Guest Post

Three Focal Points To Help You Keep Your Nerve When Times Are Tough

by Trey Pennington

The crumpled dollar bill in my hand was my last. Literally my very last dollar. As a small business owner and a father of six, being down to the last dollar was something well past scary. Too many business are facing scary economic times. I made it through that time the same way we'll make it through this time: by thinking through three focal points.

The first focal point is The Past. Most of us have gone through tough times in the past. The names may have been changed and the specific circumstances were different and maybe even the intensity varied, but we've been there. Somehow, we made it through. For me, there have been many "there's". I survived them. As we look back through history, we can think of many others who have overcome great trials and be encouraged that they made it through their "there's" too.

The second focal point is The Future. Business owners are a special breed. Most of us do what we do for passion more than profit. The passion is a vision of the future that's somehow better. Whatever it was that motivated us to launch into business is still before us. Recalling that better future we envisioned once will inspire us to reach for it once again.

The third focal point, of course, is The Present. The Present is bad, you say? True. The key about the present is, while we can't fix everything, there is at least one thing we can take positive action on today. Focus on that one thing, act, make it better, and then focus on the next thing after that.

It took me a long time to recover from the last-dollar saga. Along the way, friends came to my aid. There were good days and then bad days. There were even days when I thought (and said out loud) that I wanted to quit, definitely wanted something different! Since there wasn't any way to quit, I had to just keep going. Remembering that I had made it through tough times in the past, why I wanted to be in business for myself, and then focusing on the next thing, I made it through.

These are still scary times. You've been through them before. Opportunities are ahead. Focus on that one thing in the present and take action on that today.

You'll make it through.

Trey Pennington is a marketing pro, business connector, and storyteller for business whose passion is helping folks uncover their hidden treasures and put them to work.

  1. Being able to look back at some of the roughest days, I see that just putting one foot in front of the other is what carried me through.

    No matter how bad life gets, at least I’m not recently fired and living (newly relocated) in Billings, Montana at Christmas.

    Comment by Dick Carlson — 10/25/2009 @ 10:52 AM

  2. Trey,

    Thanks for an interesting perspective, and the timing is pretty good I’d say. No, I am not down to my last dollar, but the thought of quitting — trust me, comes and goes these days.

    As you said, good and bad days… good and bad. Of course, I will probably re-read this on a better day and go “wow, why on earth would I have said that?”

    Anyways, thanks.

    Comment by Esteban Kolsky — 10/25/2009 @ 1:45 PM

  3. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by treypennington: Down to your very last dollar? Here’s a cool drink of encouragement to help you find your nerve….

    Trackback by uberVU - social comments — 10/26/2009 @ 2:49 AM

  4. Yes indeed. Good timing and well written, in just the right amount of words.

    One day at a time, one thing at a time is all we can do, have ever been able to do and will only be able to do. The difference is believing and focusing and prioritizing.

    Thanks for the positive drink of water, my friend.

    Comment by Stacy Coulter — 10/26/2009 @ 7:21 AM

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