May 16 2013

HOLDING ON. LETTING GO.

HOW LONG

 

CAN YOU HOLD ON?

 

Maybe a year? Y’think? Six months? Hmmm? Three or four weeks? Whew! Hours perhaps? Ack! First of all, if your answer is “forever” or “a lifetime” or “long enough,” you may want to revisit your brain because if you’re not living IN it, you’re dangerously close to fantasyland.

One thing I’ve learned in this blessed long life I continue to have is that NOTHING on Planet Earth is permanent. Nothing! That may be no surprise to scholars who know that circa 2600 years ago, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said “Nothing is permanent except change!(Pretty heady stuff for a guy that old, eh?)

Q. 

What are we talking about here?

Businesses? Families? Friendships?

Entrepreneurial ventures?

Professional practices? Our minds?  

A. 

All of the above!

 

We “hold on” in five different (yet mostly intertwined) ways:  financially, emotionally, intellectually, physically, and spiritually. And most of the reasons we hold on are anchored in shifting sands. We have numbed ourselves with fear of failure. We have built artificial (and, admittedly, often flimsy) protective walls around our endeavors, pursuits, and ourselves.

So what am I saying? We should all run out and be more carefree? Take bigger risks? Throw away everything we’ve worked hard to earn? Change horses in mid-stream? Stop paying taxes? Buckle under to competitive pressures? Cut off shaky relationships instead of working them through? I’m saying it may be time to reassess what we’re holding onto, and why.

What’s the worst thing can happen by taking a couple of minutes out tonight and thinking through what is and isn’t worth it in your life —  your business or practice, your family, your relationships, your finances, your emotional stability, your intellectual pursuits and development, your body, your sense of spirituality and religious commitments.

Give yourself the benefit of doubt. Just dabble in this arena of yours for a few minutes. Think hard about what it’s all worth, and what you can and are free to choose to do right this minute by making a decision to change things for yourself for the better . . . and then choose it, and do it. It’s really not so hard –and can be fun– once you put yourself on the path.

Letting go may seem –and even feel– hard, but it’s a piece of cake compared with the stress and strain of hanging on to a piece of fantasyland. In the end, for all humans everywhere, reality wins. So why not grab it now and ride it to the finish line? — Your business. Your relationships. Your self. Old song lyrics:

We may never pass this way again.”

 

# # #

Hal@TheWriterWorks.com or comment below.

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You!

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Jan 10 2012

LETTING GO

What do workaholics,

                             

delusionists, and grieving

                          

friends and relatives

                        

all have in common?

 

 

 Why is it that the people who are most in need of breaking out of their workaholic patterns are the ones most resistant to the suggestion? They’re afraid to let go. Well, logically, it makes sense. Fear is the single most destructive emotion (and sometimes, paradoxically, greatest motivator) in existence.

Letting go is life’s single hardest task.

                                             

Workaholics share this infamous platform with those who live in delusion as well as those who grieve the loss of loved ones. Letting go means giving up an important part of yourself in favor of moving on, or back into, reality. Many egotistically, and sadly, are convinced that the world and their business could not survive without them.

“Sadly,” because these same people will almost inevitably drive themselves into cardiac care units… or the grave… using the excuse as a rationale that they “never gave up the ship!” It’s a lot like being mentally retarded (and having a daughter who is, I can say this with some authority). The single difference is the awareness of having a choice!

Never-say-die workaholics

 simply choose not to choose.

                                                                       

They know they have a choice, but feel threatened by the idea of changing horses in mid-stream. So they instead invest themselves in maintaining the status quo at all costs. Or, as world renown family therapist Virginia Satir used to say, “they get dried up and shrivel up.”

And, Satir goes on to ask: “Don’t you think this affects the growth of their families and that of those who work with them?” See for yourself. Status quo seekers are everywhere, harboring pain and misery, and transferring their own inadequacies and choices not to choose to change.

How dim the lights that light these lives. How stagnant the businesses they run. How rebellious the children they raise. Choosing situations and leaders who make the choices for them . . . how unfulfilled the lives they live.

This picture is bleak indeed, and it permeates many corners of the corporate and union worlds and government universe but, thankfully, has rarely become the payoff of hard work and self-sacrifice that many entrepreneurs practice. How is that? Because most entrepreneurs play and sleep as hard as they work.

  # # #

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Hal@Businessworks.US  

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

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Jul 09 2011

Grudge Sludge!

When you carry a grudge

                                                 

. . . there’s no room to

                   

carry your business!

 

                 

The old Dutch proverb and German expression,“Vee grow too soon oldt, und too late shmart” sums up much of why we fail miserably to fully understand and effectively cultivate relationships. Our seeming inability to let go of the angry feelings someone close to us once provoked has toppled many business ventures, even entire empires.

                                                                                       

But, ah, the ability to forgive and forget those who crossed us up is a choice

And the consequences of making or not making that forgive-and-forget choice are the differences between:

VS.

  • Suffering a permanent or recurring headache that’s potentially terminal to you and your enterprise– because by holding on, you are wasting energy and choosing to subject yourself (and ultimately your business) to someone else’s control.

Carrying a grudge is

what leadership is not!

                                            

Many of us carry more grudges than we are probably conscious of. We keep them in our throats, and they come out as guttural utterances when certain names or circumstances surface. We keep them in little invisible knapsacks in our brains that send a flood of upset feelings into our nervous systems whenever they’re unzipped.

Some people get tight chest muscles (love relationships), tight shoulders (related to responsibility), backaches (associated with memories), stomach flutters, fists, headaches, leg pains, shortness of breath, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, toothaches . . . it’s called being over-stressed, and it’s debilitating. For an entrepreneur, it can kill.

Ask any cardiologist.

                                                             

Stress is both physical and emotional. It can be good (like the stress that keeps you sitting up straight in a chair), or bad (DIS-stress!), like the level that produces symptoms such as those in the earlier paragraph. Carrying a grudge, having revengeful feelings, like uncontrollable anger or road rage, can be a self-destruct path of no return.

Recognizing that letting go is a choice may not make doing it any easier, but that –itself– is also a choice. You can choose to make it easier. You can also ease the process by practicing more deep breathing and/or by taking a yoga or meditation program. Doctor-sanctioned serious exercise, like daily jogs and brisk walks can also help.

Think of it this way–

Every minute of your life that’s consumed by harboring angry or frustrated or disappointed feelings about another person (even, and perhaps especially, family!), or entity or event or policy is a minute you will never get back, and it’s a minute that you are choosing for someone or something else to reach inside your brain and control your thoughts.

And you are facilitating that impossibility to happen. After all, no one else can really control what you think and how you behave, except you . . . unless you choose for that to happen.

Now, why would you want to do that?

                                                                  

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Hal@Businessworks.US 

  Open minds open doors.

 Thanks for visiting and God bless you.

  Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

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Jun 22 2011

STOP Getting Trashed!

How much “mental litter”

                                 

is cluttering up your brain,

                           

. . .  your business?

 

                    

Overwhelmed with what my wife calls “Crapola”? (She’s a super organizer; I’m not.) Are you ready for the Litter Patrol? Do you need to schedule a Department of Corrections van full of orange or blue or yellow-suited guys with plastic bags and spiked sticks to descend on your workspace? Crawl inside your brain?

 Okay, well maybe you could do without spiked sticks in your brain, but odds are pretty good that if you’re a small business or professional practice owner or partner or manager, you’re an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are born of creative ideas and innovative pursuits. That usually translates into a trashy, cluttered workspace.

  1. When did you last check your computers? Virus scan? Defragment? Clean out email files? Clean out Word files? Reorganize your record-keeping? Update your username and password list? Trash Bin everything that’s long over with and has no future app or reference value (especially pre-Bing and pre-Google historical data).

  2. Kill the paperwork! Are you holding on to 10 or 20 years worth of tax records, owner manuals, documentation for old business plans, no-longer-relevant presentation materials? If these kinds of paper files (or cartons of) no longer have any real value for you, they have confusion value. Kill ’em! If some or chunks of some have value, just save those.

  3. When did you last see the surface of your desk? No need to clear it off, but if you can’t organize it better (and keep it organized), you’re wasting time and energy and money. Entrepreneurs can’t afford to waste any of these, ever! Seeking negative attention? There couldn’t be a more feeble excuse. 

Is your workspace starting to look like one of those TV hoarder shows? Piles of magazines and newspapers you can’t get to? Toss ’em. The news will be the same in the next issue. You won’t miss a thing; I promise! The fewer old letters, thank you notes, sticky note reminders, children’s drawings of your dog on Santa’s lap, the better.

Photos, awards, small treasures? No problem. But all the other “crapola” (I’m starting to like that word), the more distracted becomes your brain, the more disorganized become your thoughts, the more convoluted becomes your business.

It’s hard to think OR act when you’re up to your knees (ears?) in trash. And you DO need to think AND act!

So, is this all about “letting go“? No. That’s 50%. What’s the rest? Keeping what you’ve let go of, gone! Making sure you stay on top of this physical, mental, and emotional litter problem. It does no good to make a token effort. Token efforts serve no purpose. Choose to clear your pathways and enhance your options.

Drive your imagination forward with reality. 

Open minds open doors.  

 

# # #

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Hal@Businessworks.US

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals. God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

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Jun 08 2011

“I Almost Died!”

“Almost Dying”

                                    

is a GOOD thing.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Uh, because…?

 

Huh? Hey, if you “Almost” died, then you didn’t, right? 

. . . which means you’re still alive.

Well, Glory Hallelujah!

                                                       

Like the baseball team that had to come back from being ten runs behind in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs and one strike left, and –by some miracle– twelve straight hits, including a walk-off grand slam and two others, wins the game. How many times have we heard of being spared by being snatched from the jaws of death?

Okay, so we know that things like this happen in other places besides Hollywood, but what’s the payoff? A unique, new, more meaningful perspective on life is inevitably gained — one that was clearly missing when you woke up the day before you almost died.

The same dynamics apply to small business ownership and management.

For many entrepreneurs –particularly in the last two years of oppressive federal government controls, spending and taxation without representation– their businesses have also almost died.

                                                                   

Yet somehow, miraculous comebacks have been recorded. Even in the face of the Obama Administration’s (well-documented) every effort to refuse small business owners and operators the opportunity to make miracles happen. Even after having the pedestal of self-esteem and career accomplishment knocked out from under their enterprises.

And perhaps –to one degree or another– your own?

But somehow, for those who have returned to life, guts and gumption have prevailed. And here they are. Still breathing. Are you breathing?

What do we learn by almost dying?

We learn to value and appreciate more than ever what we’ve had (and still have) that we disavowed, disregarded, and just plain dissed.

                                                            

We discover people who we had no idea of before, riding to our rescue. We find that we still have a sense of ingenuity and a passionate drive to make our ideas work. Many find money and investors they never knew existed.

Many who have ventured or been brought close to the edge, to the brink of death, also find prayer and spiritual guidance that they might never have believed possible.

There’s something to be said for

reality bringing fantasy into reality!

                                                                                        

Suffering? No one –except for terrorist crazies and the ignorant self-indulged among us– wishes suffering on anyone. Yet all of us suffer for ourselves and our lives and our families as we do as well for our businesses. The trick is to choose to not get swept away by it, not wallow in it, not get so caught up in it as to miss the present.

That’s the hardest part. Letting go. Moving on. But small business owners and managers know this perhaps more than most because having your own business is like having another family, and it often feels like two lives are being lived. So, yes indeed, the trick is in fact choosing to go forward when it’s hardest.

Let’s close with the great quote by B. Olatunji:

“Yesterday is history.

Tomorrow is mystery. Today is a gift.

That’s why it’s called the present.”

                                 

# # #

                                                   

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Hal@Businessworks.US or 302.933.0116

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals. God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Sep 01 2010

Teenage Trooper

“BARNEGAT GIRL”

10/15/97 – 9/1/10   R.I.P.

 

Barnegat Girl 10/15/97-9/1/10 R.I.P.
“The BEST Golden Retriever Girl In The Whole World”
                                              

We are in deep sadness for having lost a dear family member and great friend and companion today.

It’s never a good time for letting go. This is especially true for the one who’s been the loyalest, sweetest, and most fun-loving guardian of our lives for 13 years. But today, Barnegat was called to a higher place. Her body simply couldn’t survive her permanent puppy mindset any longer.

She was a trooper through and through. No animal on earth could possibly have had more heart than Barnegat Girl. She protected. She inspired. She mended fences. She stood tall in troubled waters. Her smile was real and contagious.

She loved the cold weather and making “dog-angel” imprints in the snow. When we brought her home, it was in one hand; she was the size of a football. Today, as she left us, her 95 pounds of upbeat spirit will live on.

Barnegat had taken us through three moves to three different homes in two different states and she outlived two wonderful male cocker spaniels “Sam” and “Tuckerton” who each thought she was their big sister.

Barnegat loved chasing baseballs and tennis balls and swimming in the ocean –even in the winter ice and snow.

She bounded at the slightest beckoning. And would rise to any occasion regardless of the circumstances.

The proof of her disposition was proven by hundreds of tugging, pulling children over the years that she would reward with licks again and again. 

Her travels took her to the mountains and the ocean coasts of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and the mountains of Vermont, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, plus the coast and farmlands of Delaware . . . and –of course– untold lakes, rivers, streams, lagoons, and creeks all along the way. 

Yes, she was a “privileged child,” but never failed to earn her keep, or be loving and attentive to all who entered her life.

God Bless You, Barnegat Girl, and thank you for 13 years of unsolicited love and trust and the kind of friendship that all on Earth should strive to equal.

It’s lonesome under my desk . . . but YOU, sweet girl, will never be forgotten.    

 

 www.TWWsells.com or 302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US  

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.
 “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 
Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Apr 17 2010

CONSULTANTS VS. ARTICLES

Yes, you get

                               

what you pay for!

                                                               

Stop wasting time looking for magazine articles to guide your way. 

                                                               

     You will not find actionable, productive problem-solving steps to take in magazines. The so-called experts whose guest-lecture style writing is published routinely in trade and professional journals may arouse your interest, and may carve out some fascinating new research directions, but odds are they haven’t a clue about the kinds of help you really need.

     How can I say that so authoritatively?

1) Common sense dictates (and has been soundly proven) that the best solution to any group, organization or business problem lies within the group, organization or business that has the  problem. A good, experienced outside consultant brought in under your wing can quickly integrate into your group, organization or business— plus bring  invaluable, informed, fresh perspectives to your table. 

People who are skilled at this are generally too busy with hands-on activities to be  writing about their experiences. And even when they do manage to squeeze in a story or two, it will never be de-fined with the exact same dynamics that are giving you headaches.

2) Early on when I couldn’t make enough money consulting, I used to write many of these milquetoast monologues. And, I can assure you, practical application never factored in as long as the publisher or editor was happy and I got paid.

Besides, what on Earth would a publisher or editor know about your business? Most of them can’t even tend profitably to their own affairs. It’s like inviting  the wholeheartedly incompetent federal government to step in and run your business.

     So, let’s get back to the kinds of help you really need. First of all, you need an action approach and realistic, flexible thinking support. Whatever you might read in a trade or professional publication is not likely to be action-oriented, and even if it is, it surely won’t be flexible and realistic enough to apply to your unique needs. While problems are not usually unique, solutions–real ones, lasting ones–typically are.

     The current issue of a major industry trade magazine features a cover story titled “The Making of a Manager” and proceeds to say nothing of any useful consequence. Instead of providing some insight on how to initiate manager development, the article focuses on all the reasons (mostly questionable) to promote from within rather than hire from outside.

     The article offers no input about the important differences that need to be addressed between, e.g., being a sales or customer service rep vs. being a sales or customer service manager. There’s no attention given to the most critical step involved with “The Making of a Manager” which is learning to let go. In order to do the job of motivating others to do the tasks that one used to do firsthand, requires learning how to let go of doing the tasks oneself.

     This is no doubt not addressed because to do so would upset the writer’s premise and purpose to promote internal promotion instead of finding the best person to do the job. 

     BOTTOM LINE: Read trade and professional press items that interest you, if you have the time, but don’t expect to find lasting and productive answers until you’re willing to bite the bullet and pay for someone who can help coach you and guide your people through the solution process.

                                                                 

Visit Hal at www.TheWriterWorks.com

Comment below or Hal@BusinessWorks.US 

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You!

Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

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