November 4, 2012
My thoughts go out to everyone affected by what is now called Superstorm Sandy. Observations from my previous post about uncertainty pale in comparison to what many face now, millions still with no electricity, two of my family members included as I write this. And many unable to return to their homes for the time being, or perhaps not ever returning to the home they once had. Not to mention the families who lost loved ones because of the storm.
How they all come through it will be the supreme example of handling uncertainty, that none of us hopes we have to face. If you’re one of the many affected by Sandy, I hope your recovery is as quick as it possibly can be.
October 26, 2012
A couple of weeks ago while my dad was visiting my house I had to call 911. Just before the paramedics arrived, things were looking very scary to me since I didn’t know what was happening. After they walked in, he started to look better, and by the time they left for the ER, he seemed to be much better. But I still didn’t know what caused this scary scenario.
I had all sorts of thoughts running through my mind. What if it’s this? What if it’s that? What do we do if it’s this? Or that? How will this or that change his life? I had to remind myself to stop. There was no point thinking myself into a frenzy, until I knew more from the doctors who would examine him and probably run tests.
It occurred to me later that the uncertainty of this scenario is reflected often in business too. Something’s going to change, but you don’t know what, or how it might affect you. Or maybe it won’t affect you at all. But you fret about it even though you don’t have any new information to fret about. And then most of your energy goes into thinking about what if this and what if that.
It’s difficult, but you have to ignore the vicious circle of thoughts and “what ifs” that will swirl around in your head. You must force yourself to not think about things, until you know more. I don’t mean put your head in the sand and act like it’s not there. I just mean you keep looking, listening, awaiting more information, and putting off your worrying and decisions until you know more.
It’s perfectly human to fall into the “what if” trap, but try to be super-human and avoid it. At least until you get enough information.
Oh, about my dad? He ended up being perfectly fine. All tests came back normal, and he walked out of the ER with me later that evening. They really didn’t have any explanation for what happened, other than it’s just one of those things. My dad enjoyed the rest of his visit with us, and returned home.
August 9, 2012
The Olympics has offered many stories of athletes from all walks of life, all with the singular goal of leaving London with a medal. As different as all the stories are, I noticed yet again that there is one thing that stood out to me. Regardless of whether an athlete is favored to win or not, they all have their naysayers.
If the athlete is favored, there are people who will say that he or she is overrated. If an athlete is not favored, lots of people say that he or she has no chance, so why even bother. So, even athletes who are best in their own countries have to put up with this kind of talk from people who aren’t even athletes. Yet those athletes still go about their business, doing what they came to London to do.
Don’t let any naysayers in your business or personal life sidetrack you. Just go about doing what you’re supposed to be doing. That puts you in the same boat as Olympic athletes!
January 12, 2012
I hope the holidays and the ringing in of the New Year were good to you. I also hope you are off to a good start, for what you need to do to start the year. To be sure you’re off and running, look at what you need to do, or were planning to do, and do something. Not sure which of the 3 or 4 things you’re considering to start with? Just pick one — any one.
You could always change course if you need to. Just get rolling. More people miss their goals, not because they take the wrong action, but because they take no action.
As Teddy Roosevelt once said, “In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
December 6, 2011
No one likes to make mistakes, but as it turns out, you learn more from your mistakes than you do from your successes. Why? They cause more pain, and in general we remember pain a lot longer than we remember pleasure. A mistake also generally causes us to make some kind of change. It should, anyway, because if we don’t change from a mistake, we didn’t learn from it.
According to John Caddell in an article on the99percent.com site (I don’t think this has anything to do with the recent ”Occupy” movement), when you make a mistake, one of the most important things to do is to own up to it — take responsibility. Don’t look for others to blame. Look in the mirror and see what you can do to fix it.
Caddell outlines five other things you should do after your mistake: fix it, apologize, reflect/learn, change things, share the knowledge. Remember, if nothing changes after you’ve made a mistake, you didn’t learn anything. If you’re going to make a mistake, you might as well make it worthwhile.
September 30, 2011
Two nights ago, on Wednesday night, was the most amazing night for baseball, possibly in the history of the sport itself. Whether you follow baseball or not, you can’t help but carry some of the inspiration over to your own business or career pursuits.
Late in the night Eastern time, in a span of just a few minutes, two favored teams, the Atlanta Braves and the Boston Red Sox, lost their chance to go to the postseason. Both teams had leads greater than 9 games ahead of the next contender, as recently as 30 days prior. Both teams lost those leads by playing poorly in September, and because of tremendous play by the contenders, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Rays.
Even more improbably, Tampa Bay played themselves into the playoffs by defeating the New York Yankees, despite being behind 7 to 0 going into the bottom of the 8th inning. They ended up winning 8 to 7 in the 12th inning.
What’s the carryover for you? Never give up. Keep grinding. You might just make it. Everyone counted out the St. Louis and Tampa Bay teams, but they kept grinding away. And while these teams have their own teammates to lean on during hard times, you be sure you do too. Lean on family, close friends, or even a career or business coach.
And be sure to take action, pronto.
July 11, 2011
I just returned from a vacation last week, where I flew through Chicago to get to Milwaukee. Tried to, anyway. My first flight was delayed to the point where I knew we were going to miss our connecting flight. So, just board the next available flight to Milwaukee, right? Well, the next available was 29 hours away, for a 45-minute flight at that.
So I just rented a car at O’Hare, and drove the 85 miles to Milwaukee. Not bad after all, except for a $225 drop charge for a one-way rental. What can you do? It’s like business … when you have to get there, figure out a way to get there.
May 19, 2011
Interesting story from this morning, on CNN Money, regarding a guy landing his dream job. An Ivy League graduate, he started as a calculus teacher/football coach, turned accountant, turned sports radio talk show host. A move up from a local show to a national show on XM and Sirius Radio required a relocation and odd hours.
But, it was his dream job, so he took action to make it happen. That takes a lot of gumption, too, but he’s apparently a happier man for it! Just goes to show, if you want it enough, and are willing to work hard enough for it, you might, just might, achieve it.
February 10, 2011
Enough time has passed since Christina Aguilera flubbed a line in her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner at the start of last Sunday’s Super Bowl. Tens of thousands of opinions ranging from snarky to sheer outrage were expressed over the next few days. But Aguilera has moved on, as she should, issuing a short statement about it all.
A columnist/blogger for The Daily Beast, Clark Merrefield, asked himself the next logical question in his blog entry today. He wondered how many of those critics, or Americans in general for that matter, know the anthem and could do better? His purely random sample while standing on the streets of Portland, Oregon, yielded a surprising (or perhaps not so) result.
Of the 73 adults he asked, only 8 of them (less than 11%) could recite the Star Spangled Banner correctly. And that was just performing in front of him, an audience of one, never mind the hundreds of millions of people who were watching Aguilera.
What’s the takeaway? You’re going to make mistakes, though hopefully not in front of a hundred million people or more. But if it happens, just move on. Most of the vocal critics probably couldn’t do any better than you did, and likely would do a lot worse.