The Universe has a Sense of Humor

7 things I learned this weekLast week was practice, this week I’m serious.  I managed to get my FB Live done and talk about these topics, but let’s face it.  Sometimes, there is more to say.  Keep in mind, while these are the things I’m thinking about this week…I may not have learned them all just now, there’s a bunch of years of experience hidden in here.

  1. Beginner’s mindset.
    In April I proposed a speaking engagement for the Women in Automotive about How to keep a Beginner’s Mindset.  I didn’t get accepted to speak, but I learned a lot and think it is a valuable topic.  So, what is a Beginner’s Mindset, let’s couch it in a story:
    As a toddler discovers something new, what’s the first thing they do?  Generally put it in their mouth, taste it, check the texture, pick it up, move it.  Until someone shows them what to do with an object, they generally will try things on their own.  How novel is that…if we had fewer influences, what would we do with what we had?  Every child in America knows to put a phone to their ear, because that’s what they’ve seen done.  They learn by copying.As an adult discovers something new, what’s they first thing they do? Generally they respond with “I can’t do that” , we don’t metaphorically pick things up and taste them, check the context, move it around.  We wait for someone to show up how to do something instead.  If we haven’t seen it before, we just put it down and walk away.What if we could combine the two traits, what if we could bring that child-like wonder back to new things we are presented with as an adult?
  • In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities – Zen monk Shuniyu Suzuki
  • You aren’t afraid to make mistakes
  • More knowledge is more power, so you are hungry for the knowledge
  • Take more chances because you don’t know the results yet
  • Share more of your results because you are excited about the incremental improvements
  • Beginners are often better teachers because they are closer to the beginning of a process and the mind of a beginner
  • Embrace uncertainty and the unknown
  • Beginner’s make a commitment to learning in front of others
  • The Aha! Moment is still to comeContrast that to someone who knows it already, they tend to fall in to a routine.  What if tomorrow when you showed up to work you looked at it all with fresh eyes, you revisited your processes as if you had to teach them to a beginner and looked for the positives that you would share, you thought about all the ideas you’ve set aside over the years and brought just one of them back.  Wouldn’t that be exciting.  Cultivating a beginner’s mindset can be good for any business.  It’s ok to be an expert, just do it with a little wonder left.
  1. Sometimes a sincere apology is all anyone is looking for.

    I had a guest at our hotel recently reach out and explain a situation.  It wasn’t pretty, she had been insulted and through miscommunications on all sides, was asked not to come back.  I was looking to get to the bottom of this, afterall, as a guest, she is ultimately my responsibility whether I’m there or not.  I read the threads of emails and realized quickly that both parties had misinterpreted statements and had gotten defensive.  I also realized that neither of them were wrong.  While I never recommend telling someone they aren’t welcome, I understood how it had come to that.  I also didn’t really know what to do.  So I sat on it for a week and finally crafted an email to the guest.  I wasn’t able to offer her compensation (nor did I think it necessary) but I did apologize, thank her for her trust in us and invite her to stay again should the need arise.  I also offered to handle her reservation personally.  I wasn’t sure how she would react.  Turns out, the apology was all she was after, she was very gracious and understanding and finally took a little of the blame for the miscommunication herself.  From my perspective, it’s a win-win.  As unhappy as she was, a bad review online or worse, by word of mouth in a small town, would have been significant damage.  Instead, we have a satisfied customer.  What did it cost me?  A sincere apology, viewing the situation from the guest’s perspective and expectation really wasn’t that hard.  The key is to not respond emotionally.  Sleep on it, try to figure out what they’re really telling you.  Most people just want to be heard and acknowledged. Putting it on paper was easier to do than the niggling little feeling that wouldn’t go away that I had someone that needed satisfied.  Make the apology, it doesn’t cost you anything.

  2. Do you wear busy like a badge of honor?

    busyWhen someone says, what have you been up to – do you respond with “It’s so busy” or “I just don’t have an extra minute”  If that’s the case, I would ask you to stop it.  There is no badge that comes from being busy.  Whether you are Super Mom or Super Dad or Super Boss – knock it off, no one cares. What!!  That’s right, no one cares.  If you have  a deadline, meet your deadline, but don’t go all martyr on me to do it, just get it done.  It’s likely it’s a problem right now because you didn’t put the effort forth until it was a problem.  When people ask what I do, it’s tough to share, because they generally think I’m crazy and too busy.  I don’t want them not to ask me for help because they think I don’t have time.  I’ve got time if it’s a priority for me.  If it serves my goals, I’ll find time.  If I say no, it’s because it doesn’t meet my current goals and I’ve already decided what those are, so I know if it fits.  So don’t apologize for having time in your schedule for you and don’t apologize for having to say no, but don’t wear your busy badge on your sleeve either.  Make time for the things that matter, don’t make time for the things that don’t. You get to decide.  You have far better traits to admire than “busy.”

  3. Let’s talk file formats:

    I use lots of different formats for lots of different things and I’m often surprised when I ask for something what comes my way.  I realized everyone doesn’t know the differences.  So let me help you out with things you should know.

  • Are you sending a file over that you don’t want changed? Send it in pdf – that doesn’t prevent it from being changed, but at least your original file won’t be changed on your end so you can always refer back.
  • Did you receive a pdf that you need to change? That’s going to take Adobe Acrobat instead of the Adobe Reader you probably have. Reach out to your friends, someone has the Adobe Suite that can help you.
  • Need to send a logo to someone to put on a poster? Send it in png – this format has a transparent background, so can be placed over the top of other colors and not have a box around it.
  • Sending a picture to someone to put on Social media, send it to them in jpg – that’s a standard picture format, easily editable on almost all laptops. Don’t send the RAW version, this almost always is proprietary to your camera brand, so they’ll have to run it through another piece of software to be able to even use it – if that happens to you, Lightroom is your best bet.
  • Did you get something in a format you can’t use and want to convert it? Do that easily online at Zamzar.  Upload the item, choose the file format you want and fill in your email, they’ll send it back to you, usually within minutes.
  • This is not the all-inclusive list, just the basics that most of us deal with regularly.
  1. A followup to file formats.

    If you have a logo, here’s what you need to ask for from your graphics designer.  Remember, you are paying for this and it’s not ok to have it held hostage, have them send you the following:

  • Png
  • Jpg
  • pdf
  • Original file – may be ai, may be eps (depending on your designer’s preferences)
  • Fonts used
  • Color codes used
  • Web version
  • Print versionPut all of these in a separate file folder so when someone asks for your logo you can easily say, what format would you like and send them that without having to send everything.  This will help with future packaging, web branding, advertising, labels, shirts, etc.  Everything in one place.  Don’t let them fool you in to believing only they can handle your logo.  It’s yours, grab everything at the beginning.  If you need logo work, I got a guy, typically for under $200 I get multiple revisions until we’re both happy with it, then I get a Zip file with all the pieces.  I’m now in control.
  1. I had a need to research UberUber logo

    – their IPO went live last month and they are part of a case study I’m working on in a Business Ignition class I’m taking. The classroom assignment was to review them from a revenue model, but being a former accountant, if you can ever be a former anything, my accounting radar came up.

    This is a company that had the largest Venture Capital (VC) funding in history, recently launched an IPO (that’s how the VC funding gets paid back) and they lost $1 Billion last quarter.  Yep, in three months, $1 Billion dollars.  Anybody else think How the F does that happen?  The worst, they weren’t alone, their #1 competitor, Lyft, also lost $1B.  That’s asisnine to me.  They aren’t even playing with their own money, that’s other people’s money, they have no assets except for their platform.  Now some will say that’s the thing to own is the platform, I think that’s crazy.  When you look at how they make money, there is no way they are ever going to get in the black, their margins are way too small for that.  I like the gig economy in that it allows a lot of people to set their own schedules, whether they are driving for one of these two companies, renting out a room or house on Airbnb, doing a gig on Fivrr or Upwork.  From a people’s perspective I like it.  From a viable company perspective, I don’t see it, certainly not from an Investors perspective.  What am I missing?

    7.  The Universe has a sense of humor.

    I’ve been working on a project for a while, like two years in my mind, plans written last December, started implementing in April.  As part of that implementation, I had reached out to a variety of suppliers, and then I waited…and waited, after no contact, I made a decision and went ahead and ordered the product I needed through a wholesaler…my first excursion with a Chinese supplier (that’s new) – and of course, as soon as the credit card charge went through, guess what happened…I heard from both the suppliers I reached out to months ago.  The Universe waited and watched to see if I was serious, if I was going to act.  When I finally did, it said, oh cool, now we’ll help!  What I really think the Universe did was laugh and laugh and laugh at me.  It’s what we get when we take ourselves too seriously.

    Go forth and conquer your week ahead, I already have some tips cooking up for next week.  Remember if you need further info, I’m here to help.

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