Sunday, June 27, 2010

Seeing The Future

I have reached a peaceful place with the cost I have incurred to getting the business going. They used to shock me to have risked our long term security to this extent. Not anymore. Somewhere in my mind I have dealt with it, processed it and then accepted it. Now to keep working on offsetting that number with product sales.

Interesting how a state of anxiety can suddenly let up. There are no choices to make, no more money to be spent...just sales to create. The task is clear. Interesting after the turmoil to have arrived in this place. I can do this. On some days I think I cannot do this but today I know I can. One foot in front of the other. The fun comes back now too. it was obliterated by the worry. Now once again I see the goals ahead of what I hoped this could be. Once again I remind myself that there are strange little success stories based on products that are not nearly as functional as the one we make.

This is the place where lots of people can easily see the sense in abandoning the task. It is quitting within 3 steps of the goal without actually knowing how close you were. It is when you look back and view the way it was and see how simple it was and then you ask yourself what you are doing on this road. I know why I am on this road so the bumps are just part of the scenery. The progress is slow but still in the right direction. Retailers are buying the product and then reordering. Sales people are excited to sell the line. All the indicators are good. A crystal ball would be nice right about now.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Crisis? What Crisis?

A favorite speaker says that every person is always in one of the following situations. Either we are about to enter a crisis in our lives, or we are in the middle of a crisis or we have recently emerged from a crisis. Sad but quite possibly true. It makes life a series of coping steps that we take to deal with each crisis as we enter it. Those who have coping ability survive their crises and emerge with new talents and strengths.

Therefore the problem only comes when we expect life to be completely smooth. If we expect a series of crises in our lives then it becomes a simple exercise in coping with each as they come. Maybe if we viewed it this way, it would feel normal and peaceful to move from crisis to crisis. Peaceful and steady. Sounds a little fatalistic doesn't it? But not really. I am hopelessly optimistic. But I still think the crisis theory is solid. Crises only become critical and frightening if we don't expect them to happen. Takes all the fear from the crisis when you know it is coming.

And if crises represent growth opportunities then bring them on....

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Captain is Expecting Turbulence

I am listening to Brian Tracey on my IPOD and he likens starting any new project to the takeoff in an airplane. He says we always experience turbulence when we take off. As an ex flight attendant, I know the exact time when that turbulence begins. The pilot makes an announcement that we should stay buckled in as we are expecting turbulence. The air currents from the ground create turbulence and going through the cloud layer creates turbulence. So we always expect turbulence after takeoff.

So I took off. And now I am experiencing turbulence. The sales group that we were contracted to work with has cancelled the contract as they themselves are under siege by competition. They have decided they need to focus on their own company's survival.

That leaves us with 60,000 units and no sales force. first reaction was shock, fear and anxiety. I have since switched to coping mode. If you read my earlier blogs you saw the one that spoke of making a list of ten solutions to the problem. Then try one of the solutions. Try another if that one does not work and keep going until the problem is solved. I had to leave for a conference so I chose not to think about this for those two days. I would make my list of solutions on my return.

My sales manager however did act and she blasted us out of our dilemma in a big way. She went direct to the individuals in the sales group and found out they were loving the product. They were very enthusiastic and optimistic about its' potential. They are independent reps and thus are able to choose to stay with the line or not, even if the company who contracted with us no longer is on board. She also emailed a large chain(which I think should definitely carry the line) with the information about the line and they responded back with who we should contact to follow up. All in a good days work and now we are back on track. We can still build our rep group ourselves or we can go back to a napkin distributor and work through him.

The orders are coming in. 30 new stores now plus the original 20 and we are making progress. Just another issue to solve instead of shock, fear and anxiety. All the credit goes to my sales manager for turning this mountain into a bump!

All just post takeoff turbulence. We will break through the clouds any day now.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Life on My Terms

My younger son just started his first job. He did not want to work to get a job but I pushed him by reducing the funding of his social life. He has a great job now and he is having a great time on the job. He has met new people and been successful at things that he did not know were out there. He moves from job to school to social life to chores and stays organized and gets it all done. All good things.

I should be excited and happy about this new independent person emerging. Instead I suddenly see the point where we start to upload obligations and accountability that now weigh heavily on us in our later lives. Maybe it is part of a whole evolution of growing up and growing older. You learn to manage the obligations and the related skills that come with those obligations. Then when these same obligations that taught us so much start to weigh heavily on us, we seek to shed them but still retain the skills that came with that stage. Is there a way to live freely throughout our entire evolution or is this a necessary growth stage?

We learn to spend our time achieving goals and doing the 'right'things. We stop listening to our heart. Our definition of what is 'right' gets narrower as we age too. What if we did the wrong things? What if we travelled the world and did not get a job. What if we followed our heart and did all the things that made out hearts sing when we are young. Is that failure? Who decides what is the right path and what is the wrong path. We look at and admire those who follow their own path and reach their definition of success. Yet we seek conformity and encourage conformity in our children.

Before I do things that scare me, I always wonder why did I book this or commit to this? After I do them, I know exactly why. If I can overcome the awkwardness of the beginning...when I do not know what to expect, then I can move on through with confidence. Need to accept that place where nothing is familiar and trust myself when I doubt.

For my next twenty years I want to live a modified Richard Branson version of my life. A little adventure, a lot of unique experiences. My crowning glory of a life on my terms. And maybe I will return to the sameness of the now and it will be the right place for me. When I die I do not want to look back at an unlived life of mediocrity and safety. A life where I did all the right things but missed all the rights things for me.
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