Getting to your ‘Why’

“Not all who wander are lost”

                                               – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring.

Recently, while doing a corporate photoshoot for my upcoming website, the photographer started to question me about my business. He said that he was looking for the ‘Ah Ha’ moment- the second when my passion would shine in my words, but most importantly in my body language-my eyes would sparkle. my smile would get wider- larger and my whole being would excude the almost evangelical zeal that propelled me to start this journey.

To my credit, (and to his), I really hope that he got that impression. I’m not sure that my snap, crackle and pop was what he felt was the ‘it’ that  envisaged my “Why”.

I believe that everyones’  ‘why’ is different. For me, my why tells me that this is my time; my destiny and my future is tied up in this. My why tells me that I can make a difference in someone’s life, and I am going out there to make that difference. My ‘why’ is grace, courage, determination, gusto- and most of all, my ‘why’ is joy. I love service-serving others, solving challenges, bringing dreams to life. I feel  I was born for this-I probably had to acquire the skills to make it workable, but I was writing proposals (I didn’t know that what what they were) when I was 8 years old. I remember having an imaginary business with imaginary clients, and as an only girl, I was quite content to spend my time in this alternate universe. This is just the continuation in the physical realm.

My friend Michelle, recently wrote an article that asked, ‘What does your Brand look like?’ For me, my brand looks like I do– I can get gussied up with the best of them, and I can also dig in my vegetable garden, sans gloves, with my long manicured nails caked in dirt. I am relentless when it comes to getting things done, yet I am also aware that sometimes I shine so brightly that others are in turn blinded and resentful. I appreciate quality and will demand it-to the extent where I may come across as ‘bitchy’-I prefer forceful. I have a particular distaste for bad customer service, and can smell BS a mile away.

So what is my ‘Why’? To bring all these conflicting talents/challenges/gifts to helping others on their journey-and as I learn, I can also help myself.

Tell me, “What Is Your Why?”



Everyone is trained…Hunny

Some time ago, I had to transact some business with a very reputable company. As a security measure they had erected a two-way window at each customer service counter to ensure that despite the physical barriers, interactions would still go smoothly.

So you can imagine my dismay, when the CSR determined that the best (and only way to her), to attract the clients’ attention was to tap very loudly on the glass partition with a pen.  To my mind, the gesture was both discourteous and utterly unecessary, especially as the security measure in no way impeded her ability to both see and hear her customers.

Amazingly though, when I brought this to her attention, she looked at me with a blank expression, seemingly unaware of the effect of her behavior. Even more disconcerting, I soon realised that I was the only one in the queue who appeared to find issue with this- rest of the patrons seemingly resigned to what is by now a daily occurrence.

We all hear the stories; the clerk that is more interested in her nails than your purchase, the barista who rolls her eyes when you place your order, or worse (at least to me), the disinterested server who simply ‘places’ (even this is a euphemism) your meal in front of you in utter silence.

Usually the response to what I refer to as ‘customer disservice’ is…’they need to be trained’ or ‘they haven’t been trained’, as if this proverbial ‘training’ will somehow transform them into responsible, caring, human beings.

To be honest, training is supposed to do something along these lines, since it is a mechanism expressly designed to ensure a change in behavior.  With this as the goal, much money and time is invested in this process-which often fails at achieving the stated objective.While there are many variables that can and do contribute to the shortfall, 3 major issues emerge.

First of these, is that training is conducted in a controlled environment. The finished product-the trained person-will now have to replicate these newly acquired abilities, skills and knowledge in an operational environment, where other issues (and behaviors)- noise, organizational culture and the behavior of other persons-including the public, will affect this training-either upward or downward.

Second, for optimal success, training must be monitored, evaluated and controlled. This ensures that the new behaviors are ‘hard wired’ from short term to long term memory, where replication over time (and practice) will make them become automatic.

Third,  training must be imparted using a methodology that involves the ‘WHY’ as well as the ‘HOW’. This gives the trained person(s) the ability to successfully perform in todays’ dynamic environments, where decisions are often made on the fly. Without this, measures of performance will be skewed, with differing results, which will stymie any strategies designed to remedy perceived challenges.

So, while I agree that in the norm, some level of  training does take place, an effective training program, one which results in a high level of customer engagement, customer returns and exceptional reviews, is often either absent or lacking in these essential ingredients. And for all the resources that are now being invested in this pursuit, shouldn’t there be sufficient returns to justify this investment?

What are your thoughts?

The Plan…Hmmm

Yesterday, I started off trying to get to a networking meeting with fellow entrepreneurs. Didn’t happen. Tried to get my phone bill paid at my network provider-Nyet. Tried to pay my cable bill-same story. By 3pm, frustrated and weary at my failed attempts, while at the same time dealing with other challenges, I returned home to have a meal and regroup.

Often, we have a to-do list of things to accomplish, and we leave the house determined to check them all off before we return. But often the day has other ideas-other agendas, other peoples’ plans and before you know it, we are sidetracked, sidelined, delayed and postponed. When this happens, we feel defeated and wonder if  we should have stayed home with a cup of tea and a good book and never ventured out. We engage in thoughts of failure and if the agenda we set was important enough, we see our success slipping from our grasp.

However, the Oxford Dictionary defines a delay as, ‘a period of time in which something is late or postponed’- therefore, a delay can also be viewed as an opportunity to regroup, to rethink strategy, or to do some more research. At worst, it may be that while you were all ready and on fire, the world had other plans, as it invariably does.

At the end, I found other things to do while dealing with my ‘delay’- I went to yoga class, where I ying  meditated, I got together with friends and exchanged ideas about the next step in the entrepreneurial journey. And most of all, I reminded myself (as should you), that this is for the rest of my life- I can afford to divert from plan, just as long as I get back on track at the earliest opportunity.

What are your thoughts?

The Accidental Entrepreneur

Often in my daily dealings, I come across persons whose services I may partake of, and some I may just observe. However, whether I am consumer or observer, in many instances two things come to mind-1. that in many instances, these service providers are supremely talented and 2. they don’t seem to know their worth.

I am by no means an expert. My journey has been delayed, denied and procrastinated to the hilt. I went back to school, I got qualified…then, what?

It took becoming fed up of wasting my time (and energy) trying to change what I couldn’t. It took realizing that my time is precious, and was better spent in pursuits that speak to my innate talents-which is to write, to engage, to teach and to learn. It took accepting that I am different-and that I want different things and more importantly, that I wanted to live the rest of my live in as authentic a state that I possibly could.  It also took the realization, that maybe, just maybe, I could do this, and if not, I wanted to try.

The entrepreneur by accident- My car detailer who has the most wonderful vegetable garden and who makes the greatest organic burgers, hot sauces and seasonings, my nail tech who is gifted beyond measure, my hair stylist extraordinaire , who always manages to create (for me) an effortless chic that has become my brand.

And there are so many more. I meet and talk to them, yet when I push even a little, I see that look in their eyes of not yet, of wanting everything to be perfect, before they jump. I see how they long for success, but because of fear , they envision falling instead of flight.

I know how that feels; however I also know that the quest for perfection robs you of your God-given brilliance.

Together, we can build a new reality that convinces us both that we do have gifts to share.

After all, we can always go back to basic.