You Weren’t Made to Fit a Mold

You weren’t made to fit a mold, and that’s okay.

Growing up we would play puzzle games where we earn points for finding the perfect fit or for matching jewels to the same colour, and were taught to fit circular objects inside circular spaces, and squares inside square spaces. The idea is that everything should fit and conform.

We are in an age where individuals are thriving on finding their irregular edges, the sides of them that don’t conform, that don’t seem to fit the mold, and it’s actually exciting.

Take myself for instance. I am a business owner of a marketing agency, non-profit leader and advocate to create equal opportunities for females in the workplace, and fashion stylist.

You could be an Accountant or Risk Analyst or Programmer/Developer by day, and run a side business baking cakes, creating a ceramics line, or magazine columnist.

You don’t have to be artistic OR academic in this day and age – in fact, most of the new people I met are supremely multi-faceted and it’s fascinating. In 2017, you can be artistic AND academically inclined. For those who have read the book A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink – I believe magic happens when you develop BOTH sides of your brain, the ability to see the abstract and to think in logistical, rational terms lets you strategize AND implement. Be a thinker AND a doer.

So if you are a Financial Analyst and have always wanted to become a freelance Graphics Designer, there is nothing stopping you from doing so. In fact, you will probably find that developing this new dimension of you helps you achieve balance and progress.

So give it some thought today – what do you want to be?

Dare to Explore

Resting on a long weekend Monday for me means letting my mind explore.

A business idea has been brewing in my mind for a few months now and so far I have prototyped it, did some initial interviews with vested parties (groups that would use the service) and gotten back some great questions, feedback and support. Of course there are opinions from the consumer end as well, and not all were approving.

Some comments:

  • This isn’t for me
  • This isn’t for the XYZ market
  • I could see value for this for ABC market, but not the mass market
  • How long will this last, the market won’t be hot forever

All these points are well taken, but here’s the positive spin on it.

  • Great – it means it’s not for you but for somebody else.
  • Great – not for XYZ market means it could be for ABC market – a product/service should have its lovers and haters or else you would be sadly, nothing.
  • Great – as long as there is a way to make the service profitable for a niche market, it’s still a win.
  • Sure – but when is it hot forever? I can apply this comment to every single business out there but hey, we’re all still working every day right? Might as well work to earn all that we can so that when the market isn’t hot anymore we can feel safe from all that we have saved, earned from NOW until then.

So – if you have an idea, at least explore it. Talk to parties about it, do your research, and commit to a small investment that would tell you whether the market would respond to your proposed product/service. A small pilot would do, but it still takes time and effort. The point is, don’t stop at the first negative comments that are thrown at you, get the service out there and see what the market says to a tangible product/service.

If they hate it – move on. If they love it – keep at it. You might have hit something big!

Who’s Going to Stop YOU? 

The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me.

There are many things that once seemed impossible until you did it. Yes – YOU did it. 

A 6-hour hike, a promotion, negotiating a raise, lose 10 pounds, start and grow a company…whatever it is, the only thing stopping you from getting it done is you. 

 

What Happens When Your Company is Fueled by Sheer Laziness

A lot of times as your company grows, it’s impossible to micro manage and see what happens at every branch of your company, and the bigger the company gets, the majority of them move slower.

Even more unfortunate is the layer of staff who try to get by without doing much; even worse is when that energy and experience is passed on and delivered to your end customers.

Case in point: I am traveling back from Brussels to Vancouver via Montreal. The connection time is tight with a one-hour window. During this one hour connection time we have to pick up our checked luggage, clear customs, and go through security again in Montreal to board our domestic flight.

Concerned that we would not catch our connection, I asked the counter staff at Air Canada (it is a miracle they are still operating as they seem to be in the business of coordinating delays rather than flights) whether they could assist by switching us to the next flight out of Montreal to Vancouver as I am 99% sure we won’t make the connection. At this point our flight leaving Brussels had already been delayed by close to an hour.

My conversation with the staff:
“Will we be able to make the connection and if not can you switch us to the next flight?”
[converses with each other in French]
“We think you may have to hurry but it should be OK.”
“Ummm..Ok.”

Needless to say as our plane touched down in Montreal, it was the same time our flight to Vancouver departed. We then had to make an extra visit to the counter to get arranged on the next flight which meant an additional 4 hours of lost productivity.

Luckily for me I am able to work somewhat remotely, but how about for others who actually depend on airlines to be “on time”? In an industry plagued by delays and cancellations, it has become the norm for travellers to expect the worse.

The staff in Brussels could have done something for us instead of acting out of sheer laziness and passing the responsibility onto their colleagues in Montreal.

Little details such as this translates into poor customer experience and the culture of procrastination permeates throughout the organization. So far it’s evident Air Canada suffers from this “disease”.

The takeaway is to manage your company’s culture as it grows to avoid the slow-moving, lazy tendency of a corporate giant. I will close with a quote on the topic:

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Yesterday You Said Tomorrow.

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We have all done it. Procrastinate. Yesterday you said tomorrow. Tomorrow you will say the day after. Why do you procrastinate? Because you are afraid of failing? Or maybe even… afraid of succeeding?

Whatever it is, own it. If you don’t do it. Somebody else will.

What’s the best that could happen?

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We honestly don’t think about this enough. The tendency for most people is to think of the worse that can happen. Lately I’ve been attempting to change this tendency, by wiping negative thoughts from my head and thinking my way to success. Surprise! It’s been working. Try it for yourself and good things will happen!