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Just Because You Can Do Something Doesn’t Mean You Should

  1. Just because you can add spammy commercials and ads to your blog doesn’t mean you should.
  2. Just because you can charge me for refills of my drink without telling me doesn’t mean you should.
  3. Just because you can filibuster a proposal in Congress doesn’t mean you should.
  4. Just because you can legally pay a certain wage or compensation package… and not someone’s actual worth, doesn’t mean you should.
Absolutely no judgement on any of those scenarios above (though any one of them can be quite frustrating to deal with). 

But the idea of “just because you can” is a shortcut, that invariably will not lead to long, sustainable success (of course, there are exceptions to everything).   
  1. Find appropriate ways to advertise your service or generate revenue from your partners
  2. Open and honest is the best policy. The four extra dollars you make from me on this visit, doesn’t account for the fifty I could spend if I make a return visit.
  3. Try to find a compromise from the get-go instead of playing political maneuvering games. You work for the people and not the party or self-interest.
  4. A happy and healthy employee will produce a greater return than the pennies you’re pinching and saving. 

Strategy that involves a win (even a partial one) for the other party, along with open and honest communication seems to be a bit more difficult and uncomfortable; but the way to plant seeds for multiple future wins instead of an immediate, sterile (unable to produce fruit or offspring), and singular win. 

What are the Stakes Involved?

I saw a play over the weekend that had a whole slew of characters with nothing discernible at risk. Watching the show was like watching an animated Wikipedia page. The writer infused very little drama into the play and had the characters state what they wanted (good) but had them act in such a way that what they wanted didn’t really matter (bad). 

There were no stakes involved. 

As a writer, it’s important for the purpose of entertainment to ask while writing, “What is at stake if this character does not get what she wants? What’s the worst thing that could happen? What’s the best thing that can happen?” And simply by asking those questions, the vision of what to write becomes clearer and the act of writing becomes a bit easier.

That simple writing exercise reminds me to continuously find and figure out what the stakes are in the major (and minor) decisions that I make in business, life, love… and anything in between.

What’s the best thing that can happen if I do X? What’s the worst thing that can happen if I do X? Why? How? And then what? And then what? And then what? ... and so on.

Without having anything at stake when setting an intention, it renders our goal(s) impotent. Working at and defining what the stakes are when taking action on something, is like putting rocket boosters on your heels to propel you toward your desired goal. 

What You Allow is What Will Continue

The wallpaper on my laptop reads, “What you allow is what will continue.” 

For the past year, I’ve had this statement as a backdrop every time I sit in front of my computer.  A gentle reminder that, “Dude, if you don’t like what’s going on in your life, your business, your creative world—don’t sit in it, find a way to alter or change it.”

Easier said than done. Most agents of change come into one’s life in the form of an unavoidable crisis or at least by force. As long as we maintain the basics—a little cash in the pocket, a good meal once in a while, and maybe a single day off—we hold off on making changes for another week. I’ve been there: a relationship that lasted five years too long, a working situation that should have been quashed soon after it started. It was safe for a time to be in those places, but they eventually outlived their usefulness. By allowing those conditions into my life, they would continue on and soon kill my spirit (and almost did in a very big way). 

Depending on the circumstances, finding the will to change one’s own situation could mean tremendous upheaval or it could simply be slight adjustments that make a world of difference. Change requires planning and testing… and action. 

Sometimes (almost always) your planning and testing fall short. You fall flat on your face and can lose time, money, and sleep. You’re left to scramble and figure out how to “MacGyver” your way toward your desired outcome. 

You may not be as “safe” walking this tightrope toward the change you desire… but you certainly are free (not “freer” but simply “free”). Your efforts as a change agent for self, will be regarded and duly noted by others—and will allow them the audacity and courage to become a change agent for their own self. 

Perhaps you’re super self-aware and already work hard at making the necessary changes in whatever quadrant of your life you need. Maybe you’re not. Maybe I needed to re-learn this lesson… and so I thank you for indulging me this opportunity.

Choose yourself. Nothing is impossible. Slip that little apostrophe in and add a little space: I’m Possible. Damn it, it’s the truth. 

Why the World Needs You to be an Aristocrat** (Note the asterisks)

Now that I have your attention with those two asterisks in the title, please see the definition of aristocracy that came across my desk this week.
** “I believe in aristocracy, though—if that is the right word, and if a Democrat may use it.  Not an aristocracy of power, based upon rank and influence, but an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate and the plucky.  Its members are to be found in all nations and classes, and all through the ages, and there is a secret understanding between them when they meet. They represent the true human tradition, the one permanent victory of our queer race over cruelty and chaos.  Thousands of them perish in obscurity, a few are great names.  They are sensitive for others as well as for themselves, they are considerate without being fussy, their pluck is not swankiness but the power to endure, and they can take a joke.: ~ E. M. Forster, from Two Cheers for Democracy
We should ever strive to be an **aristocrat in our every dealing, whether in our sales, our marketing, our partnerships, or with our loved ones. 

How much more could we achieve individually and collectively when we apply this definition of aristocracy to ourselves? How much peace would we find? How much rest?

The aristocrat, the plucky, give extra of themselves—their brain, their time, their love. 

Some might say that in the world of business, this idea of an aristocrat could be a little too romantic—but I’ll retort that this kind of chivalry is not yet dead.