Good Manners Mean Good Business

By Linda Tancs

To be well mannered is rooted in the Bible. You need look no further than the Golden Rule in Matthew 7:12 (NIV): “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you….” The Golden Rule encourages the development of conscience, the ridding of offense toward God and others (Acts 24:16).

So how well-mannered are you with your clients? Are you human—or humane? What would your best or worst client have to say about that? As the oft-used expression goes, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. That applies to your staff as well as your clients. How often do you acknowledge those with whom you work? For instance, do you give feedback regularly? Do you care how the message is delivered—or received? Authentic communication—that which is open, direct and honest—builds trust and understanding. What kind of foundation are you building from?

Waiting for Success

By Linda Tancs

Jonathan Winters, the comedian and author, once said: “I couldn’t wait for success, so I went ahead without it.”

This approach is the antidote to “paralysis by analysis.” So many times I hear people say, “Failure is not an option.” This thinking is usually what leads to paralysis by analysis: analysis of all things, great and small, that could possibly go wrong with an idea, a goal, a business venture—life. What if I don’t get any business? What if don’t get any repeat business? What if I lose the lease? What if I lose my shirt? And the list goes on and on.

Fear is the driver of this kind of analysis. Until the power of fear is broken, we remain a slave to it (Romans 8:15). Fear counteracts faith, and that is why it is such a powerful tool in the arsenal of the enemy. But 2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us that we have not been given a spirit of fear. What we do have is a soul (our mind, will and emotions) that hosts fear when it comes. Our best response is to deploy Psalm 118:6 (NLT): “The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”

Waiting for success is as futile as waiting for a rainbow after every storm. As Nike’s slogan so effectively puts it, “Just do it.” What do you want? In the business universe, four concerns are generally paramount: develop clients, build revenue, build a reputation, become a leader. Which concern, if any, resonates with you? What do you need to do to get what you want? If you’re stuck, then imagine yourself a year from now having all that it is that you want. How did you get there? Work backwards. What are the goals that you met? Who did you meet with along the way? Who played a role in your success? Write it down. Build a timeline. Construct a vision board. What else can you do? God won’t drive a parked car. With His guidance, you have all the answers. Now, get busy. You needn’t wait for success. You can go ahead without it.

The Power of Yes

By Linda Tancs

“Don’t rain on my parade.” How many times have you thought, or muttered, that phrase (or know someone who has) when confronted with a naysaying friend, colleague, family member or significant other? The effect of naysayers on the psyche is particularly acute for entrepreneurs, many of whom leave behind the relative security of a well-paying job for the chance to experience something new. Is it a smooth transition? In many cases, no. What makes it even harder, though, are those dreaded words—“You can’t do that!”—uttered from well-intentioned family or friends determined to save you from economic ruin. Have you ever wondered why the same people who tell their children that they can do or be anything when they’ve grown up throw a wrench in someone’s works when their dream changes mid-career? In circumstances like this remember that you can do all things through Christ who is your strength (Philippians 4:13).

The Bible reminds us not to be judgmental nor to put obstacles in someone’s way (Romans 14:13). So the next time a friend, family member, significant other or even stranger confides in you a dream about trading in that management job for a microphone at a comedy club, remember the power of ‘yes, you can.’

Don’t Feel Stuck

By Linda Tancs

Many folks are stuck in a job they despise for any number of reasons including economic need, fear or a perceived lack of transferable skills. If you can’t change jobs, then you must change your attitude. Colossians 3:23 (NIV) is a good place to start: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” After all, your skills and abilities are a gift from God. What you do with those assets is your gift to Him. When you perform your tasks without grumbling or arguing, you shine (Philippians 2:14-15). In other words, you demonstrate for others the value in work, and your positive attitude rewards not only yourself but those around you and gives glory to God.

So how do you put biblical injunctions like these into practice? Begin by asking yourself—what worked for me? Most people enjoy a honeymoon phase in the early stages of a job. What was it that made the job enjoyable or enticing in the first place? What has changed? Often this kind of introspection brings about a realization that it’s the de-motivating aspects of the job getting you down rather than the entire job. Try to find ways to tame the more unpleasant aspects of your employment. Understand first of all that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses; don’t resort to comparisons among people who might excel at what you detest (Galatians 6:4). If you’re able, reassign tasks, collaborate or find another position or department within the company where you can make the highest and best use of the skills you do have. After all, if you’re working at your highest level of motivation and efficiency, you’ll feel empowered rather than “stuck.”