Enlightening.biz is a great way for us to share our thoughts on how we can improve the way the world does business. Leave me a comment or two! Let's move past dialogue to 'the and factor' where we find a better way.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What's going on???? Where's my spoon?

A few years ago, there were quite a number of people warning against the dangers of becoming used to being spoon fed.  Or just fed - forget the spoon.
In a free-enterprise economy, we only get paid when we offer something of value to our specific  marketplace.  Whether we're a salary earning employee or a taxi driver, whether we sell hamburgers or jets, we can not expect to earn a living if we don't provide high value in exchange for the customer's currency.  The customer can be a passenger, a hamburger-eater, a high flier or a government department.  If we don't give them what they want and need, they'll find a better use for their money.
So, not many people listened.  Most of us got lazy.  There was so much money wandering around looking for a place to be spent that we didn't try too hard to make sure we were high value.  Sure, it mattered that we did a good job.  But we didn't have to justify ourselves very much.  People paid us, because they had to pay someone.
And then things changed.  A few bankers, stockbrokers, financiers showed us that we had built our economic house on a pack of cards, and the warnings we had were valid.  The spoon was empty.
Now a lot of people are hungry.  We got too used to the shape of the spoon.  We've forgotten - or never learned - that for a spoon to be full, we have to give very high value in exchange.  If we can be done without, we may not get fed.  And that's a worry.
Where I live, I hear a lot of moaning and wailing and gnashing of teeth.  A lot of cries for rescue.  On the one hand, I see hordes of people feeling frightened, insecure and cheated somehow.  On the other hand I see some very creative entrepreneurs, doing quite well making a living out of the hordes.
I'm seeing  a lot of information products being sold on line - many offering hope - some to the point of ridiculous fantasy.  Others are helpful, useful, and could genuinely provide a new source of income.
The world sure has changed.
Or has it?
Maybe my spoon is hiding exactly where it always was, within reach, but not as I thought it was.
I remember a colleague sharing an ancient rabbinical tale of a highly favoured wise man who was given the great gift prior to his death of being shown the two alternative destinations.  First he was taken by a guide to a magnificent banquet hall, swathed in luxurious fabrics.  Down the centre was a huge table groaning with delicious food of every description, in abundance.  Yet he noticed that all the people sitting the length of the table were pale, wan, starving.  He frowned in puzzlement and looked questioningly at his guide, who pointed to the spoons they were trying to use to feed themselves.  Ah, he noticed.  The spoons were large wooden implements over 2 metres long.  While they could put food on them, they couldn't get them into their mouths.  So they starved.  "This" said the guide "is hell."   They moved on to another banquet hall.  It was identical in every way - fabulous decor, more amazing rich food - only this time the people were laughing, well fed and totally enjoying themselves.  "This" said the guide "is heaven."  The wise man looked and saw that the spoons were exactly the same.  But this time, the people were feeding each other.
Perhaps that is the secret.  What could I do to feed other people - that is of so much value to them that they will feed me back?  Isn't that the answer to all business?  
Maybe we have to be reminded of that.  Maybe that's what's going on.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Confidence vs. Bravado

I have struggled with self-esteem issues, worthiness and 'inadequacy' for most of my adult life.  Most people gasp when I share that with them - they have always seen me as confident, strong, poised and in control.   I don't need to explain the why, how or when - it's now irrelevant.  But it took the illness I've experienced over the last 10 years to make me realise that masks and suits of armour are not the healthiest of outfits, and that vulnerability and authenticity are the only healthy and sustainable way to live.
Bravado works fine, most of the time.  It will allow you to have the courage you need to get your way out of the Pit and begin your journey to the Penthouse.  But the only way to build a sustainable life is to do the work to know who you truly are and to develop the self-love that allows you to live the way that is right for you.  Only then does real confidence evolve.
My first suggestion is strong and clear.  Eliminate the word 'should' from your mind and your vocabulary.  That word always indicates someone else's agenda, often their attempts to control you either physically or emotionally.    Be conscious of your words, control your own mind and life, and make your own choices.   When you were a child, you needed to be taught and guided.  Now, as a wonderful whole free being, your teachings are your own.  There is no one right way to do anything.  There are right outcomes, of course, and right living.   And your values, your decision criteria and your choices are up to you.  Go, wonderful being, and live your greatness!
And let me know how I can help you.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

A Spirit of Kindness

I must be missing my parents.  It's only a few years since they passed on from this planet, and at this time of the year that's natural.  It's always natural.
Last post was on truth.  They certainly drummed that into us.  And this one is about Kindness.   Another essential in our family.
I later got ribbed for it mercilessly by boyfriends, who were more used to a family where 'taking the p....' was a given, where teasing was the norm and where pranks and cruelty were commonplace.  I'm serious - it was just not allowed.  We were required to be nice to each other - and we were taught how to be kind to others. 
I'm in Santa Barbara at the moment, courtesy of one of the world's greatest teachers of survival and kindness - W. Mitchell.  He's in Molokai, enjoying his well-deserved vacation - while he continues to inspire people by his very existence. 
I'm struck by the normality of courtesy and kindness that I experience when I travel.  People genuinely go out of their way to take care of me,  and I so value it.  I'm wondering if there is a 'spin-off' mood of goodheartedness in America following the Thanksgiving holiday that flows through to the Holiday season.  Whereas in my British-settled part of the world we always began November by remembering a Guy who tried to blow up the Parliament - and that led us into complaining about our Christmas obligations.  Shopping, cooking, hosting, spending, repaying, etc. etc. 
Let's get over it.  Let's celebrate kindness.  It truly is a beautiful way to live.  I'm loving it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

You can't handle the truth - or can you?

I drummed it into my son.  Tell me the truth.  Sure, you'll get punished if you've done wrong, but trying to hide it will only make it worse.  Life will punish you if you lie.
So I found ways to reward him for the courage of owning up while punishing him for doing whatever the deadly deed was at the sweet age of 5.
I still think that's valid.  The truth is so hard to tell sometimes.  But not telling it always works out so much harder in the long run.  Believe me, I know.  And I guarantee you do too.
Why is it so socially acceptable to be nice to people we don't like?  To pretend about anything?  Why was there actually a funny movie (sorry, supposedly funny) about someone who told the truth all the time, and got into trouble?
I watched Fair Game yesterday.  Good movie.  It certainly made me think.
Every sales development workshop I have ever facilitated, had honesty emerge as a primary preferred value.  Every leadership program has had participants vibrantly engaged in discussions about integrity and authentic alignment.
So why are lies so generally embraced as being socially or commercially necessary?  What are we afraid of?  How does this happen??!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

the Leadership Imperative

I'm wondering whether you have had a slack time in your business or team - where you've really been pushed to improve the outcomes and you just can't figure out what to do next.
I have.  Hate to confess it, but I guess I'm human.  The last year or so has been really tough for me at times - figuring out how best to help people on a tight budget with their people problems or new business strategies.  And figuring out how best to position my own business so I can be easily found to help them!  Which way to go?  When?  How?  How much to invest in it?
I found myself looking at sales strategies, staffing, branding, marketing, social media.  I got some fabulous help from a business coach.  Here's what I found.
The answer is always leadership.  The questions were  'Where are  you heading?  What are you trying to accomplish?  Why?  Is that still valid?  Does everyone understand it and do you have universal buy-in?  Leadership's about the horizon.  Only when the vision and purpose are clear does the bottom line become meaningful.  Sounds like text-book jargon, I know - but it actually works in real life.  I'm proof of it.  Once I know where I'm going and why, then I can take others with me to make it happen, and manage the bottom-line to make sure the results are worthwhile and in alignment.  Without that clear sense of purpose and direction, I'm running round in circles.
I've been there and done that, have you?  Was it costly? 

Monday, March 22, 2010

When will some marketers wake up??!!!!

Last weekend, I had the great pleasure of attending Dale Beaumont's Cash Injection conference - I'm a big fan of Dale's - I'm included in his 'Secrets of Inspiring Leaders Exposed', so there could be a bit of vanity there.  It was brilliant.  Great speakers, with highly valuable information, very professionally presented.  Essential and creative business strategies were discussed, including financial innovation, systems and business management, internet and traditional marketing etc.  My only concern was when one presenter - otherwise fabulous - referred to his customers as cows to be milked.  Now, I don't know about you, but I don't want my suppliers to think of me as a cow!  I'm not that unpopular, I don't think.  They like my money.  So why be so disrespectful?  
My mentor John Nevin once said "If you're not feeling respected by your customers, check how much respect you show to them". 
The reference related to gaining more business from an established relationship. But that's different - and should be based on looking for extra ways to be of service.  A positive supportive intention.  Not the 'squeeze it out of them' game that was suggested.  That can only lead to suspicion, cynicism and resentment by the customer - leading to the lying games that some people think they have to play.
Let's get business up and in the open.  Fair, decent, service-based, openly looking for more business without embarrassment, but knowing it has to be earned.  
What do you think?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Enlightening Biz!

Let me ask you a question... On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is a politician and 10 is Mother Teresa, where do you think the general public would put salespeople?