Posted On February 23, 2024

Cam’s phone has been ringing. It’s a lot of his small business friends and they’re experiencing similar things. They’re feeling pressure. They’re feeling squeezed.


When an orange is squeezed, orange juice comes out. We know this. We know that sun and good soil and water and maybe some fertilizer help that orange develop that juice. We know the ingredients, we somewhat control the ingredients, and we know the goodness that comes from a squeezed orange. What happens, though, when you and I are squeezed? What happens when life puts pressure on you and me? What ingredients are we drawing on when we’re squeezed? And what results?

I read this question in Rick Ruben’s new book about creativity. He pulled it from an old school motivational speaker named Wayne Dyer. The metaphor’s been around the block a few times. But, it still resonates.

In the past two weeks, I’ve had four small business friends share that things aren’t going well for them right now. A fifth one chimed in this morning with the same report. Regardless of what the economists say – some say it’s great out there, others say it’s dire – for my five small business friends and me, we’re feeling squeezed. Pressure.

One friend desperately needs orders. And when these times happen, he must remember to do the thing that’s gotten him out of these pressures several times before. He has a beautiful piece of property, and he has to remember to sit comfortably and look out over the expanse – over the pasture and at the trees and the pond. That view provides inspiration and creativity. He has to remember to do it. Otherwise fear and worry will have him buzzing around thinking that busyness is the solution.

Another needs walk-in traffic to his store. And for him, busy hands set his mind to creatively solving his problems. He takes on big projects knowing that somewhere along the line something will trigger a solution to his problem. Busyness presents him a solution.

But the question comes back to what are the ingredients we’re putting into ourselves so that when we’re squeezed something positive comes out? Life’s going to squeeze you. For the vast majority of us, it has already, I’m sure. How are you preparing for the inevitable squeeze? Have I prepared appropriately for this squeeze? What are the ingredients I’m putting in? And what’s the pressure doing to them?

Time will tell. Assuming the squeeze ends at some point, I can then look back and evaluate. Right now, my effort includes a work ethic having me make lots of phone calls to interact with old colleagues and working to meet new ones. I’m forcing curiosity by asking them “what’s new?”, “what’s going on?”, “where’s your pain?” I’m working hard to keep a positive attitude about letting go of what’s always worked in favor of trying something new. I’m asking, “What do people want from me?” not stating “Here’s what people should want from me.” These success ingredients I’ve used before but I’m having to create new variations.

I’m working to embrace the struggle. To embrace the squeeze. Because, so often, this is where the good stuff happens. And I’m counting on it again.

I’m Cam Marston and I’m just trying to Keep it Real.

Check out this episode!

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