story when challenging times have presented opportunities. For me, early in a career path going straight up, I found myself unexpectedly unemployed with a young family after taking a job 2,000 miles away! Thankfully that situation resulted in a great new job which years later led me here to Greater Media.

Steve Jobs (RIP) founded Apple, and was later fired by his own board of directors! As the company floundered, they hired him back to take the company on an incredible stock run and solidified his legend as inventor and CEO.

Joe Torre, while a very successful player, had never won anything as a manager, and was nick named “Clueless Joe” in the press after he was hired in New York. The Yankees won the World Series at the end of his first season, wound up with 4 Championships, and never missed the playoffs during his tenure with the team!

So, how do challenges become opportunities?

It’s kind of like the Talking Heads song goes, “and you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?”

Most of us start out struggling, trying to make it, taking risks and making mistakes along the way but most importantly, learning from them. As we get more successful, I think we forget that.

Expectations, ego, and economics trap us with a fear of failure and inhibit us from doing the things that made us successful in the first place. Here are a few things that have worked for me to help break that cycle:

  • Control what you can control. Circumstances can be overwhelming. Take an inventory of the things you can do to “move the needle” and minimize distractions otherwise.
  • Quantify actionable criteria, identify targets, develop an action plan and the steps involved, a time line for action, and who is responsible along the way. Write it down, and track your progress.
  • Don’t win alone, and don’t lose alone. Make sure when wins happen, if ever so small, to share them with those who have helped along the way. If you feel a loss coming, get others involved and look for additional brain power to help you reverse course. If you’re going down, don’t go down without a fight. Ask a Manager for help, or a mentor who can give you the best advice possible. The passion, energy and creativity you put into trying to turn something around is never wasted, and can be recycled into other opportunities.
  • While misery may love company, it’s the last to be invited to the party. There are advantages to a challenging climate, and that is a lot of others give up the ship. Additional opportunities may come to the table like more available inventory, the chance to return to a client who was priced out of the market or less competition at the door when you knock.
  • Keep on an even keel. We’re never as good, or as bad as we sometimes think we are. Don’t be afraid to change up your routine and do things differently. General Eisenhower addressed his senior officers the night before D-Day and told them, “Before the battle the plan means everything, when the battle begins, the plan means nothing.” Has your battle begun? Is your plan not working? Ask yourself if you need to shake things up with a different approach.
  • Don’t give up. There is a passion in all of us that have led us to get into this business. Find ways to tap into that passion and remind yourself why you got started in your career, and use that ingredient to push you to be your best. Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was.

Pete Forester is making Greater Media Greater in role as Director of National Sales for Greater Media New Jersey.