Monthly Archives: April 2014

Changing the World One Business at a Time

I have a Vision of a world where we are aware that we are all made of the same elements and live in a state of gratitude to be on this unlikely beauty of a planet. Where everyone understands that what we give to another, we give to ourselves. Whatever we can do to make things better for someone else, the more our own lives prosper.

There is a Universal Law of Cause and Effect.  All who have tried it have seen that when you give, you get back a whole lot more. As creatures of energy, in an energetic world, we can have impact in a positive or a negative way.

I believe there are many businesses out there who are doing the best they can to work from a set of values, that speak to a concern for others and a respect for the Earth on which we stand. They have a sense of Service, Meaning and Purpose which overlays their ongoing commercial endeavors.

When small business combines resources with community, there’s not much that can’t be done. I envision a movement, spreading from business to business, person to person, community by community.  If we could all work from a spirit of cooperation, I believe, we could solve our global issues of Environment, Energy and Economics easily and move on from there.

My Mission in this cause is to shine a light on the good work small business owners are doing. To acknowledge all acts of charity, even those which can fade into the background behind a readiness to step in and help. I will be posting a series of profiles on these businesses.  Showing, I hope, how commerce rooted in service to others, can build a stronger, more loving society. And ultimately a better world for all of us.

There seem to be a lot of businesses ready to step forward and claim a Positive Slant on Business. So stay tuned! The first post will be on Laamsha Young, owner of Blank Verse Jewelry, designer to the stars. As the mother of two school-aged children, she is living her art and her service in one smooth motion.  Radiating her passion for things previously-owned and expressing that inspiration in one-of-a-kind, made-beautiful-again pieces of jewelry.  Catch Recycling Beauty later this week.

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Put a System On It

Portlandia, in its fourth season, did a skit where the punch line keeps repeating, whatever the item, “put a bird on it!”  I agree.  Anytime you can add a little something you’ve improved your product.

But what about behind the scenes?  What if we thought instead to “put a system on it!”  While I admit, I am not a professional organizer like Organize SB, I have had some experience along these lines.

If you’re not getting to work on time, put a system on it.  If you constantly find yourself stressed out or missing important meetings or ingredients, put a system on it.  A good system can get you out of a lot of repetitive and frustrating situations.

I can’t give any guarantees that it will work for you, since the very best system in the world will not work if you don’t work it.  And many people who have these kinds of problems are not ones to use systems.  So, the simpler, the better for you!

Basically, a system gives you a framework to work within.  Many times when we forget important pieces of equipment or fall short of our expectations, it’s only because we haven’t taken the time to figure it out ahead of time.

Here are a couple of ideas that have worked for me:
*  Make a list and use check boxes
*  Outline or mind map the situation to look for patterns indicating places where changes can be made
*  Get some professional help
*  Use reminders  – visual and audible clues can be a big help
*  Get a book on time management (or whatever the issue)

The trick is to try different systems until you find one that works for you.  Don’t give up and don’t be afraid of taking it down and trying something different. If it’s not working, if it’s adding more stress, it’s not worth it.  Start again!

After you’ve tried the system, analyze it for what worked. (Just because it didn’t work overall, doesn’t mean some of it didn’t.) Take note of the parts you didn’t like, too.  The more aware you are, the better detective and the more detailed you are at figuring out these two things, the quicker you‘ll get to Your System.

It largely comes down to how we function best. And that’s a very good thing to know about yourself.  Keep an eye out.  Watch how you do things, what works for you in other places.  See how the system feels to you. Is it hard to do?  Or easy?  Do you forget?  Did you have fun with it?  Did it lighten your load or add to it?  What ways did it work for you?  These are all vital signs to note. Use the pieces that worked and feel free to cobble a new system together. There are no rules except that it works for you.

Systems need to change over time. You are not the same, circumstances are not the same – jobs change, relationships shift, work styles alter.  You have to be ready and willing to move with it. Build flexibility into your system and it will last you for a long time.

Keep an eye out for what feels good and easy. Do what you can to get rid of the rest. When you find something that works for you, acknowledge and use it.  Try adapting it in other areas you discover need a system on it.

Speaking Up for Good Service

Everyone’s got a story or two to tell. That really awful customer services experience when you got screwed every which way but up. We are often inspired to write to someone or complain to the manager.  Certainly, we will tell everyone we know.  It’s too strong to stay bottled up inside.

But what if we were that vocal about good experiences?  When was the last time you got fired up because a sales person listened to you and went out of their way to help you with your purchase?  We don’t, for some reason, feel so motivated to share these stories. Maybe it’s because the majority of the experiences we have are bad ones.

What if we did what we could to tell these stories more often? Things might change.  Next time someone gives you good service, speak up. (You’re likely to surprise them!) Tell them how much you appreciated it.  Notify their superior.  Tip a little more for exceptional service.  Write the letter of praise before the complaint.  See how good it feels for everyone!

Networking Pledge:  I pledge to compliment two people this week.

I am always saying “Well Done” to everyone around me!

I am finding more and more reasons to offer praise.

As I appreciate others more, I am feeling more appreciated.

Mixing and Matching Connections

We all have many different spheres of influence:
* Family and Close Friends
* Business Associates and Colleagues
* Comrades (who you share a common and active belief with)
* Acquaintances
* Facebook Friends
* LinkedIn Network
* Networking Groups
* Service Providers

There’s a lot of support through those areas. Maybe you can think of even more.  Remember that you can tap these spheres for a variety of issues.   Don’t forget to check them all when you need something.

Networking is first and foremost about helping others.   If someone in your network asks for something that you can’t give, don’t stop there. Think about all the people in your many spheres who might be able to deliver what they need. It would be handy if the social media sites offered easy avenues to connect people from your different spheres, but it is still possible.  Maybe the guy who fixes your computer would get along well with your cousin’s new boss.  Someone in your church might need the services of your accountant.  A colleague of yours is looking for work and one of your Facebook friends is looking for someone with their particular skills.

Keep your ears and eyes open for interesting ways you can mix and match your connections.

Networking Pledge: I pledge to connect at least two friends this month.

 Everyone in my network helps everyone else.

My introductions produce great things!

 I am watching for ways my connections can support each other.