This week I was a feature speaker at the annual conference of the Research Chefs Association( ) , which included among the audience, executive chefs, food scientists, dietitians, marketing and sales people, and food manufacturers. The title of my program was, ‘Thriving in these challenging times-If not now, then when?”

Thriving means being able to see an event as an opportunity as opposed to a crisis. Thriving is a change to top your creativity and to be resourceful. Thriving means honoring your own values, reinventing yourself, services or goods, reconnection to you or your company’s dreams and breaking through the status quo.  Tough times call for adaptation and evolution, not desperate measures. Ramping up our creativity is how we will survive and thrive over difficult stretches of time. Now we are back to square one, where ingenuity will give birth to actual products and services to be sold. This is opportunity lurking. Do not wait to hear it knocking. Some of us will react by using the “turtle strategy”: pull everything in, hold tight, and wait it out. Some of us will react by using the “headless chicken strategy:” run around panicked, without direction. Some of us will react by looking at needs and resources, finding matches, and seizing opportunities. We are limited only by our imaginations and our commitment to ingenuity.

Action is Born in Your Mind

As with all actions, everything starts with internal dialog. What is our internal brand? Our interpretation of events directs us, not the events. We make the decision between victim and problem-solver from the start, and our actions merely follow through with that decision. As we have learned, we can shift from victim to problem-solver by shifting our internal dialog. The next step is taking that problem-solver to a new level of creativity. It means we need to be much more conscious about our internal dialog and our dialog with each other; all aspects of our communication. Opportunity may not be knocking as loudly as it once did, but that does not mean we cannot seize it where it’s lurking.

Even during dark and desperate times, there are certain prophetic people who can see beyond obvious challenges and fears. Every Pulitzer Prize was won by someone who shut his or her complaining mouth and took the risk to follow the thread of instinct. We can use the same principles today; practice, practice, practice doing this.

It is easy to sit around paralyzed with worry about the future, but it feels really awful and gets you nowhere. You could stay in this state until the economy shifts and then you will be no better off. While the economy is not under your control, YOU are. You can control many elements of your reality. Take a minute to imagine your life exactly the way you would like it to be. Then ask yourself what YOU can do to make things different. What is your vision? What is the first step toward that? Take that step. Then take the next step. One-step at a time you move toward your vision.

Create the environment to allow this from time to time. Listen to yourself, colleagues, clients, media, and social media, keep in mind that you can be happy, and inspired even in the midst of these wild times in which we are living.

What would be your first step?


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