Friday Faves, Issue #2

Continuing with the Tim Ferriss — inspired blog post, Issue #2 of The Friday Faves series on Half Full, All GOOD.  This week there’s a bit of a thread.  Not too hard to find it.

So, here ya go…enjoy the muse!”

Destination of the Week:  Bentley, Western Australia.  Near Freemantle, the place made famous  by John Butler, the singer/songwriter/guitar/banjo player extraordinaire…also the location of Curtin University, great work being done there.

Quote of the Week:  “And before you leave the market, see that no one has gone away with empty hands. For the master spirit of the earth shall not sleep peacefully upon the wind till the needs of the least of you are satisfied.” ~ Khalil Gibran from THE PROPHET

Band of the Week: Chingon.  Robert Rodriguez’ band.  Re-introduced this week.  Great sound! Andale’!

Meal of the Week:  Breakfast Tacos, also inspired by Robert Rodriguez!

Website of the Week:   Local coalition of folks who have a great vision for the neighborhood.

And that’s a wrap for the week!


Nylon Mesh Beach Tote with Detachable Zipper Pouch Orange

It was 6:19am Monday morning when I realized, “I forgot the orange bag!”   I’d been up about two hours at this point, felt good about getting some running into my morning exercise routine, was in the car with the kids five minutes earlier than usual.  Then things went sideways.

The “orange bag” is what we put the kids’ clothes in when we go to day care each morning.  Sending the clothes to daycare means the kids get dressed there. This approach is easier for everyone. It creates a smoother, early morning departure and that helps a lot.  The timing in the morning is pretty tight. If things go according to plan, I make it to work a little before my start time. No stress.

Unless we forget something. Like I did yesterday.

I didn’t realize it until I pulled up in front of the daycare lady’s house.  I moved quickly, taking the kids into the house with a brief greeting, and then jumped back in the car to race home to get the orange bag.  I was ten minutes behind schedule as I accelerated down the freeway to the office.  And then the second realization hit me:  Acceptance.

I just needed to accept the situation as it was, take a few deep breaths, consider the worst case, and try to improve it.  I drove quite a bit faster than normal, but I made it on time.  And along the way, a few other topics where “acceptance” would help came to mind.

Like a short, testy conversation I had at home over the weekend about my lack of organization of items stored in the attic and in the garage.  Acceptance.  I need to do better.  I have the ability to do better.  The answer? Prioritize getting more organized. Acceptance.

Like at the office, when I get frustrated that I can’t control the work flow and shifting priorities. Acceptance. Be ready to adjust, anticipate, and stay organized with tasks and open issues. It was challenging initially, but over time I’ve improved.  Don’t forget that.  Acceptance.

I’m reminded of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and her seminal work, “On Death & Dying”.  The five stages of grief. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, ACCEPTANCE.  Over the years the five stages have been found to apply not just to death and grief, but many experiences of loss.  Once you accept, you can move on.

I’m reminded of  Dale Carnegie too, and one of his many tidbits of advice on overcoming worry.  This process in particular is from Willis H. Carrier:  ” 1.  Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can possibly happen if I can’t solve my problem?  2.  Prepare yourself mentally to ACCEPT the worst–if necessary. 3. Then calmly try to improve upon the worst–which you have already mentally agreed to ACCEPT.”

Now it’s time to teach my kids. Acceptance.  It’s the best way to move forward practically, productively, and positively.  The best way to reduce worry and be happier.  The best way to live your life.

And the silver lining to that little SNAFU the other day?

It ended up that the daycare needed milk for the kids (that we supply), so it was good I went back home anyway, since the daycare lady hadn’t sent a milk request/reminder as she typically does the night before. All’s well that ends well.  You just have to accept the outcome and move forward.

Mall Life. 

I had to stop by a store this afternoon in the big Westfield mall down the street.  I hadn’t been in a mall in a long while. Maybe that was the first time this year, come to think of it.

As I made my way in and out of the place, the colors, sounds, and multitude of people all had me wondering, What’s the point?” It’s all about selling stuff.

My simple thought on this matter today is, RESIST. Resist materialism; resist people trying to sell you things you’re not interested in; resist the urge to buy, just because. 

Going to such places is perfectly fine. But don’t give in to the bells. whistles, and pretty lights.

Friday Faves, Issue #1

Following in the fine steps of Mr. Tim Ferriss and his “5-Bullet Friday“, I was thinking after reading his list for the week, “Shoot, I’ve got the same hyper-kinetic thoughts running through my head on a daily basis…why not share some tidbits from MY noggin…”

So, commencing The Friday Faves series on Half Full, All GOOD.  Here’s ya go…and as I often say, “Enjoy the muse!”

Destination of the Week: New customer in this province recently came on board.  Shanxi.  Look forward to seeing that relationship develops.

Quote of the Week:  “If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”  ~ Albert Einstein

Band of the Week:  Spin Doctors. The song that’s been playing in my head repeatedly this week?  “Pocket Full of Kryptonite“.

Meal of the Week:  This one hit the spot last night, and put a smile on my wife’s face since I picked it up on the way home.  They do it right at Smashburger, gotta say.  What did I eat?  Right Here:  Classic Smash with Multi-grain Bun (rather than the standard Egg Bun) & Goat Cheese (rather than the standard American Cheese).  Added a generous helping of raw spinach for extra greens, on top of typical leaf of lettuce.  DELICIOUS.

Website of the Week:   I’ve been thinking about getting another pair of eyeglasses, but don’t want to take the time to go the store.   A co-worker just got a new pair from these folks.  Gonna check ’em out.

And that’s a wrap for the week!

“Selling is Not Telling, It’s Asking Questions.” And it’s building relationships, too.

The phrase, “selling is not telling, it’s asking questions”, has been with me pretty much all of my work life. It’s one that rings true for me today as much as it did a long time ago when I first learned about the sales profession.

My first full-time “career” job had me selling logistics services to companies in the greater San Jose area as an “Account Representative”. Basically it was a entry-level field sales position.

I worked for a big, multinational company, and they provided plenty of training and reference materials to help their sales organization develop their knowledge and skills around the sales process (as the company saw it), and the services (products) we offered. The “selling is not telling” phrase came from one of those reference sheets I carried in my work bag.  I carried that reference sheet for a lot of years as a reminder.

Because we sold services, the “sale” often had a lot of nuance. This is where the questions came in.  Asking a lot of good questions, rather than just babbling on with a sales pitch, was the approach I learned, to uncover possible avenues for positioning our company’s service advantages vis-a-vis our competitors.

The old adage, “we have two ears and one mouth, and we should listen and talk in the same proportion” applied to the way I learned to do business.  Get folks talking, and then listen carefully.  Relationships were also very important to getting business, keeping business, and growing business.

These basic traits have held up well over the years.  Asking questions actually accomplishes both objectives.  By asking questions you learn more about your client (or “prospect”, if you’re not currently doing business together).  Also, if you’re sincere and respectful, the questions you ask demonstrate that you’re interested in the other person.  That circumstance helps nurture the underlying rapport, the relationship.

I have a good friend who’s been a sales guy as long as I have.  He’s also a business owner, and has done very well.  He might say that selling is also “persuading.”  That might be so.  But I think it’s the questions, the problems you uncover and help solve with the answers, and the relationships you develop and keep that lay the foundation. These traits are really at the core of doing business long-term.  And that’s good for everyone involved.

An Old Friend and A Good Lesson

An old friend of mine, I’ll call her “Jane”,  sent me an unexpected note last night.

Earlier in the evening I written a bit of a critical post via social media.  In the post I made a rather crass (and vague) critique on what I felt were short-sited travel woes by a couple of folks.  These folks had shared their separate, mild complaints earlier in the day via social media posts.

Jane knows one of the folks I was talking about and took issue with my comment.  She shared her thoughts politely but pointedly, and was spot on.  I thought about what she said, and quickly realized my impulsive critique was: A) not written very well.  B) worse still, Negative rather than Positive.  It wasn’t the voice I want to project in the world, and it didn’t convey what I’d intended it to convey.

Once I had this realization, I deleted the post. I fumbled through a couple of responses to Jane thanking her for reaching out, and for her candor, and apologizing for the “confusion”.  Though I took the comment down, the hurt had been done but my poorly written, negative critique.  What I learned from this unexpected sequence of events last night were these things.

  1. I need to insure whatever I post to social media be worded well, to make my content as true to what I want to say as I can;
  2. I need to resist the impulse to post careless (or worse yet, thoughtless) comments;
  3. I want to have a positive voice in the world, and have a positive effect.  That is my underlying motivation and I need to be true to that calling.

What I also was reminded of was something I’ve often from social media folks and often say to others about Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc.: Don’t put something out there you don’t want everyone to see, even unintended parties.   Nor should you put anything out there you don’t mind losing control of. Because once it’s out there, you can’t take it back. Even if you delete the content.

Good lessons sometimes come at the most unexpected times, from people you’re not expecting them from. Be grateful for those times.  I know I am. And I’m thankful for an old friendship that still remains true enough that my friend reached out to share her candid thoughts, which turned out to provide me a good lesson, too.

Reflecting on Reunion

I’m just coming off of a high school reunion –  the “R30”, as I called it. In the wake of the weekend, I’ve had a mixed bag of thoughts about the whole affair.

First and foremost, I’m grateful for the people that made the time and effort to participate, some traveling from far away – events were in California and folks came from Washington, Idaho, Colorado, New York, and even Mexico. Clearly the gathering mattered to many. Me included.

That said, there seems to be a variety of attitudes and perspectives around the idea of seeing people you’ve not seen for 10, 20, 30 or more years, in some cases. What will it be like? What will we talk about? What will people say? All these are common and very reasonable questions.

In my experience, borne out again this time, is that there are always early supporters, and early dismissers, at the thought of having and attending a high school reunion.  Some think, “I didn’t enjoy high school, those weren’t great years for me, I’d rather not relive them (which ends up happening a bit, since those experiences all those years ago are the baseline you have with classmates). But that’s really only the beginning.  The early supporters know this. They know how much more the gatherings can be.

People think back, reflecting on their own personal high school experience, the victories and the failures, all the feelings they had so long ago. This stops some people from considering reunion participation right there. Layer on busy schedules, apathy, a personal sense of not being a fan of crowds, and there’s plenty of reason folks decide to pass. Simple enough.

Not so simple for me. I was “class president”, which has me mostly feeling every 3 to 4 years like I have to try to keep the class spirit alive. But the great thing is, I don’t need much of that sense of obligation, because the magic I felt about my classmates – strangely – so many years earlier, is alive and well today. It’s alive and well in the many people that pitch in to make the events a success. I seem to experience the best of what a reunion gathering can offer, because time and again, I “feel the love.”

At the core I’m motivated by the possibilities. At its best, there are some slivers of remembrance, of what we meant to each other. If the magic’s alive and well, we remember what we can shared, where we’ve been, and leave behind any notion we need to be “keeping up with Jones”.

I contend that those connections still matter, in a new ways, as we continue life’s journey. We are all finding our way. And sharing whatever the stories are, they strengthen us.

So whether you think you’ll be one of the enthusiastic participants or a late decider, rally for the event, that’s my advice. Go to your reunion.

You never know for sure how things will go in life, or at a gathering of high school classmates. You got to show up to find out, that’s the bottom line.