mouse and cheese

Success in 2020 Meant Finding Our Relocated Cheese

2020 has been a year for the books, right?

Few, if any, health and patient advocates or care managers will tell you that 2020 has been a good business year, much less a good year personally.

But those of you who know me and my thought process, know that I like to look at every challenge as an opportunity.  And with that in mind, it’s a good opportunity to point out the important lesson that those who have survived 2020 in business have learned:

We have learned what to do when someone moves our cheese.  

So if you are scratching your head because this doesn’t make much sense, then let me clarify. Because this is a great lesson to embrace for the future. It’s simple wisdom that packs a powerful punch.

image - Who Moved My Cheese?

Years ago, a delightful and insightful book was published; a parable about what happens when life changes and becomes unrecognizable, then what to do to regain success and happiness.

The book is called Who Moved My Cheese?  

It tells the story of mice in a maze. They love to run the maze because there is always cheese at the end. They run the maze over and over again, because they know the way, and are then rewarded with more cheese, over and over again. Yum! Happiness!

Then, one day, the cheese is no longer there. Missing. Gone. 

Of course, they ask who moved their cheese!

Some of the mice were just stuck. They continued running the maze identically to the way they always had, but never again did they find any cheese. They wasted away, unhappy, craving that cheese for the rest of their miserable lives, blaming some unknown entity for moving their cheese, never realizing there was actually something they could do to regain happiness.

cheeseOther mice adjusted to their new reality. They tested out some new maze routes, and sure enough, they found the new location of the cheese. It was there all along, simply in a different place. So because they learned to adjust, they continued to enjoy cheese as much as they wanted to. And, when it got moved again, they knew what to do. They looked in new places – they adjusted – they pivoted. They were happy, successful mice.

OK. I promise you. I am not suggesting you should be a mouse!  But I am suggesting you look at your practice in the same way as those mice who learned to pivot – because your cheese, your happiness and success, has just been relocated to some other place.

In 2020, our advocacy cheese was moved out-of-sight for awhile. No longer could we spend in-person, face-to-face time with clients and potential clients. No longer could we do some of our public speaking. No longer could we hand off business cards at the supermarket or at church. Business as we knew it came to a screeching halt! 

Those who didn’t adjust may have given up or gone out of business. Sad for them. Sad for the clients who might have benefited from their services.

But those of us who learned to pivot, to uncover new possibilities, are the ones who have discovered where our cheese now lies. And we have had far more success, and have served clients in new ways, because of what we learned to do.

Those of us who have retained our practices, and perhaps even improved them, became creative about keeping ourselves afloat. We uncovered and learned new tools, we tried new marketing tactics, we shifted from in-person public speaking to zoom, we met with clients electronically, we learned new ways to manage our practices that have not only kept us in good stead for this difficult pandemic year, but have also created new opportunities and improved efficiencies for the time when the pandemic no longer inhibits our abilities.

So which mouse are you?  Are you the mouse who is just stuck, simply trying to find the cheese in the same, disencheesed location?  You know what they say about that:  Insanity is repeating the same behavior and expecting different results.

Or, are you the “aha!” mouse who has figured out that you need to do things differently in order to regain your access to the cheese?

I hope you are the latter.  If so, YES!  I’m proud of you!  And if you are willing, I’d love to know what you learned, the adjustments you made… please share them in the comments below.

If not, if you are still stuck and  feeling cheese-deprived…  please take a page from the happy-mice-advocates…  Take a new route, find a new tool, get creative… take the steps you need to take to find your relocated cheese. Here’s a great place to begin.

The happiness and success that come from discovering where YOUR cheese is now located will make 2021 a much better year!


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