Monthly Archives: November 2013

Thinking Ahead: Navigating By The Signs Of the Times

29 November 2013, by A. Cedilla

You probably know what certain law enforcement acronyms mean from being exposed to popular TV procedural shows like CSI and NCIS, and maybe Bones. Words like BOLO ( Be on the look-out for) and APB (all points bulletin). These words get tossed out when the protagonists are alerted and on the hunt for someone.

In navigating your business through industry changes, consumer demand and market forces, what are the things that you look out for to stay relevant, and how do you recognize them? What are the things you look out for?

The answer depends on your business and on you, you personally. For all the talk of hitting the numbers, getting the ‘likes’, using the latest software, cultivating good press, a business still need the human element to work. Computers can’t make intuitive leaps. Laptops and smartphones don’t buy things on their own, or schedule something in (or out) of calendars, or go value-pricing all by their lonesome. People do that. And the answer is different for each person, so these questions will get wildly divergent results, because we’re not cookie-cutter clones.

When you take a moment to assess the situation, what are the steps you take? What factors do you take into consideration? You look at the groups you belong to. Work, play, business, family….there’s a happy, messy Venn diagram waiting to happen there.

What about assessing the probable situation two weeks ahead? A month? How about in quarters, and in a year? How far ahead do you look? What’s your time-line?

Serious planning is a whole-brain activity that asks uncomfortable questions. It’s much easier to give a quick look around and say, “Well, I’m still here, no need to rock the boat right now.” Or resign yourself to grinding through the days and collapsing on the weekends — when you’ve got the time. Maybe you’re thinking that you’re doing okay but there’s this nagging feeling that won’t let you rest, or let you be.

Life isn’t static…it’s how we grow. We can’t do that if things remains exactly the same. That’s how people build their lives, they move from one stage to another.

Are you satisfied with what you’ve got? When you look back on a typical day for you and extend it into the future, how will you answer the question, “Is this what I want for myself?” If you’re not growing, you’re stagnating, even if it feels pretty safe for the foreseeable future.

People tend to forget just how much of a difference they can create in their own lives because they get used to seeing things a certain way, and themselves a certain way.

What do you want your life to say?
Artists have their art, writers have their writing, and so on. As a business owner, don’t go on thinking it’s all about dollars and cents. Continue reading Thinking Ahead: Navigating By The Signs Of the Times

Who Do You Work With?

22 November 2013, by A. Cedilla

The most basic business-customer relationship is this: you make the product or provide a service, the customer buys it, or pays you to do something for them. Money for tangible goods or service. That’s it, reduced to its simplest terms.

Real-world customer relationships and businesses are definitely more complex than that though, because at the heart of it it’s about people.

Who sources and supplies the materials? Who makes the products? Who sells it, who buys it, who benefits from it all throughout concept to final product?

On the first level you may be working for yourself — you’re running your own online business, or for other people.

You may be working with partners (joint ventures) or with your affiliates, or even be an affiliate.

You may be running a side business while holding down a full-time job reporting to someone higher up. We do what we have to to make it through in these times. You have to support yourself, and maybe-probably the people you care for — which is a whole other sphere of responsibility. Whoa.

Think past the surface of ‘for’ or ‘under’ or ‘to’. See the connections.

The second definition of ‘customer’ currently in Wikipedia is quite appropriate for this discussion, even if it’s colloquial: “(Informal) A person, especially one engaging in some sort of interaction with others. Ex. a cool customer, a tough customer, an ugly customer.”

You engage in some sort of interaction with others, and many of those interactions happen in established relations, business or personal. The people you work with are your co-workers, partners, bosses, managers, subordinates. The people you work with can also include family members (you’re part of a unit, whether spousal and it’s just the two of you, or you’re also a parent, someone’s child, sibling, cousin, in-law, etc.)

Relationships are how we work. Nobody lives in a vacuum. Who do you work with? ID your more important relationships and dig. Continue reading Who Do You Work With?

7 Questions and 4 Things To Develop Clarity

08 November  2013, by A. Cedilla

  • Would you drive around with fantastically dirt-smeared front windows on your car?
  • Or — here’s another scenario — drive with squeaky-clean windshields, but in a pea-soup fog?
  • How about walking around with fogged-up glasses? Or going about your business with cracked lenses? Or glasses with the wrong prescription?

We’re a visual species. Any way you hack it, the ability to see and envision things clearly is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal, and not just in a purely physical, eyesight sort of way.

What we see we accept as real. Things we ‘downplay’ –they tend to ‘fade into the sunset.’ Or into the background.
What doesn’t register doesn’t get done. The little things that our eyes slide over can come back to trip us up.

  • Thus the warning about “reading the fine print” and “out of sight, out of mind.”
  • This also applies to ‘keeping your eyes on the prize.’ Or the goal. Or the ball.
  • See what I mean?

These scenarios are based on visual imagery. That’s how deeply it runs, and something rooted so thoroughly in our whole way of, haha, seeing and moving in the world deserves to be examined and leveraged on a personal level, so we can live and spend our days more wisely. The obstacle though, lies in doing uncomfortable things that ask a lot from us.

 

Practicing to develop clearer vision is an involved process, and any beneficial result will not be gained without discomfort and uncertainty involved. It can take a cutting sense of honesty to develop discernment (from ‘discere‘ , Latin for “to cut, separate or divide”) and to start slicing away at blinders we didn’t know we had on, or scraping away at things that have been obscuring our vision.

We’re asked to look at things we’d rather not, or imagine doing things that run counter to what we’ve accepted as as good sense. In a way, this is a self-protective reflex to avoid discomfort. But in a more mature sense, discomfort is only a natural part of the price we pay to be able to grow into a deeper strength, and developing clarity is certainly a strength. Continue reading 7 Questions and 4 Things To Develop Clarity