Seasons of Change

This month the topic we’ll be talking about is seasons. We’ll be taking a look at different aspects of seasons and what we can learn from things like time, changes, weather, renewal and death. One of the greatest challenges we all face is to be accepting of the role of change in our lives. It’s going to happen no matter how hard we try to stop it; we all grow up and age with each passing day. Sometimes we wish that change would happen slower or faster, to keep a particularly awesome/cute stage for longer or get through a really rough stage faster. But seasons wait for no one and we don’t have control over how fast or slow things happen, and we don’t always have control over all the changes in them, all we know is that there will be change.

We don’t like loss and change often requires loss. It’s not easy to watch loved ones pass on or hear about people we’ve looked up to leave their responsibilities or chose to walk a different path. But part of what’s great about life is that we’re not stuck in a box and forced to experience only what fits in our box with us at a particular time. We’ve got the whole world spread out before us, just waiting for us to try new things and meet new people.

Choose to embrace the season that your life is in right now, and be open to the changes that may be coming your way. Sometimes they’ll be big changes that directly affect you, other times they’ll be changes in your world at large (like the change from spring to summer) that may not affect you in a big way, but still makes a difference to you. Will you join me in being open to what this upcoming season will bring?

To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.”  George Santayana

Competition and Success

Like you may be doing I’ve been keeping an ear out for the political happenings because this year there’s a business leader out there trying to make change in a very traditional world: Donald Trump. I don’t necessarily want to talk about him today but I read an interesting headline and blurb from the NY Times the other day about him and Hillary Clinton. The blurb read “Anxiety is spreading among Democrats that Mrs. Clinton has yet to find her footing, and that her campaign is still unsure how to combat Donald Trump.” I understand that so many people and businesses see life as one big competition; that everything is about being better/stronger/taller/richer etc. than someone else (or many others). I’ve always said that I believe if we all work together better we’d all be better off and it wouldn’t be necessary to be in competition. I know that some people really thrive on competing and trying to be better than others, but I don’t think it’s always the healthiest option.

If you take the simple example of coffee shops, each one sells coffee, sure, but the exact type of coffee, the additional products they may sell like tea and treats and the atmosphere the shop provides is unique, sometimes even among one family of coffee shops like Starbucks. I believe that having multiple coffee shops for example in an area is fine because we all have our own unique preferences and don’t all like or need the same thing. So often it’s not about one coffee shop being bigger/stronger/more visible than others, it’s about the one you want to go to.

Your business doesn’t have to be better than another (although it may be), it really just has to do 2 things: be unique and be the best it can be for the people who love it. I don’t believe politics should be about highlighting the failures or shortcomings of other candidates. I believe the focus should be on how you’re going to address the concerns the people have and how you’re going to make the world a better place.

In many cases it’s not worth it to try and compete against other similar businesses because you just can’t. Unless you’ve got lots of investors and a really great plan, you’re not going to topple Amazon, Walmart and Target. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t sell things that they sell and be very successful. It just means that you have to figure out how to make it work for you and how to reach your ideal customers. Learn from your “competition’s” mistakes and successes, but always try to do your own thing because you can’t be anyone but who you are.