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Ask An Expert; Business Series

When I was in college, I was fired from a job. I was upset, but it prompted me to seek a new job, which offered better pay, improved hours, and something I genuinely enjoyed doing. While I was employed, I became complacent, merely going through the motions of daily life. Reflecting back, many positive life changes were catalyzed by certain triggers. After spending years working as a contractor, a medical issue with my daughter sparked a conversation that led to me getting insurance benefits and public employee retirement I should have been receiving for years. I was promptly hired when I advocated for my own needs during that conversation, something I had casually mentioned but never outright asked for previously.

Recently, I had a conversation with an incarcerated individual who was pursuing a degree after failing out of college post-high school. The circumstances that led to his imprisonment triggered a newfound desire to pursue education and acquire new job skills, which he had previously been unable to achieve. Many businesses undergo transformative changes after losing an employee, prompting them to reassess the position, redefine job roles, and ultimately find a better situation for the company's overall benefit. Some business owners tolerate unmotivated employees for years before realizing the need for change is triggered by some event that serves as the final straw.

Remaining within our comfort zones not only causes us to miss out on opportunities but often results in receiving less value for what we pay. We have become accustomed to poor customer service, price hikes, additional charges, and various other inconveniences because we fail to recognize the need for change. We simply pay our bills, renew leases, and continue with our daily routines. Then one day, unexpected events occur—like the sale of our building, discovering we're underinsured after making an insurance claim, or experiencing a broken phone.

How can we break free from this cycle of complacency and make more strategic decisions? How do we proactively seek new opportunities and initiate changes without waiting for circumstances to force our hand? I've attempted to set goals aimed at evaluating different aspects of my business each year, always with the intention of implementing change. I would like to encourage readers to set up schedules to review employees, review policies, make growth goals, and carefully review the bills they pay with a fresh vision. Asking yourself if each payment is in the best financial interest of the company.

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