Better than before.

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.

 

Initiative.

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.

 

 

My own Finland.

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.

That project in the corner.

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.

 

Going beyond.

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.

 

Guessing.

Every year my husband and I put together a business plan by culling through past receipts and marketing stats.

And while our plan is based on experience, it’s just a guess – a stake in the ground to help guide us to where we want to go.

Our first year, our plan turned out to be nearly 50% accurate.

After more than 25 years, our precision is still not perfect, but it does give me chills when something we outline in January comes to fruition in June.

People don’t plan because they fear they’ll be wrong.   They don’t know exactly where to start, and so they don’t.

But what if you realized that we’re all just guessing?

Would that put you at ease enough to get you started?

The long payoff.

In the beginning, “doing things the right way” is the only way.

In the middle, the slog of putting one foot in front of the other, day after day, feels like a waste of time.  This is the point that short cuts become tempting and people’s determination peters out.

In the end, plodding along in the right direction for years usually pays off big time.

Hint:  This applies to practically everything.

Another hint:  You’ve reached “the big payoff” when you hear yourself saying, “I have no idea how I got this lucky.”

 

I invented the iPhone.

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.

 

Ouch.

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.

 

 

 

The truth.

I have worked with my husband Lou for over two decades.

When there’s a business issue, there’s no posturing, masquerading or blaming.

When something is scary, we don’t have to pretend to be brave.

And when one of us is going down a path that is just plain wrong, the other doesn’t have to coach, cajole, set up a special meeting or converse in PC terms.  We just speak our mind openly to stop the mistake in its tracks.

The truth sure saves a lot of time and energy.