In tough times, what is your touchstone?

A trip to Aspen, far from just a luxurious ski getaway, provided vital business inspiration. MARCIA GRIFFIN

Marcia Griffin

By Marcia Griffin

Last week I wrote about how I saw things in the US. It was not a pretty picture. So I need to balance that against an amazing two weeks of skiing in one of the world’s great resorts.

Aspen is a place of great optimism, hence my annual visit. As businesspeople we need to find, people, places and spaces that elevate and inspire us. The media is full of doom and gloom all too often. Yet we have to fight on in business regardless of the economic surrounds.

I clearly remember the sharemarket crash of 1987. It had no impact on my business except to make me work harder and smarter.

I feel that the same is true again. Tough times really work for well-run businesses because there is little margin for error. Often competitors go to the wall – not that we wish this upon anyone. In tough times we need to work harder on our margins and only invest in real value-adds.

I met a huge variety of people in Aspen during my two weeks. Aspen provides a brief refuge from the world and an opportunity to refresh and reinvigorate.

I try to bring Aspen back when I return and recommit to being fit. Skiing in Aspen at 11,000 feet is very hard if one is not fit. Aspen also puts a lot of stuff into perspective. I recommit to a positive mental attitude and to enjoying life every day.

One of my great friends of previous years did not get to Aspen this year. He was killed in the Miami air show four days after leaving last year. He was a brilliant young lawyer and former jet fighter pilot. He died doing what he loved, aerobatics at the Miami show.

Others turn up each year with varying stories of success, joy and challenges, with hope for a couple of weeks of fun in the snow.

Aspen is as much about one’s state of mind as anything. Dealing with the high altitude, some tough double diamond runs and frosty air tests you on many levels.

But my enduring feelings about Aspen come from the age of the many great skiers there. These people have been skiing there for 40 years or more, many are now in their 70s.

In fact one man I met in the ski lift told me he was 85 – but that was nothing compared to his 92 year old brother who skies twice a year at Aspen! Aspen is an annual reminder to me about what the human body and mind is capable of. This reminder is greatly valued in tough times.

Everyone needs an Aspen – a place that motivates and encourages us to do our best on a daily basis.

Aspen is a state of mind. It can be the raison d’être, the thing, the people, the place that inspires you.

What is your Aspen?


To read more Marcia Griffin blogs, click here.

High Heeled Success is Marcia Griffin’s latest book, and is a frank account of building a business from a solitary sales person to a multi-million dollar business with 4700 sales consultants around Australia and New Zealand. It recounts successes and failures along the way and was written to inspire entrepreneurs-particularly women to triumph in business.

High Heeled Success (Kerr Publishing) is available directly from Marcia ([email protected]) or Domain Books


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