So much of what we do every day comes down to choices—mostly little ones that can add up to big changes or even unintended consequences. This is a lesson I’ve learned over the last year. As I’ve made choices to put more of myself into work and family, I’ve also chosen to make less time for my own health. The result? I’m 15 pounds heavier than I was a year ago and feeling pretty stressed some days.
Of course, I would love a magic pill that will make shedding the pounds and the unhealthy habits easy, but I know that reversing this trend will, of course, come down to choices—difficult choices. Do I wake up at 5:30 a.m. so I can go to Crossfit before work, or do I hit the snooze button and sleep? Do I let a stressful morning convince me to indulge in that sesame bagel, or do I grab a few raw almonds and take a moment to breathe? As I weigh my options each day, I’ve been trying to train myself to think of them as courageous—rather than difficult—choices that will guide me toward a healthier, more balanced life.
Making courageous choices is also an everyday reality for natural and organic products retailers and manufacturers, particularly in the current economic environment.
As a retailer, do you adhere to the buying standards that have set your store apart from the mainstream competition, or do you let those standards slip to allow in a popular but decidedly “unnatural” or even potentially illegal product (think Lazy Cakes)?
As a manufacturer, do you choose to use high-quality, organic ingredients and support workers around the globe by investing in fair trade certification, or do you cut corners on quality and look for cheap inputs and labor to keep your profit margins up?
Certainly, these are tough, complex business decisions. Yet, at a basic level I believe that if you are willing to stick to your values—even if it means paying more to ensure quality and support workers rights—every natural and organic products business will be more successful in the end.
As we continue to work to improve and evolve the content and services offered via NewHope360 and our other New Hope brands, my goal is to help the companies, retailers and individuals within the natural and organic products community make the informed and courageous choices that bring continued success—even during uncertain economic times such as today.
Want to join the discussion on this topic? I will be exploring the importance of courageous choices on Thursday, Sept. 22, during an education session at Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore. Titled "How Values, Service and Heart Drive Financial Success," this panel will feature the insights and experiences of natural products veterans who have faced their own courageous choices over the years.
If you've recently made a courageous choice—either in your business or in your personal life—you can also share your story in the comment section below. We would love to hear about the important decisions you are making to stand behind the values most important to you and your businesses.