Business consultant and coach #b#Milton Paris#/b# of Getting Ahead in Business stakes everything on a positive attitude. Such a stance is so critical to personal and business success, he suggests, that people should avoid the downers of a typical morning: the newspaper with your first cup of coffee and the radio news flicked on in the car on the way to work. “All you hear is bad news,” says Paris. “I recommend people to stay positive and not do all these things. You have to concentrate on ‘what’s best for my business and my client.’”
Paris asks whether people prefer to look through the front window of a car or through the rear, where the landscape is rapidly receding? The correct answer is the front. “Think of the good things; don’t linger with the bad things that happened in the past,” he says. “Think how things are going to change and how to make things better.”
To help his clients understand what it means to maintain a positive attitude, he often gives them this 24-hour assignment: “Take one full day: do not use any negative words in your vocabulary and be positive in all your statements.” Rather than being down about a day of rain, for example, he says he will note how good it is for the grass. “If it’s raining,” he advises, “walk between the raindrops.”
Humor is helpful in maintaining a positive attitude, says Paris. He is 6-foot-7, and often has people say to him, “Oh my, you’re tall.” His response is “No, I’m normal; you’re short.” He observes, “I get them to laugh. Negativity breeds a negative answer, and you want a positive answer.”
Paris will give a talk titled “Nothing is Impossible,” which is also his personal motto, Wednesday, September 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, 216 West State Street, Trenton. For more information or to register contact Ken Evans at 609-989-7888, ext. 131, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The subtitle to his program is “Keep Your Business Thriving During These Challenging Times by Positive Thinking.” A positive attitude, suggests Paris, enables a businessperson to do many things:
#b#Convey confidence to clients#/b#. “Anybody who’s in the sales field or in business must have a positive attitude,” says Paris. “When you get up in the morning, get up with a smile and enjoy what you do. You work for different clients, and you have to make sure you project that for them — that there is an answer to everything.”
#b#Maintain a “can do” attitude#/b#. “People have a tendency say no first, rather than yes,” says Paris. He describes how, in his consulting jobs, he will walk into a room and tell a business owner what kinds of changes in direction need to be implemented. Immediately a hand will go up and a person will say, “That can’t be done.” People with a positive attitude are less likely, he suggests, to get stuck in such narrow ways of thinking.
See people’s strengths rather than their weaknesses. Paris recommends not having any negative thoughts about oneself or someone else. “Don’t knock their bad points, concentrate on their good points,” he says.
#b#Ask for help when you need it#/b#. Rather than constantly repeating the mantra that there’s a recession out there, a positive attitude will motivate businesses to work harder and get the help they need. “There are so many companies that seek help, and they are the survivors,” says Paris, who recommends bringing in the best possible professionals to help the company make necessary changes.
#b#Motivate and inspire yourself and others to make necessary changes#/b#. Paris was in the bridal industry for many years, but as the industry shrank and moved offshore, he did not want to travel to China, India, or Mexico to manufacture dresses. Instead of throwing up his hands, he pulled out and started a new consulting business, and has now worked in about 50 different industries.
Paris grew up in Brooklyn and went to Gonzaga University, in Spokane, Washington, Bing Crosby’s old school, on a basketball scholarship; he majored in business and history. After college, he went to work for Bridal Originals in St. Louis, one of the largest bridal manufacturers in the country, which he and the company’s certified public accountant eventually purchased. But when it was clear that staying in the business would mean hefty travel to China, India, and Mexico, he got out. And he wasn’t the only one: of the 281 manufacturers in his building at 1385 Broadway in the 1970s and 1980s, none are left; they all went overseas.
As a consultant, Paris still works with people in the industry; for example, he helped Oscar de la Renta get into wedding gowns. But his consulting takes him into many different industries, in many aspects of the business, including infrastructure, management training, and time strategy; but his favorite is sales. He urges salespeople not just to have an earnings goal, but to break it down into daily, weekly, and monthly increments and to write it down. As a consultant he likes to go out in the field with salespeople.
Paris has also been involved in two radio programs, “Getting Ahead in Business,” with WGBB from the 1980s through the beginning of the 2000s, and with Bloomberg in Princeton; the second program lasted only six months, cut off when Bloomberg moved to Philadelphia. Paris also writes a column of the same name for Gannett publishers, which appears in the “Home News Tribune,” among other papers. “Most of my columns are written on staying positive to be successful,” says Paris.
Paris says that he is known among his friends and relatives as the most positive person in the world. How does he do it? He stays away from the news, follows sports, and is a fan of the Old West, including John Wayne, fiction by Louis L’Amour, and cowboy magazines. “I believe I’m the only one in New Jersey who gets the three cowboy magazines in the country,” he says.
His positive attitude and happiness in his work has also flowed over into the larger world. When he lived on Long Island, he volunteered for the North Shore Animal Shelter and took animals to visit a children’s hospital and a nursing home; he also worked on Mondays and Fridays at a soup kitchen. For inspiration, he listens to CDs and DVDs on positive thinking, reads about successful businesspeople, and listens to motivational speakers.
Paris also stays away from people who are negative. “Who wants to hang around a negative person who complains all the time?” he asks. “I distance myself miles away. I won’t even go out with certain people if the wife or husband is a complainer, even though they have all they need. Life is too short.”