When last did you take time out to get perspective on your business?

IMG-20130825-00539I’ve just come off the beach and have ordered coffee and breakfast at this beach bistro. It is warm where I’m sitting in the sun but down on the beach it’s windy and cold from the last days of winter in the southern hemisphere. Seagulls screech overhead.

On the beach a group of four young men are exercising, doing on-the-spot running, press ups and hand strengthening, for martial arts. A few runners are sauntering past, heading towards a long stretch of wet beach shining in the early morning sun. About eight young lifesavers are kitted out in wet suits with one of them swimming out into the icy breakers – they’re doing some practice exercise.

Children accompanied by their grandparents are enjoying the swings and slides and generally running about making squeals of delight. Groups of people sit at the wooden tables outside under sun umbrellas eating breakfast, sipping coffee and talking about the scandals in the Sunday papers.

People having fun. People enjoying themselves. People happy in each other’s company. People practising for a run, rescue or to defend themselves some time in the future.

IMG-20130825-00543Life goes on in this coastal town despite the ongoing economic uncertainty. One business owner told me his past monthly sales were his lowest since 2006. A bed and breakfast owner said things have been slow. A coffee shop owner reported how sales this winter have been rock bottom.

These business owners seldom have a chance to get away, take a break and unwind. No time to reflect, get perspective. Working on your business rather than in your business hundred percent of the time dulls and distorts your perspective. Without a fresh look at what you are doing in your business and how the outside environment is affecting it, you could be riding down a road that may simply turn out into a cul-de-sac.

Last night sipping a Cape Syrah (Shiraz) at a wood fire a friend said how he wakes up in the morning and counts the things he is grateful for. He must do this a lot because he rattled off at least 20 things almost all at once. His morning exercise expressing gratitude is another way of reflecting and gaining perspective without needing to take time out away from home or business.

The sun is warm now on the beach. Banners, red, yellow and white flutter in the breeze. Summer is just around the corner. Perhaps things will get better and business will improve. The waiter’s brought the bill. I’m out of here with a new perspective on things. Got a plane to catch home.

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