It’s Just Business As Usual

Cedric Brown Avatar

What’s the deal with retail stores lately? In the past several weeks I’ve read about the likes of retail giants like Sears and Best Buy potentially going out of business.  Okay, so maybe I can understand about Sears.  In case you didn’t know, Sears Holdings purchased K-Mart a few years ago (why?).  So essentially, Sears took on the baggage of K-Mart and it has effectively managed to sink the retail giant’s operations.  Since Sears hasn’t reported a profit in who knows how long, they’ve announced that they’ll be closing nearly a hundred stores nationwide. Needless to say, it’s a far cry from their heydays in the early 20th century.

Best Buy is more of a shocker to me.  Maybe I’m the only one, but I usually have a decent experience when I shop there.  Sure, some of their associates come off as incompetent sometimes, but I’ve had a number of friends work there and they’re some of the coolest people you’ll meet in retail.  Apparently Best Buy’s problems stem from this holiday season, where they had to cancel orders due to running out of inventory – seems like a promotion that worked TOO well.  Maybe their executives needed to take a lesson from this blog post in straying from promises you can’t keep.  Still, I’m hoping the rumors aren’t true; where else am I going to buy my CD’s? (Yes, I still prefer hard discs. Don’t judge me.)

So, here we are in the second month of 2012.  How many people do you know who made resolutions to be “a new person” or a “new me”?  My Facebook feed was filled with those, and it mostly seemed to be females (no offense).  The real question is, how many people do you know who are actually doing things to follow through on those resolutions?  Not a ton, huh?  Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me either.  It’s probably because those people woke up and realized that achieving those ill-fated resolutions involved something I call the dreaded “c word.” Sorry, but I’m not referring to cash, or credit.  What I am referring to is change.

Like it or not, we've got to embrace change, or we'll be going the way of the retail store…

Change: we all fear it in some way.  We as people fear being without the things and people we’re accustomed to more so than the prospect of something new, even if we know that new thing is going to be better for us.  It’s all really a matter of our comfort zones when we think about it.  You’re more receptive to the change when you know what to expect. Yet, you’re also reluctant to change because you fear what you don’t know.  Sometimes though, if you knew the changes that were coming your way, you would alter your path so that you avoid the change altogether.  But, I’m sure that if no one else does, Forrest Gump would agree with me that change (life) is like a box of chocolates – “you never know what ya gonna get!”  That’s why we have a love/hate relationship with change.  We long for it when we’re tired of the routine, and we stray from it when it takes us out of that comfortable space.

I’ve been involved with my freelance services for around seven months, but some recent events have me wondering if it’s time for a change.  For the first time since I started I’ve taken a shot to my chin (and somewhat my confidence) today.  I received advice from someone in my industry who wasn’t too impressed with my work thus far.  Reading the e-mail only twice, the criticism painted a picture so dark that even night goggles couldn’t recognize a light of hope.  My feedback criticized everything from my perceived strengths to my brand name.  Okay, so I knew that I still had a lot of work to do in terms of making a significant difference, but today it seemed like I don’t even have the surface in sight, let alone scratching it.  You could say that this feedback was my way of being humbled by the real world (or me simply taking a real-world beatdown).

So now, like Best Buy and Sears, I have some decisions to make in order to stay afloat.  I could make the suggested changes and reap the rewards, or I could stand pat and wonder what might have been.  It’s the same way for all of us when change brings us to a crossroads.  When can choose to adjust to the times and potentially becomes game-changers like Apple, or we can be stand still until our backs are against the wall, where we’re forced to action in order to suffer the same fate as Borders.  Ultimately, change is a necessary part of our growth process.  And when it comes down to it, if you’re not growing, what are you doing?

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