A good friend of mine seems to always be running late when we get together. Inevitably he’ll call en route, fuming that he’s hitting every red light between him and our lunch meeting. I find myself doing the same thing driving around my town…feeling way too annoyed that I just missed a green light and that I’m delayed by 30-40 seconds.
Why does it seem like every light we come up to is red?
It’s because we don’t notice the green lights.
When we sail on through the greens we’re already looking and thinking ahead. We don’t spend the next 30-40 seconds relishing how our random timing was just right. After all, lights should be green for us…we deserve them like we deserve air to breathe and coffee in the morning. Right?
Running a business is similar. Business owners pay more attention to the snags than the victories. That’s not necessarily bad—there are lessons to be learned from the kinds of problems that help us identify things to fix in our processes and viewpoint.
But business owners should distinguish those possibly foreseeable situations from problems that emerge from areas outside of our control that we had no reason to anticipate (the red lights). Yes, they suck, they cause problems, and we have to scramble to react to them. But in the long run, fate balances the pluses and the minuses.
So do yourself a favor. When the breaks go your way and the stars align with respect to your company or your professional position, take a few minutes to congratulate yourself. Enjoy the moment and savor the green light!