Business Hoarders Beware!

By Gail Z. Martin

We’ve all seen the reality TV shows about hoarders, people who just can’t throw away anything.  Sadly, their houses are often filled to the ceiling with junk and their lives become more and more constrained by their precious stuff, things they won’t get rid of but can’t actually use.

Professionals theorize that hoarders get some kind of psychological comfort from all their stuff, feeling safe because they have more than they could ever need.  Maybe they were deprived as children; who knows?  In the end, whoever inherits the stuff usually ends up carting it off to the donation bin or the junkyard, because it’s past the point of being useful to anyone.  Hoarding is a waste of time, money, space and things.

Maybe you don’t hoard stuff.  But could you be a business hoarder?  Here’s the profile—if it sounds familiar, you’ve still got time to change your ways!

  • Do you hoard information and connections?  Are you afraid to share tips, make referrals or pass along helpful news?  (Your precious information has a shelf-life.  If you’ve already used it, hanging onto it without sharing guarantees it will be stale and useless then next time you need it, and no one else will benefit from it either.)
  • Do you hoard ideas and opportunities?  If you hear about an opportunity that might benefit someone you know, do you ignore it or pass it along?  How about an idea that you can’t use but that might be useful to someone else?  When you hoard ideas and opportunities, we all lose out, because someone who might have made something out of them may miss a chance to create something of benefit to everyone.
  • Do you hoard help and collaboration?  Some people are so fearful of being taken advantage of that they get paranoid about offering help or working together with others.  Some like to hoard control, refusing to take part in anything where they aren’t the boss.  Both approaches waste personal and professional opportunities for growth and exposure, and make the community that much poorer because of your lack of participation.  Overcome fear and a need for control, and contribute!

It’s an interesting paradox: what gets hoarded ends up being wasted, while what is shared seems to multiply endlessly.  Share information or contacts with someone, and odds are that they’ll not only share with you, but that their sharing will lead you to others who will do the same.  Share ideas and opportunities, and the person who you share with just might offer you a way to participate and benefit, or the outcome of the information you shared might create something that opens up unexpected new horizons.  Share your help and be willing to collaborate, and you can gain a network of friends, contacts and resources that will keep on giving for years.

So conquer your business hoarding tendencies and see what blossoms!

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