What impact do you want to make on the world? It was an interesting question that was posed to me that has really got me thinking. If you ask this question to a ten year old, the answer is going to be more heroic than if you were to ask this same question to a thirty-year-old.

Sadly, somewhere between the lines of being a child and being forced into adulthood, we go from looking at life with a “no holds barred” mentality to one that stifles our inner-childhood dreams. Becoming the CEO of a company or the person who finds the cure for cancer succumbs to being a person worried at the dinner table because there is more month left than there is money.

We go from living a potential glorious life ahead of us where we can be anything we want to be, to living a life where we are sick and tired of being sick and tired. If this is you, then now is the time to make the change in your life necessary to be the person you were meant to be.

What’s the difference in your life now compared to when you were a child? Would the younger you be satisfied knowing the life you are living on a daily basis? If not, then why? I hear all kinds of answers as to why people cannot be the person they want to be because of varying reasons, but rest assured these responses are only excuses.

I knew a man growing up who decided he wanted to be a pastor and was going to live his childhood dream of bringing people closer to God. There were many naysayers who thought the man was ludicrous. How could he leave his comfy job to take up his cross and spread the word of Christ? He had put in nearly 20 years working for the local factory and he was nearing retirement age. This career move would be detrimental to his financial stability.

Other people, who had given up on their dreams, were trying to get the man to give up on his. After all, he was 55 years old and wasn’t getting any younger so why would he make the career move? Here’s where I want to challenge your thinking though. The average life expectancy of a person living in the United States is just over 78 years. Now do the math; if the person finally went after their passion at 55 years of age, and lived the average life expectancy, this means that person would spend 23 years living out their passion.

Many people get up day-in and day-out to go to jobs they really don’t like to only come home and complete the rat race they have burrowed themselves into. Does this sound familiar to you? I want you to take out a pen and piece of paper, you can even use the side margin on this article. At the top I want you to write down what impact you want to have on the world.

The answer you write down to this question is what you are passionate about and is what you need to aggressively go after in your lifetime. Below this answer I want you to calculate how many years you have left being able to live out this passion.
If you are someone reading this passage and are above the expected life expectancy, this article is for you too! We never know when our number is going to be called, and we should live each day as if it is our last because it may be. I have continuously heard people talking about living life with no regrets, but the more I think about the impact being made on the world, I have to question how many people are just lying when they say they have no regrets?

The time to start living your life needs to be today. We all have consciously said we would start something tomorrow only to find an obstacle or two get into our way. Before we know it, tomorrow has turned into next week, next week into next month, and next month into, “If I was only younger.”

We get one shot at life and there is only one person standing in the way of our dreams, of our passions. The person standing in the way of your dreams is you. What impact are you going to make on the world?
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

We are all familiar with the television commercial for the major credit card company asking you, “What’s in your wallet?” This actually got me thinking about the business world, and my question for you is, “What’s in your library?” The saying that “Knowledge is power” holds truth for the business world, and my question for you is, “What books are you reading?”

It is said that CEOs of companies are the most avid readers out there. In fact, I have read Internet statistics that suggest CEOs read an average of 60+ books per year. How does this number compare to what you are reading? If you want to be great in the world of business – and I know you do, otherwise you wouldn’t have made it to paragraph two of this article – you are going to have to start reading.

To survive in the business world, you must equip yourself with a special skill set or should I say skill sets if you are going to achieve success. I want you to think about your business and what skills need to be learned. You need the ability to effectively communicate with your customers and your employees. You need to be able to effectively grow as a leader, because we all know there are bosses and then there are leaders. Also, you must be able to work on your mindset to be able to positively impact all facets of your business.

If you are in the world of sales (by the way, all businesses are selling something), how many sales books have you read in the last year? It amazes me how many sales managers I see working for companies that have never picked up a sales book in their life! How are you going to be effective in your role? This makes me wonder how many times people are successful in their employment not because of what they are doing, but actually due to what I term “accidental success.”

Accidental success means you reached success but it was by no part on purpose. You accidentally achieved your results. The results you obtained were by mere luck, and the chips just happened to fall in your favor. What happens next week, next month, or even next year when you are not finding the lucky breaks? This is why you must build your reading library.

There is not one-size-fits-all for the business world. Just go to any book store and you will find countless books on business matters. There are different focus areas for growing your business and no matter which author you read, each book requires you to do one thing: read or listen to the audio book.

Personally, I love the feel of having the book in my hands with a pen by my side ready to jot down notes and “a-ha” moments I have while reading the author’s words. Many times I am able to take one idea and morph it into something that fits with my personality. Before long, I am building a strategy from many people’s thinking (books) and am becoming a better business leader.

Now that I have these ideas in my mind and I have written my notes, the next step I take is to put them into action. This particular activity is the hardest part, because it actually requires you to do something. This is also the most rewarding, because you are able to see the impact reading has on you, your employees and most importantly, your customers.

As your library begins to expand you will notice your business intelligence level start to change as well. Certain things that didn’t make sense before will suddenly make perfect sense, and you will be able to better judge the direction you need to go with your business. The more knowledge you gain and the more you apply the principles learned, the more “lucky breaks” you will find yourself “catching.” Think about the impact this will have on your life.

When you see a book, I don’t want you to see it as the price tag someone says it should cost. I want you to see the book for the amount of money it can bring you when you apply the knowledge you gain to your business. A $30 book investment could easily amount to $1,000,000 in sales if you use what you learn. Start today, build your library, and change the world of business as you know it.
By: D. A. Slinkard
Athens Now is pleased to welcome D.A. Slinkard, manager of the Athens Staples store, to our crew of contributing writers

“Attitude IS Everything,” we are told. This is such an important business mantra that is used often in the workplace, but ultimately could and should be the approach to how we live our lives every day. What these three words mean holds a different connotation for you than it does me. When you think about these words, I want you to visualize what comes to mind. Whether these images that float in your mind are positive or negative can dictate how you view the world around you.

For myself, I am not the kind of guy where the “glass is half-full” nor is the “glass half-empty.” For me I like to think that my cup overflows with the emotional effects that my attitude has on the world around me on an everyday basis. Let’s face it, the world is full of negativity in which the running joke is the evening news beginning by telling you “Good Evening,” and then proceeding for the next 30 minutes telling you why it’s not.

How we respond to events that happen to us, even if we think they are beyond our control, is actually well within our grasp. If you want to know how your day is going to turn out, then ask yourself one simple question. How is my attitude going to be today?

In the world of business, I see all kinds of attitudes. I see good ones, I see bad ones, and I see ones that I will never soon forget. To make the biggest impact upon yourself, your loved ones, your friends, your neighbors, but most importantly your customers, you must maintain a positive attitude even when the world around you suggests otherwise.

I have found the overall satisfaction of my customers increasing when my attitude exhibits an overwhelmingly positive approach. The saying that “misery loves company” holds no weight in my life, nor should it in yours. If you tend to be the negative person in the room, might I suggest you make some subtle changes. I recommend that you commit yourself to only thinking positively, and withstand any negative thinking that might cross your mind.

I understand that in life it is so much easier to be negative. Negativity requires so much less effort than what it takes to be positive. To my knowledge, there is no medication out there that is designed to make you hate life. There’s plenty out there for you to enjoy life, but none exist to bring you down from your emotional high.

I oftentimes get complimented on my attitude, and from a business perspective I relish in this. When customers notice my positive attitude, I realize they are not receiving this same energy level down the street. Your positive attitude can set you apart from your competition. When your customers feel uplifted by your daily approach, they will want to do business with you. Before you can get to this point though, you are going to have to work on your mindset.

We have all overcome obstacles that have stood in our way. Personally, my father died when I was 15 years old and my mom abandoned me less than 2 years later. I could have been negative. I should have dropped out of high school, gotten mixed up in drugs or become a statistic you read about in the paper. I should have never graduated high school, let alone college. I did, though. All because of my attitude.

Do not get me wrong; there were many lonely nights I found myself crying out to God just asking, “Why me?” For several years I took the victim mentality that I “had it so rough,” but then I realized there are people out there who have it worse than I do. This helped change my way of thinking. Being able to reflect upon the obstacles others faced helped me to realize what I was going through was easy compared to what others were facing.

As you are reading this, I want you to realize that the way you conduct business and your life needs to change today. You can make a difference to your customers, and I urge you to let your positiveness shine through to them. No matter what your definition of attitude has been, I want you to start today by realizing that Attitude IS Everything. Go be the difference you want in the world.

Athens Now is pleased to welcome D.A. Slinkard, manager of the Athens Staples store, to our crew of contributing writers.
By: D. A. Slinkard