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You Can Only Change What You Can Change

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It was the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr who wrote the prayer asking God for the serenity to accept the things that cannot be changed, the courage to change the things that can be changed and the wisdom to know the difference. In the world that we now live, we are daily confronted with things we can and cannot change in our lives and businesses.

Often, the things that can be changed occupy our internal environment, for instance, the persons we choose to be, the way we conduct our business operations, our relationship with our employees and our customers and the quality of products and services that we offer. On the contrary, the things that we cannot change exist in our external environment, like the pandemic and natural disasters, we know that they are present, but must find a way of coexisting since they are outside of our control.

Recently, I attended a dreaded dental appointment to have a procedure done. While under anaesthetic waiting for the procedure to begin; I glanced out of the window only to behold a young man commonly known as ‘Pain’ conducting business in a bird’s eye view of my dental chair. This could not have been more uncomfortable, as if my nerves and over active imagination weren’t already working overtime, now I had to stare at ‘Pain’ just before a possible painful procedure.

Be that as it may, my procedure was painless; in fact, this particular dentist is often praised for changing the public’s perception of dentists, by her ability to do excellent work while her patients experience little to no pain and consistent excellent customer service. The irony of the situation, accurately demonstrates that even if the external environment may not be favourably to your business, you can still thrive, by focusing on the things that you can change.

For instance, you can ensure that your employees are valued and are fully engaged and motivated. Additionally, you can ensure that there is effective communication throughout the organisation and that service excellence is a top priority.

It is easy to complain and identify all the things that are out of your control, but are currently working against you and your business. However, remember, every business has its unique challenges. Therefore, focus on what you can change and leave the rest to God.

Dr. Wendyann Richardson is a Management Consultant who specializes in corporate governance, business operations management and refining of skills through training. She can be reached at [email protected]

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