July 3, 2009
"Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb."
-Sir Winston Churchill
This wonderful thought occurred to me yesterday. We tend to see ourselves and others as either a success or failure. We accomplish or fail. There is this whole entire grey area between failure and success that we call life. We should find a different yard stick to measure ourselves by. Lets put aside bank accounts, cars and clothes. Lets look at our lives, that grey area. Are you happy? Are those around you happy? Do you have that special someone? Do you have friends? How's your extended family? Think about it. Give yourself a pat on the back if you had a positive answer and reaction to all the questions... heck... if you have 3 out of 5 you're doing good.
The point is not that we don't need money and the like to be successful, the point is that the small efforts we make to ensure personal, family and relationships succeed are the same set of skills used to be a success in business. If you know how to listen, when to have which emotional reaction, can give advise when needed and are pleasant to be around, more people will flock to you and your business.
Lets take listening as an example, verbal and non-verbal. When your wife [or husband] is telling you how their day went, do you smile and nod or listen? If you can't actually remember how your significant other's day went yesterday, you were just going along with the conversation, and not really listening. Mind what they are saying, try to take mental notes [write them down when you are done if you tend to forget things easily] look at how they are standing, keep eye contact. Does it look like there is something else they want to say? Do they look like they want a response from you? Are the just venting? Now, the next day try and recall how their day was. Check your notes. Try doing this activity 2-5 times a week. If you don't have a significant other, try it with a friend or roommate.
How does this pertain to business? Listen, listen, LISTEN!! To co-workers, management, clients, bartenders, whomever. You never know when your next jewel of information will come to you. For example, with Send Out Cards, I use the Internet to send a physical card through the postal service, with a first class stamp. Did you know that the postal service was going to cut back a day of delivery because of lack of mail? [not a joke or plug http://kuow.org/program.php?id=1646 ] I now feel that sending cards is patriotic. I want to support my postal service. How did I learn about this spin to my business? Listening to a conversation in line at Albertsons.
Listening will also get you more customers. I know people who will drive an extra 45 minutes to go to a dentist because they see him as a part of their extended family. And how does he do it? He has trained himself and all the staff to take notes of the small talk that they have (names of dogs, ages of children, painting the house, buying a new car, etc.). Then the next time they come in, or when he send them their birthday card, he can add in a personal note ie. How is the new puppy? I hope your enjoying the new car! How was Cindy's 9th birthday? Amazing! How to stay above the game!
Try and remember to listen and pay attention to your loved ones. A truly loving, compassionate companion is not only a hit with their family and friends. But the positive energy and uplift you'll start radiating will attract others to you creating a influx of customers.
Have a Blessed Day,