Thursday, August 25, 2011

Memory Lane

At the risk of aging myself, do you remember that song How Much is that Doggie in the Window? It was one that my father would sing to me when I was a child.

So you can imagine my delight when we spotted this little dog in a shop window. It wasn’t a pet store, just a general shop that sold assorted items. The dog clearly belonged to the owner and did not seem too happy to be there.

When I used to teach the course Your Child’s Self Esteem I would often ask the parents to reflect back on their own childhood and identify a time when they were happiest. The most frequent answer – special time spent with a parent.

Seeing that dog brought back similar memories for me. My father would have chuckled at the photo we took and worse, would likely have burst into song. Not a good thing.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summers Past

On a recent radio show with Jann Arden, she was asking the audience to phone in and talk about their worst summer job. It was fascinating to hear what people had to say and that day I asked several people the same question and got a similar reaction – in that people said they took what they could get to earn some money. Is that what happens today? I wonder.

It is good to reflect back on where we have been. I had numerous jobs over the summer months, but one of the most boring, and therefore in my estimations the worst was packaging letters of the alphabet in a company that produced letters to go on briefcases and the like. It was tedious and did not require much thought, other than knowing the alphabet.

Another time I worked as a chambermaid in a hotel and discovered what slobs people could be and how well or not, they treated people in service. Then there was the time I worked in the kitchen of a hospital, delivering meals to patients.

It seems to be me that I have come a long way from those early more menial jobs, but it is good to remember where you started. What about you? What did you do?

To me those summer jobs built character and an appreciation of what you didn’t want to do when you grew up.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Are you a giver or a taker?

Recently over lunch a friend and I shared different stories of how someone had taken advantage of us. As we chatted we came to the conclusion that in life there are givers and there are takers.

When you are giver, it is second nature to want to help someone. I remember years ago meeting up with someone who was starting a group similar to Company of Women. I shared information freely, wanting to help her be successful and avoid some of the mistakes I’d made.

Imagine my surprise when I went to her launch to see not only how she’d benefited from my advice, she’d copied everything we did. I mean everything. Even the website looked like a replica. Now I have to take some ownership for the outcome because I never spelled out that she couldn’t copy our material but that was because it never crossed my mind that she would. I guess I was naive.

I am not sure if it is this tight economy, but more and more I am bumping up against the takers, who put making money (for themselves) above all else. And I never learn. I guess I see everyone through my own rose-tinted glasses, and believe that they will work with the same integrity I bring to my business.

But sadly no. As both my friend and I have found. It is discouraging, and it makes us givers, less willing to give and more cynical about these “win-win” alliances.

I guess at the end of the day, all you can do is take responsibility for your own actions. Act with integrity, and know that at least you can sleep at night, having been true to your values.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

It’s a Small World After All

I know, I was supposed to be on vacation, but I couldn’t resist buying a British business magazine when I was in the UK.

The UK, as an aside, is a country that has a magazine for every topic and hobby, and yet few small business magazines, so I was interested to read Start Your Own Business.

You can therefore imagine my surprise and pleasure to find our very own Sarah Prevette of Sprouter, highlighted as one the top twenty young entrepreneurs. Her photo was the first one I saw as I turned the pages. Way to go Sarah.

But it made me realize that we really are doing business on a global scale. No longer are we limited to our local communities, and with the Internet, the whole world is open to us.

Makes me think of a song from my parents’ era – In his hands he’s got the whole world. Well you know what, so do we. It may be fair to say that the only limitations are those we place on ourselves. So think big, think global.