Doing Business Together

There are lots of ways you can do things in business.  You can learn from others, you can have others do things for you, and you can steal from/copy others.  I believe all business owners should have some hand in their business, but that delegation is important as well.  It’s not a good idea to just straight out steal from others or copy their work, because then it’s not your work and you’re not being respectful of what they’re building (having permission or being legally able to use their stuff is different).  The third one is one of my favorites, I love learning from other businesses and leaders.  Whether you read books, watch videos, take classes or watch the ads, there are lots of ways to learn from other businesses and get ideas for building yours.

What got me thinking about this?  Well, I’m rather captured by the Bud Light commercial wherein a barrel of corn syrup is delivered to them incorrectly and they travel to bring it to the two other kingdoms/factories that do use corn syrup to try to find where it was supposed to end up. With a lot of effort and traveling the corn syrup does make it to the proper destination and the people of Bud Light have saved the day.  The commercial is supposed to share the fact that Bud Light doesn’t use corn syrup (and that corn syrup is bad), but what has captured my attention is the idea that the people of Bud Light are so willing to go the distance to support the other beer makers.

I’m all about joint ventures and even just supporting other businesses, whether they’re local-to-you businesses or others you’ve connected with online.  The business world is a rapidly expanding one with lots of others who are trying to succeed just like you are.  I believe there are enough people on earth that there are enough customers for each of us to have all that we need to be both comfortable and growing.  There’s no reason to hinder another business from succeeding, in fact I’d argue it’s better for all of us if more of us are successful.

I would encourage you to reach out to another business or business owner and see how you can support each other in building a better business world, a better experience for your customers and theirs, or just give someone a leg up that you wished you had gotten or are thankful that you did get.

Make it Your Way

I’m not the biggest poetry fan in the world, even though I have dabbled with writing it a little, but there are a couple of poets whose words always seem to capture me. One of those poets is Robert Frost. I am always so entranced when I read the poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” there’s just something about it that has always spoken to me and continues to speak to me. I think one of the reasons why his work resonates with me is because as he said “A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom.” His poetry seems to have more purpose, direction and connection than many others that I’ve read. I’m not saying that everything needs to have purpose or direction, but it’s something I better relate to.

Since I’m ready for spring we’re not going to talk about the aforementioned poem, but rather something else that Robert Frost said: “Always fall in with what you’re asked to accept. Take what is given, and make it over your way. My aim in life has always been to hold my own with whatever’s going. Not against: with.”

This is an interesting bit of insight because it combines different perspectives on living, encouraging us to go with the crowd and be different at the same time. When it comes to success it’s a great insight because one of the best ways to be successful is to take the foundation that someone else has built and add our own unique spin to it. There’s nothing wrong with finding inspiration in what’s already successful or what makes other people happy, and making it into your own or taking it in a new and different direction that works better for you.

But a big portion of the quote is an encouragement to work with the world and others rather than trying to fight an uphill or upstream battle. Yes, innovation/invention and fresh starts are important, but sometimes it’s equally important to just improve on or work with the existing efforts. It’s also easier to build a community or spread the word about your efforts if you’re on good terms with people and are sharing about something that they can identify with rather than something completely foreign or offensive.

Finally, Robert Frost also reminds us of the importance of learning to accept others for who they are. They may change and you may change but that doesn’t mean that you have to live life being confrontational. Working with others and learning to appreciate and support their differences can make the biggest difference not only to our personal victories, but to victories for the rest of the world as well.

What are you making into your own?

Let’s Go Places

I’ve read quite a few children’s books, both as a child and in my years of caring for children and working with families, and most of them are either fun to read, share about an experience, relate history, or teach a lesson. Some are just annoying and you never want to read again, but many are those you want to read again and again, even as an adult. One of my favorite authors who delves into lessons for adults and kids is Dr. Seuss. While I sometimes have trouble reading all the tongue-twisting words he used in his books, I still enjoy them and believe they will remain in our literary circles for generations to come.

In one of his famous books, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”, Dr. Seuss wrote: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

As leaders of and examples to children, one of the greatest gifts we can give them is the encouragement to use their brains. This includes knowing how to make decisions, being confident in making decisions, putting actions to decisions, and making decisions for yourself (not strictly based on what others say or do). Both thinking and acting are important to learn, especially knowing how to think, work through and act on complex situations.

What I love about this Dr. Seuss quote is that it makes thinking and acting sound fun! Sometimes we can get overwhelmed by situations and it certainly doesn’t look or feel fun to think or act, and that’s what the kids in our lives see. I’m not saying it’s wrong to show the overwhelm, just that we also have to show how to work through the overwhelm and not get defeated by it.

We all could use a little more fun in our lives, especially as adults. It shouldn’t feel like we’re escaping life or skipping out on our responsibilities or being un-adult. Fun is something we enjoy regularly as a kid, as an adult we just have to learn to balance the fun with the responsibilities. It’s important to show the next generation that there’s room in our lives for both fun and responsibility. Teaching them this can help them embrace their responsibilities sooner, as well as encourage them to never give up on fun.

So how do you balance responsibility and fun in your life?