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  • All in the Name

    “Ha” Connection

    It’s all in the name
    At a local food market the other day I had a delightful cashier that I was lucky enough to have wait on me. She knew what she was doing, moved quickly and was very pleasant. When I looked at her name tag it said “Ha“.
    I asked her if that was a nickname or short for a longer name. She said “No. that is my name.” So now I am more intrigued and ask if she is from China or Japan and she said “No, I am from Vietnam.”
    Next question from me is “What does “Ha” mean in your language?”
    Her reply is that it means “Water“. I mentioned to her how interesting it is that her name means Water in her country of origin and it means Fun or Laughter in the USA.
    I have had fun, or at least a smile, as I thought about “Ha” and her name for the next few days.
    If I still had a retail business (which I do not) I would consider looking up the meaning of each staff members name and add it to their name tag. I, Ray, am either a straight line, a ray of sunshine (a person or thing that brings happiness into the lives of others) or a Fish. Guess which I would pick.
    “Ha” made my day. If you had a name tag what definition of your name would you use.
    Look it up, it might be “fun” or it may be “Water” or it maybe conversation for your customers and that means Connection.

    Being Happy

    Practice Being Happy
    The word “Practice” jumped out at me from a book I was reading last week. It was used to explain that we need to “Practice” being Happy just as we need to practice anything else we want to be good at. This made sense to me but I had never thought of it in this way before. I started wondering what do we need to practice, in the world of small business, that we have not thought about before.
    First we have to assume that we practice because we want to improve or get better at something. Let’s discuss a couple of possibilities here.
    Listening – Are we really paying attention or waiting to make our own comments? Listening is a skill that can be improved if we are interested in doing so.
    The “Practice” exercise here could be to practice not thinking about other things while someone is talking to you. Staying present, not thinking about the past or future, is what we need to improve. Focus on their words, and then ask them a question about what they had just said, most people will be trilled. We are not used to being listened to.
    Another is Speaking – Do others hear you? Do you articulate clearly without just rambling on and on? Is brushing up on your speaking skills something to do? This can be one on one or to a group. If we are standing, do we need posture practice and image practice?
    There is more, but the idea for me here is to focus on areas that could use improvement and practice imaging and doing it the way I would like to have it be. Practice makes perfect or at least improvement.


    Focus – Focus – Focus

    Last week in a game of Squash I was ahead by a score of 7 to 2 with 9 being the winning point.
    As I served for the 8th point, meaning two points to go and this game is over, I started thinking “Do we have time to play another game?” While I was having this discussion in my head I lost that serve and the next two points – 7 to 4.
    I then preceded to have a conversation with myself about making sure I pay attention and not be thinking while playing the game. The result of that conversation in my head was that I lost the next three points and it was now 7 to 7. By the time I figured out that I needed to stop thinking I had lost that round.
    This story is to emphasis how quickly and easily we can lose our focus. We see it regularly in sports but have to realize how often we do it in our day to day situations. The game is that of not thinking so that we are present to what is going on. Focus, focus, focus is a big part of how we stay on track or not and let things slip on a daily basis. In sports it is called a loss of momentum, in our business world it is the same thing, loss of focus. Coaches have to bring the team mind set back into focus – we have to do it for ourselves.

    Making Good Decisions in 2011

    For many of us, with the New Year about to ring in, our thoughts are turning towards ideas of starting things a fresh.  Down come the holiday decorations and with them our merry festive spirits that held us high above the trials and tribulations of the passing year.

    Yep, it’s time for sensibility and reason to show up on our doorsteps and march us forward with renewed purpose.  Closets are cleaned out to squeeze in those last minute tax write offs, exercise and diet strategies revised and of course, resolutions are made with the best intentions.

    It’s time for us to decide what we’re going to do to make this New Year new.  And if not for the book I picked up this past fall, “How We Decide” by Johan Lehrer, I might not have given this notion about making decisions a second thought.

    In his book, Lehrer offers up the latest research and a good number of compelling examples to demonstrate our human capacity for decision making.  He describes how both logic and emotions play vital roles in good decision making.   He also warns us that if they are not in proper balance according to the problem at hand, we can fall into some inherently human mental flaws while trying to evaluate our choices.

    For example, there is the loss aversion bias, something that easily creeps in to our thinking process as we evaluate our risks associated with anything from investment portfolios, to relationships, to that little gamble on the office football pool.  We just don’t like losses and will make decisions that influence our behavior to avoid them, even over gaining something of the same value.

    Another piece to this same flaw is how we choose to frame our choices or options when making a decision.  What I mean here is, there is usually more than one way to look at things and we need to be conscious of how our choices are framed.  Are they framed as losses or gains?  Does it make a difference to us if our burger is 95% lean or if it’s 5% fat?  Would we rather get a 10% discount or avoid a 10% handling fee if our out of pocket expense was $20 either way?

    Bottom line is, as Lehrer points out, we need to think about how we think, especially if we want to make good decisions.  Actually, we need to not only think about how we are thinking, but we need to think about how we are feeling too.   So keep these wise words in your head as you go about making good decisions in 2011.  Happy New Year!

    “Dump It”

    Do It
    Delegate It
    Delay It
    Dump It
    Four terms I learned years ago in one of my many “How to get Organized” classes. The big lesson for me, at the time, was to delay it, that delaying was a decision, a choice. Wow! Great. It helped, didn’t cure, but it helped.
    Now fast forward years later and I am thinking how do I apply these same tools to my inner self and my thoughts, more than just my physical “stuff”

    “Do it” – Is this thought good for me, is it productive and life enhancing?

    If so but maybe not right now then can I “Delegate it” – maybe by transferring it from my mind to a piece of paper or my computer.

    “Delay It” – Can I slow it down or choose another time to think about it?

    “Dump It” – Totally get rid of this thought, idea or duty?

    The Four “D’s” time for me “to do” or actually “to think” about them.