The book Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin is life changing. After all, that’s all we can ever hope for – to be better than we were yesterday.
This week I struggled for hours with a nonsensical technology problem (I couldn’t get Microsoft Word to download onto my new PC!).
Now that I’ve fixed the problem, I can leverage my newly acquired information throughout my small business, so nobody else wastes their time on the same issue.
What if we looked at all problems as a way to bypass a future struggle? A way to become “better than before?”
Stated in this positive way, problems, mistakes and issues would likely become a more welcome part of our days.
We all know it’s not your job to replace the lightbulb in the office refrigerator. But imagine becoming known as the “summer intern who changed the bulb?”
Anyone can wait for direction from a supervisor.
What’s in short supply are folks who notice an issue and make it better without being asked.
They say Finland is the world’s “happiest place.”
But what I love about owning a business, is that inside our 4 walls I’m able to create my own Finland.
And best of all, you don’t have to own a business to try this yourself:
You can practice this idea first, right in your own family.
Watching James Holzhauer dominate Jeopardy, is a reminder that the constraints and rules we often accept without question, could be all in our heads.
What rules should you be questioning?
Every business has one – a project that needs to be done, but keeps getting postponed.
If you’re a job seeker, think about targeting your dream company and suggesting that you take a stab at that overflowing pile in the corner.
It may just be the hook that finally opens the door.
I walked into the AT&T store today where I hadn’t been for about a year. Luke, one of the young salespeople said, “Hi Paige.”
Last week I left some items at the end of my driveway in case anyone wanted them. I noticed they were gone and felt happy that they had found a new home. Two days later I got a thank you note in my mailbox.
I needed tech help with something annoying. For weeks, my phone would not sync with the mail app on my laptop. Each time I had 15 minutes to spare I would try to fix the issue, but always came up short. I tried one more time on Friday and Dan diagnosed my issue in minutes by asking a few incisive questions.
None of these deeds required any extra education, privilege or giftedness.
But I instantly considered these individuals exceedingly educated, accomplished and intelligent.
In 2001, I realized that it was quite cumbersome to carry around my Palm Pilot and camera and push-to-talk flip phone.
What a good idea it would be to combine all my gadgets into one compact appliance!
Lesson learned: Ideas are cheap without execution.
It’s amazing how many red flags come back to bite us.
It’s true that our gut is almost always correct, but this intuitive power is useless if we choose to ignore, defend and put our head in the sand.
The key is acting on our hunches before they cause damage.
Surely easier said than done.
An expert is someone that can explain to you what “normal” is.
Something that is scary or outrageous to a novice, is usually old-hat to an expert.
A grandma can help a new mom discern between a normal cry and one that suggests illness.
A boss can help their staff understand normal corporate red tape, and shortcuts to circumventing it.
An older brother can help a younger one recognize what normal growing pains feel like, (“Phew, you felt this way too?”).
When I find out that what’s upsetting me is actually “normal,” I usually stop fretting immediately.
Wouldn’t it be great:
-if experts could think back and share their rookie experiences with newbies?
-if we all felt braver about requesting input from people we consider pros, instead of being afraid of seeming inept?
Imagine how much faster we’d all get to where we are going!
This week I had to learn a new software package at work.
And while I’d describe myself as pretty tech-savvy, I had no idea the concentration it would take for me to learn just a few basic things. After the first hour on the first day, I was cranky and snippy.
I’ve always romanticized learning. And what’s most embarrassing is how much this reveals about how little I’ve been stretching myself.
I have to remember this when I put my kids on the bus each morning, and welcome their weary souls back each afternoon.