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What I Learned on my Summer Vacation
Last week I spent a couple thousand miles in the car to travel Southward for our annual family vacation. Even in the midst of sweltering 90+ degree heat, I learned a few lessons that I thought I’d share while things were still fresh in my head.
From Mammoth Cave National Park
There’s a bigger picture out there – see it! A beautiful forest with deer and wild turkey romping about it is cool, but hiking 300 feet underneath those turkeys to see a room that could house my son’s elementary school (and this was only the 5th largest discovered) makes me excited about all the discoveries I’ve yet to make.
From the Grand Ole Opry
Marketing and advertising have an amazing amount to do with our perception of products. Well, I know that’s a no-brainer lesson, but it truly struck home in Nashville. I don’t know about you, but when my husband and I were thinking of the Grand Ole Opry, we envisioned this large “vintage” theatre set downtown somewhere. You know – it’s Grand and it’s Ole! The truth of the matter is that the Opry is right off the highway. It’s a large, auditorium-type building. And it’s right next to a mall (right by the Dave and Buster’s entrance!). I was told the mall used to be Opryland.
From Ruby Falls, Chattanooga TN
Achieving a goal can be terrifying, but you can do it. When we were planning our vacation, my son saw a brochure for Ruby Falls. It’s “America’s highest underground waterfall.” He wanted to see it, so we let him have this stop on our trip. Now, before I go any further, I have to tell you two things. First, I have an insane fear of heights. Second, I have a terrible fear of being trapped underground with nowhere to go.
Ruby Falls is at the base of a small mountain. You have to drive up a small, winding road to get to it. By the time we parked I was already at a solid 9 out of 10 for stress level. So, you go in, and pay an extremely overpriced fee to go see the falls. The perception is that you walk in to the cave and see the falls. The reality is that you have to get into a small elevator with glass doors and go down 260 feet, all the while thinking “what happens if the elevator breaks?” and “I don’t see any extra elevator or emergency stairs.”
By the time I exited the elevator I was a solid 10 for 10. If I had a choice, I would have stayed in the car. But, I had to do this for my son. And perhaps for me, too, to show myself I could do it. (And now I think if I can do that, I can do just about anything!).
Honestly, I’m not sure what the takeaway is from Graceland. That the 70s really were a completely gaudy time in home décor? That you can have everything and still lose it all by making bad choices? Or maybe that I must really love my husband to agree to go there in the first place. :)
It’s that time of year again. We buy a new jogging outfit, upload plenty of uplifting tunes to our mp3 players, buy a few gallons of skim milk, and pledge a lifetime of fitness. But what about pledging some business fitness as well?
Sure, I’ll be working harder this year to make friends with my treadmill, but I’m really in the mood to bulk up my business muscle. Therefore, I’m posting my business resolutions for 2013. (Because everyone tells me it makes you more accountable if you let people know your resolutions!)
2013 Your Gal Friday Business Resolutions
Acquire a new workspace
Working from home can make you lax. It’s so easy to be mobile and eventually you find yourself curled up on the couch rather than sitting at a desk or table with your laptop. I’ve been having shoulder issues, so sitting upright at the right spot seems to be the answer. I jumped ahead and filled this resolution. Here’s my new focus point where you’ll find me working throughout the day. (Thanks Craigslist!)
Make a Schedule
Businesses online always have high hopes for blogging more, tweeting more and just generally “getting the word out” more. I’m now on a schedule. We’ll, let’s say I have a schedule, and I’ve followed it for the past four days.
Reach out More
How many networking events did you go to last year? How much advertising did you buy? How much time did you spend volunteering under the name of your business? It’s time to get out there and meet people, shake hands, say hello, and see what’s going on in the world away from my new desk!
Don’t worry – I’m always reading your emails. I’m talking about those that I sign up for. Newsletters, business tips, etc. Why do I sign up for them if I’m not going to read them? I’m making it a point to read, to learn and maybe even comment!
Business can’t be so serious all the time. And we can’t be all business all the time either. Remember to take a step back, go out to eat, meet friends and play games.
What business resolutions do you have?
I turned 42 recently (no, I'm not at all ashamed to admit my age), and in my mailbox was a link to a Harvard Business Review article “You Are Not a Failure.” http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/06/you_are_not_a_failure.html The teaser in the email was “There’s still hope for success after 35.” I was kind of miffed by that. It makes it sound that when you hit 35, the chances of you having any success are slim, but you can do possibly, maybe do it.
So I read the article, and what really stuck in me was this: “But late bloomers can take comfort in his finding that creativity isn't one-size-fits-all. If you haven't been invited to the White House or launched an IPO or made the cover of a national newsmagazine before age 35, there's absolutely no reason to believe you can't still accomplish those goals later in life.”
What? This age thing really bothers me. Why is success measured by how quickly you can do something? And why do I hear “oh, it’s okay that you’re not a billionaire yet. You can still do it!” (with a sympathetic pat on the beginning-to-grey head)?
Now, not only do you have to be young to be deemed successful, you must also be completely saturated in cash. (Too bad for people like Grandma Moses. How unsuccessful she must have felt!)
When I graduated college, I graduated with a man who was 76 – and just receiving his first degree. That was success. When I make it a whole week eating right and exercising – that’s success! When I wake up every day and have work to do for one of my clients – that’s success.
Maybe I’m too old now to understand the measure of success. And I’m perfectly okay with that.
Guest author Christie is jumping in here and offering some great advice.
A few weeks ago I decided to beat the New Year’s rush and begin my resolution early. Although because I tend to think on a grander scale, I would like to think of it more as a revolution than a resolution. But the point is, I am now getting up off my backside and going for a run every day.
For me, running is therapy. It gives me much needed time to think; to find my center. I’ve found many lessons from my running that can be applied universally in life- to business, to relationships, to our personal lives.
Perseverance: With running, there will inevitably come a point when you hit a wall. You’ll find that your energy is fading fast, and you’ll begin to doubt whether or not you have the strength to continue. We hit walls in the business world, too. It’s at this point, whether running a mile or running a business, that we need to make the decision to persevere; to push through the tough part regardless of how difficult it may seem. It’s only upon doing this, and reaching the other side of the wall, that we realize we are stronger than we thought.
Goal setting: I quickly learned that if I didn’t set goals for myself, I wouldn’t get very far. The goal can be as big as “I’d like to be able to run a 5K race by Spring” or as small as “I’d like to run the entire mile without stopping to walk." The important thing here is just to have a goal. If I set out on a run saying to myself, “I’m just going to run until I get tired” then I won’t make it very far. But with a goal, I’ll continue to run even once fatigue sets in, and I’ll go much further than I otherwise would have.
Conditioning: When I first started running again for the first time in years, it was…..well, let’s say it was a less than Olympic performance. There was a lot of gasping for air, a lot of pain, and a lot of “What am I doing to myself?!” type thoughts going through my head. The second time was better than that. The third time was bordering on something I could be really proud of, and so on. This is one of those universal principles that go far beyond running. There are times in our workday when we feel maybe we’ve taken on too much, or we’re not pleased with our performance. Sometimes there’s no special magic answer to perfecting our work. Sometimes the magic lies in simply doing it again and again, and you’ll find with each passing day, you’ll begin to consistently get results you’ll be proud of.
Enjoyment: Perseverance, goal setting, and conditioning all require a bit of hard work and tenacity, but don’t forget that there is enjoyment in those things as well. Getting from point A to point B is important, but for goodness’ sake, don’t forget to lift your head up, look around you, and enjoy the run!
Unlike my solitary runs though, in business you don’t have to go it alone. If you're at a point where you're hitting the proverbial wall, talk to us. We're here to cheer you on and help you push through to reach your goals.
18+ years business experience. 9+ years in the virtual world and loving it!