Is America Still the Land of Opportunity?

WARNING: Reading This Tip May Require Change

Words Convey Emotional Power

I can prove to you that words have power.  How do you feel when you read this series of words?  Oil spill, recession, taxes, layoffs and debt.   Are you motivated and hopeful?  No?  Well that is the problem.

I’ve observed that the constant drumbeat of these negative issues is dragging down the “can-do” spirit (emotions) of the American business owner. You’ve cut back.  You’ve made tough decisions to lay off employees and minimized expenses.  The short term economic forecast is very foggy which undermines “hope” in the future.

The Problem
For the first time that I can recall, business owners are starting to doubt that America is the land of opportunity.  Employees are turning to business owners looking for hope, direction and leadership.  Business owners are looking for the same things.

The Solution
You’ve heard it before that small business is the economic hope for America. I believe that this is still true today!  That means that you are what is going to pull America out of this slump.  Remember, words have power. What you hear, read and think matters. If you start thinking about what is right with America, where the opportunities lie and that you can really make a difference, then you will recapture your vision, be able to plot a confident direction and provide the leadership your employees need.

Take the “Beach” Assessment
Just for a moment, forget the oil spill and picture a sunny, white sand beach on the 4th of July packed with people.  There is a constant din of waves, shouts, screams and laughter.

Here is what you are seeing:

  • Most people are on the beach and content to be out of the water
  • A good number are in the water but standing in the surf or where the waves break
  • A smaller number are further out from shore treading water or swimming and enjoying the up and down rhythms of the waves
  • Only a few are set up to ride the big waves surfer style

The beach is a metaphor for today’s business climate.

The Beachers – These are the employed that have never set foot in the dangerous and exhilarating waters of business development.

The Breakers – This group of business owners are trying to hold steady (cut overhead, limit risk), but the waves are pushing them in one direction and the sand is being pulled out from underneath their feet.  This is a difficult position.

The Swimmers – These are people that were with The Breakers, but are now moving with the hope of finding an advantageous position.   This requires letting go of anchors (products, business models, etc) that may have provided a revenue stream for decades but now limits movement.  Swimmers require vision for where they want to go.

The Surfers – This group of businesses owners are already taking advantage of the new dynamics of market place. They have changed their business model, processes, products or thinking.  They may have put new systems in place.  This group is flexible and can move quickly to find profits.

Regain the American Spirit

To re-invigorate the uniquely American “can-do” spirit, you must:

  • Understand the reality of where your business currently resides on the Beach Assessment.  Are you a Beacher, Breaker, Swimmer or Surfer?
  • Set a direction for the future
  • Lift the anchors that have held you in place
  • Start the journey of change

When it comes to your business, don’t be afraid of change.  
Be afraid of standing still
 or the waves might knock you over.

Remember, words have power.  How do these words make you feel?  Triumph, victory, focus, clarity, making it happen, achievement. Latch on to the power of these words.

As a tool to help you regain that “can-do” American spirit, I challenged local business owner Don Kennedy (ProMaster Home Repair and former Air Force pilot) to have the last word on “America, Land of Opportunity.” Click the link below and listen!


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