A Vision of Hope

After a week of working long hours in my home office, I was experiencing a case of cabin fever so I set out to visit my local Starbucks for a change of scenery, and more specifically, to surround myself with human contact (and a soy latte).

And, this is what I found so interesting and what I continue to find uplifting despite our current economic atmosphere:  There were people, a lot of people and as one walked out with their favorite drink in hand, another one or two walked in with cash in hand for their favorite hot potion.

Ironically enough, I was reading a New York Times article discussing how consumers have been taking on some of the tasks that they used to pay for, such as brewing an espresso at home. It went on to report that many of us started cooking more at home, are coloring or cutting our own hair, grooming our own pets and working on our own cars.

Well, the question that comes to mind is this: Is this out of fear, guilt or because we really want to take on more tasks despite an already hectic work/life schedule?

From the experience I had at my local Starbucks (Chesapeake, VA by the way), this isn’t unique as I escape to this location when I get cabin fever and it’s busy like this most of the time. So, the other question is: Who is making their own lattes and is it a few or the masses?

We can agree that small businesses, namely service-oriented, are affected by our current economy as we cut back, however we’re Americans and we’re resilient and although it’s wise to make cuts to sustain ourselves, it’s also vital to employ the services of those that have been available to our needs and not turn our heads on them now. After all, ‘they’ could be us and yes, that is the case here and amongst some of the small businesses that I continue to support. For instance, consider that coloring your own hair may be harsh to your scalp/hair and not last as long if not done correctly.

Perhaps grooming your own pet leads to hurting a paw or not taking care of all of their needs for good pet health. What did the latte machine cost? And isn’t going out for a cup of coffee more often than not about the experience and taking time away to reconnect with a friend or finding a little time alone to reflect and unwind? Travel is another area that has been affected by our current economic atmosphere and while travel buying habits have changed, people are traveling. Travel and tourism is one of our nation’s greatest resources for jobs and economic growth and support is vital as we encourage more overseas visitors to the United States.

Now is the time to re-connect and stand by each other. After all, we are Americans and small business leaders helped create our country and we must never, ever give up. Now is the time to sow our seeds and have faith that what we are planting and creating now will flourish and we will once again be prosperous.

The sooner we live from purpose and focus on what we can do today to create a better tomorrow, the better off all of us will be.

This is an exciting time, it’s a ‘do over’ for many of us and when we can find our way to embrace that – imagine the possibilities. This isn’t about politics.

It is about believing in the power of people and the belief that we can rise above, just as a phoenix rises from the ashes. As Barack Obama said in his fateful speech on November 4th, “This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.”

This is not to be confused with a ‘Pollyanna’ viewpoint; it is written with the intention of standing together and realizing that there is positive news out there. There are stories of business growth and successes despite the daily news of company closings and low profit margins and when we choose to read more of the positive news we can all be inspired to get up in the morning and face the day with purpose and a knowing that it is getting a little better each day.

As Eleanor Roosevelt said many years ago, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” What is your dream and do you believe in it and yourself?

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