Ignore the Circus and Stay Focused

by Ron Hall, Editor-in-Chief
1/13/2013

I'm starting this column on a decidedly downer note. Keep reading though because by the time to read to the end you'll be encouraged. Rightfully proud, too.

Looking back on the on what transpired in Washington D.C. as 2012 ended I can't help feel that I was played like a fiddle. Maybe you feel the same way. I'm referring to the buzzer-beating announcement from our legislators that they had saved our economy from plunging over the so-called fiscal cliff.

I had bought into the charade. Initially anyway. But, I came to see it for what it really was long before the self-congratulatory announcement emitted from our nation's capital. It was circus of the absurd. The outcome may not have been scripted, not the precise details anyway, but the temporary fix in retrospect seems as predictable as night to day. And, to a large degree, inconsequential. The game itself, carefully rehearsed by both sides for weeks, was played for political advantage and little else. It was baldly and badly played at that.

(Click Fiscal Cliff Legislation Summary to read what  William K. Moore, Vianovo, a management consultancy firm, shared with the Texas Landscape and Nursery Association.)

Regarding the issue of the nation's deficit, it seems almost certain that when (if?) our lawmakers really address our nation's exploding debt that 1.) all of us (small businesses and wage earners alike) will be paying  higher taxes, 2.) we will be retiring at an older age and 3.) hard decisions will have to be made to rein in the incredible drag of health care costs on the economy, and especially programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Stay aware of what's going on around you in terms of legislation, regulation, etc. but don't dwell on the negativity of the 24/7 news noise and don't let it discourage you. Keep your eyes on your goals and on the positive things within your life - your health, your family, your friends, your business.

Don't ever doubt that, regardless of what happens in Washington, that the publics' appreciation for the green industry will continue to grow because it greatly appreciates the life-enhancing benefits of your products and services. I say this based on the 28 years that I've been a part of the industry and seen it evolve. Every day I'm  more encouraged of its continued growth because, as an industry, green industry business owners and managers are: 

Positive: You view your efforts, your businesses and your products and services as improving the well-being of customers. You know that what you do for the public adds beauty and pleasure to their lives. And, on a grander scale, you recognize that you're part of an industry that improves the beauty and sustainability of our nation's urban and suburban environments.

Intelligent: Founding, running and working within a successful small green industry business is not for dummies or for the lazy. It requires a willingness to put in the hours, a keen understanding of business and also specific and technical knowledge.

Adaptable: If you've been in the industry for 30 years or more, you know how to roll with the punches as you've weathered at least four serious economic downturns. The latest one, the Recession, was a dandy and knocked out a lot of companies. The survivors are leaner, stronger and, in many instances, more profitable.

Obviously all of us function in the larger universe of this muck-along economy. Even so, things aren't as dire as the mainstream media might lead you to believe. Our economy is still the largest and most dynamic in the world, and it's shown over and over again that it's resilient.

Our free-market system allows us to create our own opportunities if we have the drive and creativity to do so. We're in an industry that allows each one of us to determine just how successful we want to be.

Don't be distracted or discouraged by the noise around you. Stay focused on what you can control and keep building your dreams.