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Choose To Act And Choose Success

July 27, 2011
Choose To Act And Choose Success

July 21, 2011

Every business owner starts a company with success in mind. However, it is not uncommon to get off track as a result of being overworked, stressed or pessimistic. Learning to overcome these struggles is a crucial tool in any successful business owner’s tool kit.

Negative words are fertile ground to grow a pessimistic mindset. Consider these two phrases: choosing to act versus having to act. Theoretically, both produce the same result: the action gets accomplished. But beyond semantics, there is an emotional distinction. When you have to act, it implies a low level of motivation and is frequently accompanied by negative feelings like fear, anxiety or resentment. The phrase “have to” implies you would rather not be doing it. On the flip side, when you choose to act, you are in control and feel a sense of freedom. You are choosing out of confidence rather than obligation. The goal, then, is to choose to act before you feel forced to act out of fear or obligation.

As a way to remember the “choose to act” approach, here is a simple but effective model: CHOOSE.


Connect with your inner strength. Find the approach that works most effectively for you. It can be as simple as a few deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. You may prefer physical exercise, like a yoga or workout routine. Or, you may find that being in a social setting bolsters your self-confidence, such as participating in a mastermind or professional networking group.


Honor yourself. Acknowledge your unique perspective, wisdom and skills.


Open yourself up to possibilities. See everything as an opportunity rather than an obstacle.


Own your decisions, actions and feelings. Don’t ignore them.


Silence your inner critic. Or, speak to it directly, and say something like, “OK, I hear you. Now get lost!”


Be aware of and use “the force” within you to help you do your best every day. Einstein once said, “Not everything that matters can be measured, and not everything that can be measured matters.” When you’re feeling physically or mentally drained, take the time to re-energize yourself.

Choose to apply this model daily, and choose success.

Some examples of CHOOSE in action:

Prioritize relaxation

Marlo Van Oorschot, a family law attorney in Los Angeles, admits that the “work never ends.” Her solution for re-charging her batteries is to make time for vacations. She takes them as seriously as she does her work, blocking out vacation time with her husband on the calendar just as she would a court date.

Delegate less-important tasks

Chuck Stanislawski is a CPA and owner of an accounting firm that specializes in working with family-owned businesses. He is an expert in family businesses, having grown up in one—his parents founded the firm in South Pasadena, California 50 years ago. As a small business owner, Chuck sometimes felt that there wasn’t enough of him to go around. For many years, he felt he had to sign every tax return that left his office, out of an obligation to uphold quality and customer service. He recently chose to give his second in command the top position in the company, leaving him free to focus on more of the complex tax and accounting problems.

Practice stress release

Amy Zimmerman & Associates is a staffing firm in Torrance, California and was selected as one of the Top 100 Women Owned Businesses in Los Angeles County. Amy has 10 employees and three offices. The pressure to succeed as a small business owner is amplified when you feel responsible for the livelihood of employees and their families. Amy finds that giving back to the community is an effective a way to relieve some of her stress. She is a mentor of an at-risk teen and helps with the YMCA’s annual capital campaign.

Develop a culture that values constructive feedback

Selwyn Gerber, CPA, owner of Gerber and Company—a Century City, California accounting, consulting and taxation firm—has a thriving business with 35 employees. He stresses that all egos are parked at the door of his firm. He has developed a “culture of constructive disagreement.”

“When everyone agrees, they may not always be as creative as they could be,” Selwyn muses. He encourages healthy dialogue and constructive disagreement, as long as it comes out as a conversation, and not a personal attack of another’s opinion.

Every one of these business owners has met success, and each took a different path to get there.

Image credit: Getty Images

OPEN Cardmember Victor Bullara is the managing partner of the Chief Executive Coaching Network and a certified professional coach. He specializes in helping business owners achieve breakthrough results. You can read his blog at OPEN Forum readers can request his e-book on “How to Select an Executive Coach to Achieve Breakthrough Results” by writing him at


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