Success is often about context and timing

Success is often about context and timing

I have a workout app that I love. In fact, I have made it my app recommendation on my podcast because I’m impressed with it. But, I haven’t rated it on iTunes and likely won’t. Why? Because when the app asks me for a rating, it asks at the wrong time and in the wrong context.

The app always asks for a rating after I finish a workout and log it. At that point in time, I’m tired and am literally walking out the door of the gym ready to do the next thing for my day. That is not a time that I will sit down and write a review and isn’t the best location to knock out a review either. The context is wrong for me to do it, the timing is bad for me to do it, and so, I don’t do it.

My kids make this same mistake often. They ask a good question but at a terrible time or the wrong place (context). For example, my son kept wanting us to buy him a specific fidget spinner last school year. He would ask over and over, but when he would ask it would be late at night when it was already past his bedtime and too late for us to find it online together. Or, he would ask when we were in the car going somewhere, not the best time to sit down and search Amazon together. It took him a long time to get what he wanted, simply because he asked at the wrong time and in the wrong context.

As I think about this, I have to wonder where I’m missing success for these same reasons. Often success is about being at the right place at the right time. So, in the things I’m looking to accomplish I’m wondering, is my timing right? Is the context right? And, if not, how can I fix it?

The Power of a Predetermined Decision

The Power of a Predetermined Decision

Have you ever had a door to door salesperson pop up at your door at just the wrong moment? And, worse than that, the person pops up offering something that you may actually need, but haven’t considered recently. Those door to door sales people are tricky, they usually are offering something I know I need, something I haven’t thought about in depth, and then they go for gold with the, “we will have a team on your street tomorrow, would you like us to schedule a free estimate for you?” Brilliant! To which I reply, no thanks, I don’t say yes to door to door sales people.

It’s nothing personal. They probably made a great pitch. And, I may actually need their service. But, I predetermined my decision a long time ago that I will not say yes to a door to door salesperson because if I do, I’m likely to get sold without really thinking through things. Instead, I ask them for their information and assure them that I will reach out if I’m interested. No amount of pressuring me will change anything because the decision was already made, years ago.

The power of making a predetermined decision is that you don’t have to decide in the moment. Deciding in the moment can be dangerous because you don’t have all of the information or may not have considered all of the angles. Deciding ahead of time allows you to do that, and helps you make better decisions.

The same thing applies with getting up in the morning. Your morning self can’t be trusted to decide what time to get up because your morning self values more sleep over all other things. But, if you predetermine your morning routine the night before, you will make a better decision overall.

Do you have any decisions that you have predetermined? If so, please share, I would love to know.

Careful when assuming someone is on your team

Careful when assuming someone is on your team

I’m traveling in London. When we got here over the weekend one of the first things we did was to hop into a cab (which are way cooler than in the US) and head to the hotel. The cabbie was a British white guy, with a heavy accent and a seemingly unending supply of opinions that he assumed we shared. It turns out you can find racist people in the UK too, who knew. Of the many things that he said that we found both disturbing and amusing, one of them was a derogatory comment toward Chinese people. Since both Jeff and I have adopted children from China, we were definitely not on his team with that.

I guess the moral of the story is to be careful. Just because you are a white dude driving some white dudes around a big city doesn’t mean that you share something, or really anything at all in common. In fact, I hope I don’t share much in common with that cabbie, other than perhaps an admiration for the insane cost of an Astin Martin.

Start with trust

Start with trust

It was my first day of my senior year of high school. I was sitting in class, bored by all of that “here’s what you can expect from this course” talk that seems to suck the life out of that first day. The class that likely has had the largest impact on my life had just started and the teacher, that often had struck me as gruff when passing him in the halls, stood at the front to get us started. He did something I will never forget.

His name is Billy Richardson, and he started his class, Small Business Ownership, by writing his name on the board, and under that, he wrote his cell phone number. I was shocked. That might not seem like a big deal now, but in the late 90’s that was huge! Back then you had a limited number of cell phone minutes to talk on each month. It was also a pretty common thing for students to want to prank call their teachers, or even random numbers for some reason. Giving a class of students your cell phone number was a risk on a┬ánumber of levels. It was a risk that Mr. Richardson took because he started with trust.

Over the course of that semester, he built more trust by letting us run the school store, sell cookies out of his classroom, and all sorts of other things that I’m sure drove the school administration crazy. He started with trust and continued to extend more and more trust to his students, and in turn, we rose to the challenge.

I think if you start with trust in any relationship it builds a foundation that is much stronger than if you start any other place. Starting with trust allows you to build the relationship faster, better and more completely than starting any other place.

That class and my relationship with Mr. Richardson (whom I now call Billy) changed the direction of my life. It is likely the reason I run a small business today. Thank you Billy!

Have a team to laugh with

Have a team to laugh with

Last night our team from Sideways8 got together for drinks and food. It was a blast. What struck me most was the amount of laughter around the table. I haven’t laughed that hard in a while.

This got me to thinking, I love being a part of a team that can laugh together, and laugh hard. Business shouldn’t always be a serious thing, and if I’m going to work with people, I want to laugh with them as well.

Change your posture

Change your posture

Your posture affects how you act. I don’t mean your physical posture (though that does affect you too), I mean your mental posture toward something, your mindset. Consider this for a moment, let’s imagine you have a big task due on Monday. If you start Monday morning thinking, “I’m dreading this, I hate doing stuff like this.” How do you think you will perform at that task? But, if you start Monday morning thinking, “I’m going to crush this and move on to something way more fun!” Now, how do you think you will perform?

The same is true with people. If you look at a co-worker and the first thought that pops into your head is a negative one, what will your experience working with that person be like? You guessed it, bad. But, if you look at that co-worker and take a positive posture towards them, believing the best in them, what will your experience with them be like?

So much of what happens to us is more about the posture we are taking toward something rather than what something (or someone) is doing to us. The posture (approach, outlook) that we take, in many ways, determines the outcome we receive.

If you have a problem with a person or a task, it might be time to change your posture.