A question to ask yourself when things aren’t going well

Whether it’s a severe case of the blahs or your business is grinding slowly to a halt, there is an outside-of-the-box question that may help you unstick yourself.

If you are getting no motion and less satisfaction from work or from life, start by asking yourself this:
What are my products? What services or things am I providing that people are willing to exchange money or support for?

If you are producing things that people want, you will have good morale and a measure of self-esteem. If your morale is shot and your self-esteem is down the tubes, you may be fixated on producing the wrong products.

If you don’t understand this question, that alone should be a red flag. A product is only valuable if it can be exchanged for money or support. If a person produces no products or only bad products, he or she is a drain on their family or the group that supports them. Eventually, they must begin producing or or they will find themselves out surviving on their own.

Products aren’t always what you think they are. Entertainment can be a product. Babies, puppies, and kittens survive because they are affectionate and entertain. Musicians, writers, and poets survive to the extent that they entertain.

Providing security, protection, or training to a family, group or community is a valuable product and has been for thousands of years. Providing care for infants, those unwell, or the aged is a valuable product.

Advice and leadership are also products, but they are seldom considered valuable by the people who need them most. You must be highly skilled in marketing and salesmanship in order to survive by producing these products. Your rejection rate will be much higher than with products that are immediately recognized as valuable, such as food, shelter, clothing, and entertainment.

The exchange doesn’t even have to be equal in the usual sense. As long as there is inflow and outflow in some measure, there can be happiness on both sides. In the case of a baby, a few smiles and a coo or two can make up for many sleepless nights spent trying to sooth the colicky infant.

As the child grows up, it is a hardship on him if he is not permitted to exchange with his family. His clumsy efforts to help with cleaning can be disastrous at first, but will result in a self-reliant and helpful child if encouraged.

If a person has never been taught that products are necessary to create an exchange, and that exchange is a basic function of life on this planet, they can have a hard time of it. You may see them squatting at streetcorners with tattered cardboard signs that read, “Please Help…”

Take a good look at what people want and see if there is anything that you care to do which will help them out and they will give you money or support for. There is no shortage of money. People can always find money to pay for the things that they really want.

If you come up with a product (service or good) which people want and you can produce, you will have your hands full keeping up with demand. You may have a time of it at first trying to figure out how to produce it. At any rate, you will unstuck from the blahs for a long time to come.

By the way, you can do this at any age and in almost any state of health. There is always something you can do to help others and get an exchange for it. But it all starts with an understanding of what a product is.

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0 Responses to A question to ask yourself when things aren’t going well

  1. Bill says:

    Forgive the redundancy (I put in a trackback), but I had to mention how interesting I found it that you posted thoughts similar to what I had been recently thinking (though in a different context and different slant). It may be the world is refocusing again on the value of a product/service, and its impact on sales and the quality of our work lives.

  2. I think you have captured the essence of a micro-business in your last sentence.

    In a large corporation, most employees are insulated from these critical realities. Their working lives are spent avoiding conflict, assuaging fragile management egos, and anxiously dodging downsizing efforts. In between these icebergs, they desperately try to get some work done on programs that have never been reviewed for relevancy to customer needs.

    If these good corporate citizens ever find out how liberating it is to run a micro-business, there will be wholesale desertions. I estimate it will become more visible in the next two years.
    TITLE: Value in the product is key
    URL: http://writelife.typepad.com/blog/2004/07/value_in_the_pr.html
    BLOG NAME: writelife
    DATE: 07/12/2004 08:05:09 PM
    You’ll find an interesting post on the Ripples blog called A question to ask yourself when things aren’t going well. In some ways, I wrote along similar lines a few days ago with The easiest copy to write. The bottom

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