“You just don’t get it.” Ouch! That’s a pretty damning phrase these days. It’s also a reminder that we need to keep up or be left behind with no one waiting for us to catch up.
Do you know dull people? I do. Are you dull? I hope not. We’re all susceptible to becoming stuck in a rut or irrelevant if we aren’t careful. So ask yourself:
- Do I hang around with the same people all the time?
- Am I doing the same things in my free time?
- Do I avoid new challenges at work?
- Am I doing my work the same old way?
If you answered “yes” or “unsure,” oops!
When a company answers “yes” to those questions, it’s saying, we
- Don’t want new employees or customers either
- Don’t invest in performance improvements
- Don’t take risks to become more competitive
- Don’t adopt new industry best practices
Would you buy stock in that company? Me neither! Would you buy stock in yourself? Hummmm!
You can’t go forward when you’re stopped or in reverse.
Your life is your business and you’re the only one driving. You can either go forward, park, or back up.
Business survival depends on the ability to grow and remain relevant in the marketplace. That’s why companies engage in research and development, exploration of new work methods, and employee training.
You need to do that too…for yourself. If your life is one dimensional, you limit yourself. Too many people expect the company they work for to provide learning and growth opportunities instead of finding those outlets themselves. Hey, it’s your life. Learn what you need to learn. Accept experiences that will enrich you. Do it yourself!
A casual comment may be all you need.
A friend of mine invited me to attend a local horseman’s expo that featured vendors who sold tack, clothing, supplies, and services for people like us who were into horses.
During our wanderings, we met a woman who was selling equine art, signed prints featuring everything from cowboys to race horses. We loved what we saw.
As we were leaving the venue, my friend asked, “Would you like to do that?”
“What?” I asked.
“Become an equine art dealer,” she replied.
That’s all it took.
Now you may be wondering why I’d want to take that on. After all, I was already a commercial horse breeder and had a major corporate job.
The answer: “Because I knew nothing about retailing. I’d never been a waitress or a clerk. Never took money—cash, check, or credit cards—from anyone. I knew nothing about inventory management or sales for that matter.
Here was a chance for me to learn how all this works with products that I was passionate about and for customers who were horse enthusiasts like I was.
The business involved contracting with equine artists willing to provide copies of their work, prints and originals, on consignment. We would sell their art at major horse shows in PA and NJ where we set up as vendors. We also sold art on line.
I did this for 10 years. Here’s a partial list of what I learned how to do:
- Procure and merchandize products
- Market through cooperative advertising
- Attract and retain customers
- Manage inventory, pricing, and on-line sales
- Package, transport, and ship
- Manage the legal and accounting aspect of a partnership
This wasn’t a very profitable business but it was a highly enriching experience.
Nothing beats an ace-in-the-hole.
We all sleep better at night when we have the right skills and experiences to maximize our career and job options. It’s like having a business fitness 401K. So fight the good fight against dullness and irrelevance by taking advantage of opportunities to learn and do. It’s all money in the bank.
Care to share an experience where you tried something new? What did you learn and how did it feel? Your story may spark a change!