Category Archives: Business

People who don’t think…

Disney's adaptation of Stephen Slesinger, Inc....

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If you’ve ever read John C. Maxwell‘s book, Thinking for a Change, you may not consider how important thinking can be to your success.

I am a thinker.  When I wake up, I think about what I have to do that day, and how I’m going to get it done.  Sometimes I think about a movie I just watched or an encounter I had.  Sometimes my imagination goes wild with a simple “what if” question.

Even though it’s been a while since I read the book, I remember his ideas about purposefully setting aside time to think, and keeping a notebook or recorder handy for those times you come up with great ideas or solutions just as you wake up or are driving.

How often have you been in a rut, personally or professionally, as you continue to do the same things over and over?  What if you had some daily “think time?” What if you spent time each day thinking about possibilities to expand your horizons, to give to others, to create solutions, to find another box to think outside of?”

Innovation in business, as in any sphere, is largely the result of people who think differently than the rest of the world.  People who take the time to see the picture from another angle, to consider the possibilities, to ask “what if?” are the people who change the world.

Don’t be a follower.  Don’t do it how it’s always been done.  Ask questions.  Dream up answers.  Fill your head with new ideas. Take your business and your life to the next level.  As Winnie the Pooh says, “People who don’t Think probably don’t have Brains; rather, they have grey fluff that’s blown into their heads by mistake.”

Everything Old is New again

The historic Lerner Theatre in Elkhart, Indian...
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Eighty-eight years ago, an Elkhart business man announced plans to build a 2000-seat theater downtown.  The Lerner Theater was home to vaudeville acts, big band concerts, and musical theater for four years before being purchased by Warner as a movie house.  The theater changed hands several times before standing vacant in 1987 after the death of its owner.

The city purchased the property from the widow and made plans to use the theater as a venue for performing arts, both visiting and local.  In 2008, a cooperative effort of the city and community donations embarked on a multi-million dollar project to renovate the theatre and offer conference and banquet space downtown.

The historic Lerner Theater is scheduled for a grand re-opening in a few weeks.   I was able to get a sneak preview and the change is fantastic.  Prior to the renovation, everything had been covered with black paint, with musty seats and peeling wallpaper.  It now holds the hope of exciting productions, out-of-town visitors, and a cultural center in a struggling downtown.

The lesson? Not everything that is old and deteriorated needs to be thrown away or destroyed. In this same city an old school became a community center, complete with a refurbished playground. Not only is the history and memories of the building preserved, but the waste of materials and labor involved in destruction and new construction is avoided.

As you budget for your business, you could easily overspend on the newest technology, the latest conferences, and the best furniture.  New isn’t always better.  There is something to be said for preserving a connection to our past to make our vision for the future clearer.  There is something about spending your money on the things that are most important, not the newest or the shiniest or the most impressive.

Smart business owners make the most of every opportunity, even when they may seem deteriorated or useless to the rest of the world.  With attention and effort, they may become the grandest showcases of all.

 

Fake it till you make it

A biography on a very good athlete.
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Sometimes, an important business meeting falls on the same day you have a big fight with your spouse.  Or a big networking event comes the day after you were up half the night studying.  At times, you just don’t wanna.  You’re tired, you’re upset, and you just don’t feel like smiling and schmoozing.

Do it anyway.  With enthusiasm.  Why? Because you can’t let your emotions rule your life.  Yes, there’s something to be said for being yourself, but this isn’t a question of integrity.  This is putting your best self forward in the best interest of you and your business.  So you smile and engage others.  In fact, you focus on what others are doing and saying, and take the focus off yourself.

Do you know what usually happens?  If you let go of that anger, or sadness, or fatigue for just a moment, it temporarily fades.  In fact, after some serious brainstorming or socializing with great people, those problems may not seem as overwhelming as they were before.

Besides that, you still get all the benefits of being part of a big decision at that meeting, or making that contact that will take your business to the next level.  If you had decided to drop out, either physically or mentally, you might have missed it.

Athletes call it “game face.” When they are on the court or the field, they are focusing on the strategy and movement of the game.  When they are involved in the heat of the game, they are just an athlete.  They are not a parent or a car lover or a philanthropist.  They are in the moment, pushing their minds and bodies to excel.

So the next time you have a business event that you are dreading, fake it till you make it.  Put on your game face and make the most of every opportunity.