1. Do not take advice from uninformed sources.

2. Do not confuse an expense with an investment.

3. What I don’t know can be learned…or hired.

4. Personal growth is a daily discipline.

5. Do not confuse a project with a dream.

6. Do not declare failure just because you’ve run out of patience.

7. There’s a difference between risk and calculated risk.

8. Negative thinking makes everything harder.

9. Authentic gratitude makes everything easier.

Here in Las Vegas, we post the odds in our casinos. They are not in your favor. That does not seem to dissuade people from attempting to beat them, of course.

I learned about  more favorable odds from my sister Margaret. Years ago, I was fretting about something–earthquakes or tornadoes, perhaps–and she said, “Barbara, don’t you know the odds are in your favor?”

“What are you talking about?” I asked. She patiently pointed out that even in large disasters, most of the time more people survive than don’t. I’ve lost track of how many times that little tidbit has calmed me down in all sorts of nerve-wracking situations.

With our present economic situation, many people seem to be holding their breath. The media brings us new stories daily of lack and loss. Consequently,  I’ve had my share of e-mail from people wondering if this is a bad time to start a business. While there’s no definitive answer to that, I remind people that the current crisis seems to be most deeply impacting people who have put their trust in others for their financial serenity. At the same time, people who have not exercised their capacity for thinking creatively, may feel that their options are dreadfully limited.

On the other hand, people who have been creating small, thrifty, solid little businesses and have learned to be flexible and build an option bank, are far more relaxed. They know that the odds of surviving the current economic chaos are better for them than for their job-dependent friends. Many of those in Joyfully Jobless Land also are quietly certain that changing times bring with them fresh opportunities. Nice odds.

I’m not the only one to think so. In the past few days, I’ve been polling other self-employment experts and career coaches and there’s been a strong consensus that self-bossers are going to come through this more gracefully than those who accepted the myth of job security. Although I mentioned it earlier this week, if you haven’t seen Seth Godin’s blog piece called Too Small to Fail, I urge you to read it asap. 

Of course, if you want the odds to be in your favor, you also need to participate in stacking them. According to the National Business Incubation Association, 80-90% of businesses are still operating after five years where the founder has received entrepreneurial training and continues with a network group, as compared to a 10% success rate for those who do not receive training and support. 

Those are odds I could bet on.

We must participate relentlessly in the manifestation of our own blessings. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert