Accentuate the Negative

Accentuate the Negative

Accentuate the Negative

By John Jantsch

Glass half full

Image andrew_j_w via flickr

I’m one of those folks that is squarely in the camp of the glass is not just half full, it’s mostly full, so this post may seem a tad uncharacteristically, well, negative.

But here’s the deal, I’ve worked with thousands of business owners over the years and I’ve learned that the rosy point of view isn’t always the first place that people go when they think about their world.

But that’s OK, because, despite what Harold Alden and Johnny Mercer wrote and Bing crooned, you can learn a lot when you accentuate the negative. People can often tell you what they don’t want more vividly than what they do want and that can be a great place to start to get real.

I was reminded of this by a post that came across my RSS reader this week from Business Week called The Stop-Doing List.

I think it can be very useful to get the negative, what you don’t want, out so you can finally see more clearly what you obviously do want.

If this idea resonates at all, and maybe even if it doesn’t quite yet, I would like to suggest you plow through the following list and throw open the window to the negative so that you can shine a light on what’s left. Get a pad and paper and get to work on this today.

  • What don’t you want in your life?
  • Who don’t you want as a customer?
  • What don’t you want as elements of your brand?
  • What don’t you want as a part of you daily routine?
  • Who or what don’t you want as a member of your staff
  • What don’t you want to let go of in your business?
  • What don’t you to have to do to grow your business?
  • What aren’t you willing to give up in order to have what you want?
  • What aren’t you willing to compromise for your vision?
  • What aren’t you prepared to sacrifice to get a sale?
  • What aren’t you sure of when it comes to your business?
  • What aren’t you doing that your customers need you to do?
  • What aren’t you making a priority?

Um, that should keep you busy – clear the decks by getting this stuff down. Take an afternoon and hole up in the back corner of a public library and make these lists. The very fact that you give what you don’t want, what you aren’t willing to do, some undivided attention will free you to actually see what must be, what you must keep and hold in order to have what you do indeed want more than anything else in the world.


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