When we say that we’re thinking Blue Sky, we mean one of those perfect days of the year. Not a cloud in the sky. Perfect Temperature. No Humidity. Just a hint of a breeze. Or however you define that day, you might like it hotter than I do. We can describe that day in detail, color, texture.
If I asked you to describe your Blue Sky company, or job, or career, could you do the same? Escape from realism, but not into fantasy. How much would you earn? What impact do you want to have? What role would be perfect? What would make you happy to get up every single day to go to work? I’ve seen people sit down to write their Blue Sky career and make the decision to finally retire. Or quit a meaningless job. Or change a career. Or even start a business of their own.
What’s on your Blue Sky list? Are you enjoying your career? After all, you are engaged in it most of your waking hours. Wouldn’t it be worth it to figure out which things on your Blue Sky list are missing? Perhaps if you sat down and wrote your list, you could find ways to add some of the things you really wish you could have in your daily life. Remember, success is not a wish. It’s a plan. And you can plan to enjoy your business or career.
Are You Listening?
You’re in the middle of a paragraph and the person you’re talking to seems to disappear. Their eyes glaze over and you can see the cues. They’ve tuned out. Or instead of commenting on what you just said, they either top you with their own version, or they say something totally unrelated. You know that while you were talking they were more involved in what they wanted to say when you are done. And sometimes they don’t even wait until you’re done. They jump in before you even made you’re point as if your idea, or thought or message is inane and without merit.
What ever happened to the courtesy of listening? We are battered with millions of pieces of information every hour of the day. Tons of emails with thousands of messages. Pop-ups in the middle of websites. Sidebars of ads whenever we’re looking something up. Even the New York Times has a page in the Sunday Magazine that seems like bits of three-sentence messages on everything under the sun.
We also encounter the people who head-nod while we’re talking to make us think they’re listening. When really, they’re thinking they forgot to pick up their dry cleaning. So what can we do to be heard?
There are three things to do when you’re feeling the need to be listened to:
- Be brief
- Get to the point
- Say something memorable
One thing you can do when you feel someone has stopped listening: STOP TALKING to see if they notice. If they don’t. Stay quiet.
And above all, remember what it feels like when people stop listening – and be a better listener yourself.
I Wanna Pick Your Brain
You do? Really? You’re in the helping profession. You charge for the services you provide and they want to pick at your brain for free? Really?
When was the last time you heard someone say that to you? What exactly does it mean? Does it mean that the other person thinks they have a right to get your expertise because they suddenly befriended you? Does it mean that they think that since they’re only “picking” that it sort of like taking a bite or a lick or a taste that you offer for free? Well guess what – a taste of ice cream or truffles or Peter Lugers steak can add up to a LOT of calories and a huge expense. Are you leaving that money on the table by providing a basket of free bread and butter and then getting stiffed on the tip?
Of course you can pick my brain. But be sure to bring your checkbook because I don’t take credit cards.
Because it took you years to acquire what you know. It took time and effort and dedication. And you don’t give it away unless you’re getting something significant in return. Like getting paid.
What Does a Leader Do?
Duh! A leader LEADS. If you own your own business, or you’re running a department, why are you writing checks, doing deliveries, making sales calls, processing files, handling the finances, or sending reminders to customers who are late paying you?
If you own your own business, even if you’re a one-person show, YOU are the CEO, the President and the head of the Board of Directors. With all that going how do you even have time to do everything else?
When you do the plan for growth, be sure to include the ways you’re going to give up hands-on production and ultimately be doing nothing more than LEADING. It’s true that we can wear many hats. That we multitask. That we take care of it all and we’re proud of it. But I assure you that if you keep doing that, it’ll either get old and you won’t love it anymore. OR you’ll start to dread it all.
Change is growth. And if you want your role or your business to GROW, then you need to change. One of the best changes you can make if you’re in charge, is to plan to be IN CHARGE, and not one of the team, down in the trenches, doing the production or deliveries or even worse, making a run for coffee.
Holding on to Anger
When you’re angry at someone, and they don’t know it, only you are having a bad day. They’re fine. Nothing upsetting for them. Clueless. And if you confront them, you may cause a momentary riff that will never be forgotten by either of you. That could compromise the future relationship by a few percentage points – but it will never be 100% again.
The only person you can change, is YOU. So get over it. Realize that the things that you’re thinking that are making you angry are making the days you’re going through less than they could be. The Buddha said: “Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
So look out your window. Look at your calendar. Look at your kids or your colleagues or even your manicurist or hairdresser. And see the potential for having a good day without the anger you’re feeling. And let it go. As my son once said to me: “If you’re angry and can do something about it, then do something about it. And if you can’t, let it go.”