Productive Inspiration

Last Wednesday I shared some thoughts on how you can have a more productive summer in your business.  Sometimes in order to be productive we need some inspiration to get us going.  Here are some quotes that might inspire you to success this summer.

“I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.” Frank Lloyd Wright

“A professional is one who does his best work when he feels the least like working. Frank Lloyd Wright

“I don’t work at being ordinary.” Paul McCartney

“Think globally, act locally.” Paul McCartney

“If you want success, figure out the price, then pay it. It sounds trivial and obvious, but if you unpack the idea it has extraordinary power.”  Scott Adams

“The ability to work hard and make sacrifices comes naturally to those who know exactly what they want.” Scott Adams

“When things go bad, it’s easy to point fingers. People who attempt to switch the blame are afraid to fail. We’ve all been afraid to fail before a game, but it shouldn’t stop us from continuing, and from doing what we have to do to get the job done.”  John Elway

What words of wisdom have you heard lately that inspired you?

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Joy in Seasons

Can you believe another month is almost over?  Today is our last post really looking at our topic of the month: seasons.  What I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is the joy that can be found in each and every season.  I know, you’re mentally complaining about at least one season in your head right now, like how much snow there is in winter, how much rain there is in spring/the rainy season, how hot summer/the dry season is, how cold fall gets and miserable it is to watch the leaves fall off the trees etc.  You don’t have to like every season, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find some joy in each of them.  For example,  I don’t like snow but still find joy in watching kids go sledding, or sitting in a comfy chair watching the snow fall with a cup of hot tea and a good book.

Like so many things, the seasons are really what you make of them.  Last Wednesday I talked about what to do if your business is heading into a slow season for the summer.  Just because you may not be making many sales, it doesn’t mean there is nothing you can, could or should be doing during this time.  Just because it’s raining out today doesn’t mean that you have to do nothing because your outside plans were cancelled.   Just because you have a broken arm or leg doesn’t mean there’s no summer fun to be had.

I really believe that life is what you make of it a majority of the time. If you are feeling miserable, that’s the life situation you’ll create around you.  If you’re feeling like a winner, that’s the situation you’ll create around you.  If you want to enjoy your least favorite season, I believe you’ll be able to find reasons to do so!  But it only happens when we choose that path.    So what path will you choose this summer? Will you choose to find some reason for joy in each and every day?

A Summer for Relationships

Summer is known as a time for growth. If you just look outside the window it’s likely that you can see some of that growth. You’ll probably also see evidence of it in your supermarket with all the fresh, locally grown produce that becomes available in summer. While we could probably depend on the areas of the world that are warm all year long to supply us with food (or put up lots of greenhouses in areas that are cold), the summer weather means we don’t have to stretch our resources in that way.

Summer is also a great time to grow in our relationships and our families. With the kids being off it gives us the opportunity to take off a couple of days here and there and not have to worry about them catching up with schoolwork or missing out on stuff. Warm nights and the sun staying out later means date nights can get more creative and last longer. All of which means lots of opportunities for us to get closer to the people who matter most in our lives.

But if the opposite is true, that you’re considering or facing a separation this summer, it’s an opportunity to grow and get to know yourself better. While many divorces have reasons why they happen, for example abuse or cheating or drug use, there’s usually another underlying reason that the divorce is happening. It’s the reason of flaws. We all have flaws, but some of us go into a relationship expecting to be able to break the other person or change them. And I haven’t met anyone who hasn’t changed as they got older and therefore aren’t the same person they were when they first married.

So the question then becomes can you work with the person your partner has become, and can they work with the person you have become? If you can’t then it may be time to revisit why you’re married and who you are as a person. Because if they can’t live with you and you can’t live with them and you aren’t willing to bend either way, I can just about guarantee that you’ll both be miserable in the near future, unless your lives are so different and separate and you hardly ever see each other or talk with each other.

Don’t let this be the worst summer of your life, choose to make it the best by working with the people in your life rather than trying to fight them to be right on everything or win in everything.

“The best you can hope for in a relationship is to find someone whose flaws are the sort you don’t mind. It is futile to look for someone who has no flaws, or someone who is capable of significant change; that sort of person exists only in our imaginations.” Scott Adams

Having A Productive Summer

Summer is officially here. I know as business owners it may be tempting to take off, especially if summer isn’t your busy season. If you can take a break you should, but that doesn’t mean you can let your business totally stop for the next few months, there are still things that need to be done, and should be done especially since you’ve got free time that you don’t always have. So if this is your slower season here are some some suggestions to help you get through it and feel good about it.

1-schedule time for work and rest each day if your typical habit is to work daily. Otherwise try to take off an extra day and work the others as usual. Scheduling your work and play time means you’ve set aside time to work, and still can take the break to recharge.

2-make the upgrades, changes and adjustments you’ve been talking about. If you don’t have a list of things, start talking with clients and employees or get an outside perspective on what you could improve.

3-take time to learn. Your knowledge (and that of your team) greatly impacts your success. If you want to be more successful when you get off the summer break, now is the perfect time to read some books, attend some lectures or take some courses or all of the above and educate yourself and a team if you have one.

4-if you have employees give them time off. Lots of people like to take vacations during the summer, and your employees are no exception. But rather than worry about being short for employees, do some creative rescheduling. Choose a day to close the business, or have limited services available. Adjust your open hours to take advantage of those enjoying the late nights and warmer weather. Get inspired by international communities your customers may travel to or be from and opt to close midday for a few hours for a siesta or other break. Partner with other businesses to combine resources and increase success during times that you both may not get as many customers or have as many employees. The options are endless to giving your employees (and yourself) the time off they want this summer, without settling on the traditional “summer Fridays” if that’s not something you want to do.

What will you do in your business this summer?

A Limitless Summer

Summer is officially here and it’s time to look ahead to what you’re going to do with your life this summer and what you want from the rest of the year as well.  One of the most important decisions we make throughout our lives is what we’re going to do with each and every day.  We have to make decisions about working, spending money, the people we’re going to allow into our lives, how we treat others, how late we’re going to stay up, how early we’re going to get up, our values, what we eat, resting and rejuvenating, where we want to live, where we shop and countless other things.

We not only have the challenge of making the decision, but of making the best decision and turning our decisions into results too.  We don’t always make the best decisions nor do we always follow through on the decision we make.  If you want to see your life improve, it’s time to start making better decisions and get better at following through on those decisions.

How do you make the best decisions for your life?  First by not blaming anyone else for things that go wrong that you are really to blame for.  You can’t always anticipate what others will do or predict the crazy things that go on around the world, but you certainly can do something about the choices you make in your life.  Second, don’t use the “I don’t know” excuse.  There are so many answers available online that you can access with just a couple of clicks most likely, so to say you’re uneducated or not smart enough isn’t an excuse anymore.  Finally, become a doer.  Watching and learning is important, but it’s what you do with what you know that ultimately matters.

This summer I encourage you to take time to watch and learn.  Don’t let the excuse that you don’t know something fly anymore, choose to learn and improve your life.

“Your inability to see other possibilities and your lack of vocabulary are your brain’s limits, not the universe’s.” Scott Adams

Taking Time to be Thankful this Father’s Day

This past week has been a tough one for many people.  With the loss of a child to an alligator and the killing of 49 people in Orlando plus the finding of the wreckage of the downed EgyptAir plane, and countless other tragedies that weren’t front-page news, anyone who cares about human life has reason to stop and give a moment of silence for those lost.  I’m reminded of 9/11, Titanic and other events that caused large losses of life.  Throughout the work to figure out exactly what happened in Orlando, exactly what happened on EgyptAir, finding the people who died in the Towers, and finding the place where Titanic sleeps, we’re faced with conflicting emotions.  On one hand we are so thankful and almost glad when we find out pieces of the puzzle, when we find any kind of answers because it means we don’t have to wonder quite as much.  But on the other, to realize the immense loss of life and remember that we’re looking at the place where people have died and may never be recovered, hurts and may even make us angry.

With Father’s Day on Sunday here in the US I want to encourage you to treasure the life you have and the people in your life.  Choose to be a father, mother, sister, brother, partner, boss, employee, friend, neighbor and citizen who is respectable, honorable, honest, giving, caring, compassionate and loving.  Choose to become the best person you can be.  Choose to make the most of each and every day, because as we’ve been reminded this week, you never know when it will be your last day.

Regardless of whether you lost someone you know in one of these tragedies, whether you are a parent, whether you support the LGBTQ community, or whether you even know anything about these tragedies or not, I don’t believe that “serves them right,” “good riddance,” “that’s the price we pay,” “whatever” or any other hate-and-ignorance-filled comments are the right response.  Every loss of life is a tragedy.  Choose to live your life to the fullest, to show compassion and love to those you meet, and make sure to thank and celebrate the people in your life that you appreciate this weekend, especially your dad, or the father-figure in your life.

Work with a Website

This week I was asked a question that I get asked on a regular basis and thought I’d share a few thoughts about it with you today.  The question?  About starting a business without a website.  My answer to them was that I would never run a business in 2016, or even the past few years, without a website.  With all the free software out there, there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t put one together yourself even if you don’t have the finances to have someone create one for you or a ton of technical knowledge.  And even if you don’t have tons to pay someone to create one for you, again, someone could create the simple one for you on the free platforms for a small fee.

But let’s start at the beginning.  I think much of the question about having a website when starting a business is that maybe there’s some uncertainty as to whether you’ll be successful or not and don’t want to invest in creating a website if you’re not going to be successful.  And the answer for that is simple: you don’t start a business without having done the research to see if what you want to sell is something that people are interested in.  No, you don’t need to have a huge percentage of the world interested in what you offer, just enough to be successful in whatever way you define success.  If you don’t know that there is interest, no, I wouldn’t start a business or build a website.

But once you’ve done the research to determine a customer base exists, then yes, I would make a website.  I wouldn’t start with just social accounts to build interest, I wouldn’t just start with my friends and their friends. Why? Because you only control a portion of your social media accounts, and even if you start with your friends or friends-of-friends you have to give them information in some way and a website is a very easy way of getting information to anyone, anywhere in the world.

So it brings us to having a website for your business.  If you’re not convinced yet, research shows that over 70% of people check out the internet before making a purchase, and that number is higher in certain parts of the world and with certain products or services.  Are you really willing to miss out on the chance that someone might find your website through their search when all it takes to remedy that is create a simple website?  No, I’m certainly not willing to take that risk.

Ready to get started?  There are good web designers out there, and you can also create your own using Weebly, as well as Jimdo, Webs, WordPress, or Wix.  Don’t let fears hold you back, get your business a website today, or update the one you have.

Exploring the World

Summer is coming up in just about a week, can you believe it?  When I think about summer the first thing that comes to my mind is the outdoors.  The second, of course is the end of school for the year.  I can remember what a relief it was to be done and on break for a couple of months and able to enjoy myself again.  I didn’t hate school and I wasn’t bad at it, I just preferred not learning my lessons in classrooms while filling in workbooks.  There are so many ways to learn and not everyone learns the same way.   One of the best ways to learn I think is to get out in the world and see it and/or experience it.  Thanks to technology we’re able to explore the world even from the comforts of home if we don’t have the finances to physically go to places.

One of the things that captivates me the most when it comes to exploring are the natural wonders around the world.  I’m always tempted to click the links to videos and sites about dogs, penguins, bobcats, and other animals like Explore, and I always get sucked in to checking out the photos on the Weather Channel and other sites of gorgeous natural places and of nature taking over what we man have created.  There’s just something about nature that captivates me.

This summer I encourage you to take time with your kids to get outdoors.  Check out some Rail Trails, visit some National Parks (and not just the famous ones), take a bike ride through a park, or just get outside and sit with a cool drink.  Take time with your kids, with your partner and by yourself to see the natural world that surrounds us on a regular basis and appreciate what we have while we have it.  Summer is synonymous with so many of us taking a break from our usual days and doing something else or just taking time off, and with exploring the world we live in.  Make sure you really take that break this summer and spend some of that time off in nature.  What will you explore this summer?

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” Frank Lloyd Wright

A Flag for your Business

This coming week on Tuesday is Flag Day in the US. I will be sharing a few thoughts about this with my newsletter readers over the coming weekend but wanted to go a bit deeper into the topic today with you. Flags are really cool things because they do and say so much in one small package. They make a statement about a brand, country, organization, group of people, culture, and/or event for all the world to see. As business owners there’s a lot we can learn from the flag about our businesses and making a statement.

First, if you really want a flag to resonate it needs to be shared publicly in more than one place. If you think about days like Memorial Day and the 4th of July when thousands of flags are placed next to the graves of soldiers, it’s a big statement about who those people were and what they did, and we honor them for it. As a result most people can describe what the American flag looks like, but if you were asked what the flag of your state looks like could you draw it or tell someone about it with 90% or more of the details correct? I don’t think I could. While the American flag is not only prominently and frequently hung, we don’t do the same for the other flags we could fly. What about your business? Are you taking the time and making the effort to fly the flag about your business? Are you really active on social media? Is your website up to date? Are you participating in local events? Are you showing up in enough places that your potential and current clients not only recognize you but even identify with and look forward to seeing you?

We’ve touched on the second thing the flag does several times: it brings people together and helps them identify with something or connect with something. When people look at your business are they attracted, repelled, interested, comforted, encouraged, empowered, angered or something else? Maybe you don’t have a super recognizable icon like Apple or Disney does, but that’s not to say that you can’t be unique and you can’t make the branding of your company unified between all parts. Some differences are to be expected but overall everything should tie in together; just like you see red white and blue on special holidays, not just American flags being displayed.

Finally, are you proud of what you’ve created in your business and what it stands for? The American flag is a source of pride and hope for Americans, the same should be true in how you feel about your business and how your customers and potential customers feel about it. They should be proud to be part of what you’re doing and want to share it with their friends. You play a key part in developing their pride through how you talk about your business, how you present it, the places you choose to market it, the things you offer through it, the culture that it’s connected to and creating, and the mission and vision you have about and for the company.

Do you stand proud next to your business, or do you have a lot of work to do to bring it together so that it can help more people and do good in the world?

Are You Settling or Smart?

Do you want things to be better or are you happy with the way things are? I think on many levels there are things that we’re OK with, and I’m not talking about the kind of OK where you’re really settling. Many of us settle for things because we don’t think we can get something better or don’t know there’s something better or don’t want to do the work to get something better. If you choose to settle for something you can of course choose to change your mind and go for something better, or you can accept what you have. Neither is wrong, not all of us are filled with super-dreams and goals of being the next big whatever.

But all of us have things that we are OK with and don’t do anything about, but not because we choose to settle for less than what we could have with a little extra work or effort. Sometimes we choose the best that we can have for the time being, we choose a good option of several choices, or we make a quick decision so that we can get onto more important things. It’s not bad to choose a “good” option, sometimes choosing the “good” option is the right thing to do. Don’t feel guilty that you haven’t pursued things to their very furthest, deepest and biggest opportunity as long as you’re satisfied with what you have chosen.

Satisfaction is often the way we can tell whether we’ve settled for something or if we’re OK, or even happy, with the decision we’ve made. Are you satisfied with your life? You probably aren’t satisfied with all areas, and that’s OK. Start this week off celebrating the good things you have in your life and make a plan for which of the things you’ve settled on and want to improve and how you’re going to do that. Don’t wait until next week to find the satisfaction, peace and happiness in your life, choose to take the steps you need to this week.