This morning, I write with a new perspective and a new energy. My wife and I are both getting over being ill. Though we had different maladies, the results were the same: we were both out of commission for the better part of last week.
Being so weak I could barely walk across the room was a change for me. Being so tired all I could do was lie in bed was a punishment beyond imagination. Forcing myself to stay inside and watch the world go by without me, knowing I was in no condition to do anything, this was hard for me.
I’m not a good spectator!
But, I managed to see to silver in the gray that was my world last week. Even in my flu induced fog I managed to glimpse some lessons from this ordeal.
Lesson 1: Be Thankful for What We Have
This is easy but it’s also easy to forget. When you’re blessed with good health, you often forget how good it really is. Spending three days flat on my back helped remind me how lucky I am to have sturdy DNA (thanks mom and dad!).
In our businesses, we should be just as thankful for what we have. Whether it’s loyal customers, caring employees or reliable vendors, we need to recognize and appreciate the assets and resources our businesses have available to them.
A great way to do this is to simply say "Thanks" on a regular basis.
Lesson 2: Use What We Have Every Day
Another way to be thankful for having something is by using it.
By employing our resources, by using them to their fullest potential we are respecting them. Anything else is wasteful.
Our businesses each have a unique mix of resources. This unique mix is what enables us to serve our customers in a way no other business can. It gives us a unique position in our market. It defines what are able to do best and who we are able to serve best.
When we figure this out and we do it, then no other business can compete with us. Because we’re using our strengths, not theirs. We’re playing our game, not theirs. Our customers are happier and our businesses are more profitable. Life is good!
The key is to utilize what we have on a daily basis. Use it or lose it!
Lesson 3: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth Pound of Cure
As I sat in the doctor’s office last Thursday he gave me the bad news. "You have the flu". But he didn’t stop there. He was kind enough to inform me I had the exact strain of influenza that last year’s flu shots were made for. In other words, had I gotten a flu shot last fall, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the flu this March.
In our businesses, especially in our marketing, this is a valuable lesson. We get so busy putting out fires and tending to emergencies that it’s easy to stop doing the things that bring in new business. It’s easy to forget that what we’re harvesting now is a direct result of the seeds we planted and cared for last quarter or even last year.
To prevent a "marketing flu" from infecting our businesses, we need to keep doing the activities that get people to become customers. This means knowing what to do every day to keep our pipeline full and to keep leads and prospects moving through the sales cycle.
Lesson 4: It’s Good to Stop and "UnFocus"
Most of my life I have had to work on focusing better. But one thing I realized last week is that there is great value in "unfocusing" every now and then. Some people call it daydreaming. Whatever you call it, there’s value because it enables your creative juices to flow. It gives you an opportunity to stop and listen to what the world has to tell you.
In his book Time Tactics of Very Successful People, B. Eugene Griessman calls this being "underemployed". And he says it’s a great way to accomplish things because it gives you the ability to see things differently than when you’re focused on accomplishing something specific.
From his book:
"Underemployment provides the time to figure out other ways than the obvious to use what you’re producing."
Being sick and too tired to do anything but stare out a window gave me the opportunity to think about things in a different light. It enabled me to slow down the whirlwind that my life often becomes. Taking a mental "breather" helps clarify my thinking and re-energizes me so I can focus better on what is most important.
So, find time (on a regular basis) to unfocus your thoughts and your attention. Let your mind wander and see what happens.
It’s always good to see the world from a different perspective every now and then. And I appreciate whatever lessons life teaches me along the way. But I am glad to be back in the saddle. And I think I appreciate being here just a little more than I used to.
Have a great day!