Archives for November 2021

Show gratitude always – don’t delay, start today!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving nearing the end of another odd year. In thinking about writing about being thankful or gratitude, I thought back to posts from the last few Novembers. I can’t say it better, so here is my annual blog for the week of Thanksgiving.

This is a good time of year to think of gratitude generally and what you’re thankful for specifically. At the same time, it’s a great time of year to spread good feelings, which you can do by letting others know when you appreciate something they have done for you. In the time of the pandemic it may mean a phone call, email or text, but it’s import to take the time to reach out, thereby investing in your relationships.

Those of you who have younger children (or older ones…) know you end up reminding them to say “thank you” all of the time. That is because thanking someone or showing gratitude is a learned behavior. If it came naturally or from observing others we wouldn’t have to teach children to do so.

Hopefully you remember to thank people as appropriate in your daily life. In a usual year, this may be thanking someone holding the door for me when I get to my office, for holding the elevator for me, or for making a pot of hot water so I can have tea and get that needed caffeine injection upon arriving for work. In this year, it includes thanking people on my team for coordinating between those working in the office and at home to complete tasks needed to serve my clients’ interests. Many of these situations are universal to all of us, but I am sure we all remember holding a door for someone and they walk through without saying anything.

Of course, if you go through your day looking for when people should be thanking you, you likely will be disappointed. Instead, I think about how I want to come across to others, as well as ways I don’t want to come across to others.

We all have bad days, but most days we should recognize when thanking someone is proper and appropriate. This time of year is a reminder to says things you may usually only think to yourself. Positive feedback is energizing, and hopefully the person you provide it to pays it forward. Plus, it has the added bonus of making you or the other person feel good, making it a great way to go through life.

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Wealth is the company you keep

Who you associate with is important in business and in life. You should surround yourself with people who add value. In business it may be a mentor or connector. In your personal life it may just be someone who makes you laugh. Never underestimate the value of humor and laughter.

The saying “everything is who you know” exists for a reason. In the context of business, this makes a difference.

I used to grab lunch or coffee with anyone who asked or was connected with me. Over time, I came to value my time enough to think about who I was meeting with and whether they added value. Of course some people did and some people didn’t. I actually kept some of the people who didn’t add value to me professionally because I decided they added value in other ways. They may have been someone who makes me laugh or with whom I really enjoy our conversations. By making these decisions I was being honest with myself about the company I was keeping, why I shared their company, and the value proposition.

Making these assessments was a valuable exercise. By thinning my “regular” contacts I spent time on in relation to my business, it freed me up to be connected with and meet new people. The new people then went into my continuing analysis of whether they added value. Sometimes it took more than one lunch or meeting to make this determination. Once I did, they were on or off my list. Over time, some people who I took off of my list made it back on for various reasons, all of which had to do with the value proposition. This happened because most things aren’t static and someone can go from not adding value to adding value or vise versa, so be open to reassessing whether someone should be in your circle.

I’m speaking to the company you keep in the business context because this is a business blog. The same rules apply in your personal life. Whether they apply with family I leave to you, but your choices to maintain relationships or not belongs to you alone. As we head into the holiday season, it’s a good time to assess the company you keep. It may cause you to rethink some connections and relationships, but it also will remind you of the wealth you have based on the people you surround yourself with, which is something to be thankful for.

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Success = opportunity + preparation

There are many facets to success. The road is different depending on your profession, but in all situations it involves opportunity and preparation, as well as timing and hard work. The preparation and hard work count as investing in yourself and your future.

Preparation makes the hard work look easier to those on the outside. It’s the investment in yourself. Sometimes you can wing it, but most times you aren’t fully prepared, someone who matters will know. Preparation may be easy, which is always nice. But other times it’s hard and trying. In all situations it’s imperative to do so and enable yourself to do your best.

The hard work you put in helps create the opportunities you need along the road to success. It could be your boss noticing the hard work and giving you more opportunities or a promotion. Or maybe it’s your client or customer recognizing your efforts and directing you more business or connecting you with other opportunities for business. The point is people recognize when people are putting in time and effort, especially when it is bringing results.

This happens for me where my work for clients has resulted in the referrals of their friends, family and peers. It is a great complement when someone sees your hard work and trusts you enough to make such a referral. People don’t want to refer their friends and family to others unless they think the person can assist and will put in the time to do so, because referrals reflect on the person doing the referring. You want to be the person they trust to help people they care about.

The road to success is littered with potholes of all shapes and sizes. You will not be able to avoid them all, but the ones you hit provide lessons so that you can avoid bigger ones in the future. By continuing down the road of hard work and preparation, you will create opportunity and put yourself in the best position to achieve your version of success.

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