Coreen and I met every two weeks. She wanted to start a business and was having difficulty in writing her business plan. We reviewed what a business plan would look like. I gave her a Business Plan workbook which provided a step by step outline to follow. We discussed each step. I suggested that she not think about the whole business plan but to work on it, step by step. Yet each time we met, she said she had writers block. She couldn't put her thoughts down on paper. So, we reviewed the steps again. Each time we met it was the same story and I ended with, "Remember this is your business plan."
One day, about six weeks into our sessions, she called me to meet before our next scheduled appointment. I just happened to have an opening that day, so I said, "how about this afternoon at 2?" "Perfect," she said, "I'll see you then." I fully expected Coreen to come and say, "I just can't write my business plan." What a pleasant surprise I received. Coreen came bouncing in and presented a fully completed Business Plan. I said, "You got over your writer's block." "Yes!" she said, "When, I realized that I wasn't writing the Business Plan for you, I was writing it for me, I took ownership of the plan. After that full realization, I sat down and within a day I had the plan written."
Coreen's lesson is one for all those preparing a Business Plan. You are writing a Business Plan, not for your banker, accountant or anyone else, although they may want to review it, you are writing it for yourself. It is your business and the Business Plan is your blue print for the building up of your business in the short and long term.
Jock works at our local supermarket. He bags groceries and does odd clean up jobs around the store. He not only bags groceries but also wants to know if customers need help to carry them out to the car. He is interested in how their day is going, and then briefly tells you about his day. If he sees customers struggling to reach something on a high shelf, Jock notices and is soon beside them asking if he could be of assistance. If he sees something on the floor that shouldn’t be there, he is quickly on the move to clean it up. Jock's smile, eagerness to help, overall happy disposition, and the serious way in which he carries out his responsibilities are what strike customers the most. If Jock can consistently do these things, why is it that many of us find them so hard to do? Just wondering.
I ran into June the other day. She is a busy lady. She holds down a job at the supermarket, has two small children and takes care of her ill mother. I wondered how she does it all until she told me she keeps her focus by setting short term goals. She said she "gets satisfaction when she accomplishes them". Then she rewards herself with a little gift, "nothing special," she says. Sometimes it's "getting her nails done, another time it's buying an extra creamy latte".
I asked her what her goals are for 2018. She surprised me by telling me her goals are selfish for the next three months. She wants to "chill out," and take some "me time." "Wonderful," I said.
Me time is important when you are giving yourself to your children and mother while holding down a day-job. Finding the right balance when one has a growing family, an ill parent, and keeping a full time job is important. If we don't take some "me time" we may not have any "you time" left in us. Kudos to June for recognizing the importance of "me time" in her attempt to balance her goals and priorities.
I met Jacob the other day. He told me a story about his grandfather, Weldon Moffatt, who served in the Second World War as an aviation navigator and HAM radio operator. His grandfather completed 26 missions flying in Lancaster and Halifax bombers. During WWII, the method of communication was through Morris Code. Morris Code is a way of transmitting text information using a series of flashing lights, taps or clicks that can be understood by a skilled listener or observer. Jacob's grandfather is now 94 years old and teaching his two grandsons how to send Morris Code text messages using his original equipment.
We have come a long way in sending text messages. Or, have we? Today, we use our Smart phones and let them do the digital translating and we read the messages. Using Morris Code, the human receiver does the translating as well as understanding the message directly. If my Smart phone breaks down or runs out of battery power I wont be able to send my message, but Jacob will be able to tap or flash it out to a skilled listener. High fives to Jacob's grandfather who is passing on his wisdom to another generation.
Want to read more about Weldon, or Weldy as he was affectionally called by his crew mates http://www.thememoryproject.com/stories/586:weldon-moffatt/
George was sitting quietly at his desk, engaged in a few moments of meditation. He needed a bit of break from the difficult policy issue he was trying to resolve. He appeared serene and peaceful. George was interrupted when his colleague asked what he was doing. So George told him "he was spending a few moments in reflective meditation."
His colleague said, "I don't believe in that stuff, and in fact I don't believe there is a God."
Wow, George thought , what a heavy conversation to get into, but now is not the time. So he quickly explained to his colleague:
"I understand how you may feel, in fact I know many people who feel the same way. However I have a different point of view. As I see it, the workings of God are in the beauty of the sunset and the intricate expressions found in the our scenery, garden flowers and in all of nature. I see Him in the compassion that people show towards others in care facilities, to the homeless and to those less fortunate. I see Him when someone forgives another for a harm they have done. I see God in all the good that there is in the world, and I wonder if all of us contributed to the good of others whether more people would feel less angry, less selfish and less hatred towards each other."
George's colleague didn't respond, looked puzzled and walked out of his office.
The other day I had coffee with Emile. He is a kindly gentleman who has had many walks in life. One thing about Emile is that he keeps learning. You see, Emile is 87 years old. He told me that he never learned to read music. So at 76 he decided that it was time. He joined a fiddlers group, learned to read music and play the fiddle. He now jams once a week with his 35 member fiddler group and, from time to time they venture out into the community and entertain others. Oh yes, Emile also reads a lot and is very current with today's world events. So, here's to Emile and here is another short encounter that proves once again that you are never too old to keep on learning.
Julech is an interesting character who came to me one morning and asked,
"Do you know who I am?"
"No I don't, I never met you before," I responded.
"Really, are you sure?"
"Yes, I'm sure." Responding once again.
"Well, I am the person who journey's through life seeking wisdom. I'm every person, man, woman or child, who seeks the truth and searches their heart for peace, forgiveness and love and when they find it, they give what they have found to others at no charge."
"Wow!" I was awe struck.
"Can you tell me more?" I asked.
"Who are you?" Julech replied.
What a question, not "what are you?" or "What do you do?" but, "Who are you?"
I think we will be hearing more from Julech in the future.
Sandra dropped by the Insurance Agency to see Ken, her insurance agent. Sandra's husband recently passed away and he had a whole life insurance package. Sandra was distraught, still angry about her loss and shared her story about her loved one with Ken. Ken listened patiently, expressed understanding about her hurt, told her that he would expedite the insurance payment as quickly as possible, and upon Sandra's leaving put his arms around her as a sign of comfort. In times like this Ken said, "It's hard to listen to these stories and all I can do is put my arms around the individual to show a bit of compassion."
In our encounters with people it is not the big things that count, it is often the little things that make a difference. These occur in all manner of situations including at our places of work. It is during those moments when we are called to reach out.
I never met Bobby Kennedy, but I read that he said "Timing is everything." Once I tried to introduce a new product in my marketplace. It failed miserably. More work was required to prepare the marketplace for my new product. After two years of talking about the product to my clients, making public presentations and pointing to its utility in the workplace to anyone who would listen, I reintroduced it. This time the product was well received. Timing is everything, but sometimes we need to help the idea, product or whatever we want to introduce along. Other times, there are cultural changes taking place within the larger community that allows society to be open to different ideas. When Norman Jewison produced "In the Heat of the Night," starring Sydney Portier, he met Bobby Kennedy by chance before the movie was out for public consumption. Bobby told him that the movie should do well as "timing is everything." The movie was highly successful.
Sometimes we have no idea why a product catches on. However, I think it has something to do with relationships - a sense of wanting to have a relationship with another, even if it is inanimate. In my day it was the "Pet Rock," later, it was "Tickle Me Elmo," and today it is "Hatchimals." All of them had relational marketing strategies at a time when children - and adults for that matter - wanted to connect with something, anything. "Timing is everything."
I ran into Kevin the other day and asked him, "How are things going?" His response, "Everything is wonderful. The only issues I have I bring upon myself." Now that's taking ownership of one's doing. No blame here. When we think about his response -" the only issues I have I bring upon myself" - and apply it to our behavior we take ownership for our missteps, failings and faltering relationships. The colliery to "I bring it upon myself" is "What am I going to do about it?" And, that means correcting our mistakes, learning from experience and repairing relationships. First, comes awareness, second ownership, and third action for improvement. Thanks’ Kevin, for your response.