Is Your Glass Half Full? - From the Chairman
Construction Equipment Distribution magazine is published by the Associated Equipment Distributors, a nonprofit trade association founded in 1919, whose membership is primarily comprised of the leading equipment dealerships and rental companies in the U.S. and Canada. AED membership also includes equipment manufacturers and industry-service firms. CED magazine has been published continuously since 1920. Associated Equipment Distributors
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SECTION: From the Chairman

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Is Your Glass Half Full?

By Paul Campbell

Article Date: 07-01-2008
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.

Consider your role as a leader and what you do with your obstacles.

We are a rare breed. We are among the people who actually like to see orange construction cones on highways and roadways. Everybody else sees delays and headaches.To them it means time spent sitting in traffic, extra time to get home from work or getting the kids to soccer games. We are both looking at the same cones; it's just that our perspective is different.We see them in a different light. Where others see problems, we see opportunities. To us it means work. It means customers are using our products. It means money is coming in the door and we are able provide stable employment for employees. It means we can help customers put machines to work building communities and improving lives. It means people are at work doing good things.I am a firm believer that life is what you believe it to be. In other words, it's your perspective that determines whether you see headaches or opportunities. It's whether the proverbial glass is half empty, or half full. True leaders are those who can see through the haze of the immediate to find clarity in the future. They are those who can show others why they need to press forward because they can see what's ahead. They see the opportunities amidst the headaches.What are the construction cones in your business or life and how do you view them? Are they problems or are they opportunities to improve? Do you see nothing but frustration and headaches, or do you see possibilities - those things you can do to better take care of customers, improve the lives of those around you and improve yourself in the process.
Leaders find opportunity where others find only difficulty. Winston Churchill, before the Battle of Britain, knowing full well the fury that was about to descend upon his country, saw opportunity and so encouraged his countrymen: "Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and it's Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.'"
While we are not faced with anything near the trials and tribulations confronted by those who so bravely fought against tyranny in the Second World War, we all have our own battles to face. And at times like these, the battles can loom ominous and threatening. How we choose to fight these battles, how we choose to view our options and encourage those around us, can make all the difference.The Courage to See Clearly
Winston Churchill chose to inspire those for whom he was responsible and help them envision a brighter future, even when everything around them seemed dark and full of despair. How often in our lives do we face such circumstances, whether it be in business or personal matters? How much better could we make our lives and the lives of those around us if we were the ones to lead by example and inspire others through our optimism and determination? Is it possible to face life's challenges and turn them into opportunities? I believe it is. It takes guts, vision and a willingness to lead when others may cower or want to stand still and simply hope for the best. When faced with difficult times, we must find the light when others may only see darkness and difficulty. We must find opportunity in the orange construction cones.
Recently, I heard an inspiring statement: "Don't believe everything you think." While at first it may sound counter-intuitive, I have found the concept to hold quite a bit of insight. Oftentimes, when we first hear bad news, or are faced with uncertainty, our minds quickly run to extremes that typically aren't the most optimistic. We dream up all kinds of worst case scenarios and immediately begin the "Oh no, what if" routine. While this may be a natural instinct imbedded in our DNA through generations of ancestors who struggled to merely survive, I have found the worst case scenarios I conjure up rarely, if ever, come true. But look at how much time is wasted worrying about the improbable.We are better off looking at the challenges at hand, evaluating them for what they are, and looking for the opportunities that lie within. Sometimes just flipping the challenge on its head may help provide the solution. For example, if not generating enough revenue from new customers is the perceived problem, perhaps the best answer is to flip it around and look for ways to generate more revenue from existing customers - or, again, see the opportunity among the orange cones.Finding opportunity in life's challenges is easy to say, but I understand the difficulty lies in the execution - as do all great achievements. However, experience has taught me that if we can change our perspective and view life's challenges from a different angle, we can find those nuggets of potential that lead to greater things. In other words, look for the full half of the glass. 
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