Eye Contact

My post office is only a few blocks from my house.  I think it’s kind of neat I can walk to my post office.  But then again, I used to go down to the main post office downtown at all hours because it was a 24 hour post office.  I just thought that was pretty cool.  We only had one post office in my hometown and I don’t think I ever went into it.  Unfortunately  the main branch is no longer open 24 hours due to budget cuts.

Post offices aren’t usually known for their great customer service.  I’ve been in some where the staff barely acknowledges you as you’re standing in front of them.  Or they act annoyed they have to wait on you.  Or they sit at a window not helping anyone as the line of customers stretches back 20 people.  The employees seem to be the epitome of stereotypical civil servants.  Minimal work at the slowest speed possible.  After all, the phrase going postal came from just such a place.

But then I met Janet at my local branch.  She greeted me with a smile and low and behold, looked me in the eye as she asked me what she could help me with.  That simple connection made all the difference in the world.  I look forward to going there, even if she’s not working.  I look more kindly on the other employees and am usually able to make some sort of connection with them.

In this wired and wireless world, we’ve lost the simple art of the human connection.  E-mails and texts have replaced phone calls and handshakes.  Snappy words on a message board or an e-mail can be misconstrued and emoticons can’t really fill the void.  I’ve really tried to keep this in mind as I reach out to prospective clients with phone calls.  Sure it would be easier and less angst ridden to just send an email, but I am after all selling my voice and what it can do for your product so what better way to do that than to convince you to let me send you my demo?!

Helicopters

We had quite a bit of rain in June.  I think it was one of the rainiest, if not the rainiest, June on record.  Before I left for my sister’s wedding I wanted to get the flowers planted in the front yard and get a really good weeding done.  So around the second week in June I got all the flats of Impatiens and spent the afternoon planting and weeding.  I don’t have a huge front yard, at least by suburban standards, but it’s pretty big by city standards.  Some yards are 4 feet deep by about 12 feet wide.  Because we have a wider lot and the house is set back, my front yard is about 18 x 20.  Massive.  In the parkway, there’s a huge oak tree that’s been there forever.  It’s about 60 feet tall and really shades the front of the house which is why I need to plant shade flowers.  I love how the sun dapples the light through the leaves when I’m in my office working.  The tree seems pretty healthy which is good.  I can’t imagine what it would be like not to have this tree outside my window.

Every spring though, in nature’s unyielding cycle, the tree in it’s quest to maintain the species showers the front yard and every other surface area with helicopter shaped seeds.  They thwap down seeking a place to germinate and put down roots.  This year we had more than I’ve ever seen.  I think that means we are going to have a long cold winter.  Great.  I spent the better part of the afternoon plucking the seedlings out of the ground where they’d rooted underneath the mulch.  I cut short the future of about a dozen dozen little oaklings.  It’s was cold hearted but I got over it.  I got the flowers planted just in time for the week of rain that followed before I went out of town.  When I returned and resumed my walks 10 days later, I was astonished at all the seedlings that were now popping out of the ground.  I thought I’d removed all of them!

It made me realize that you can’t see all that’s germinating whether it’s planted deliberately or not.  I also learned not everything pops up at the same time.  I’m hoping this is what will happen with my new business efforts.  Lots of helicopters going out from me at the moment, hopefully reaching fertile ground to sprout at a later date.  As for the actual helicopters, they’ll meet their fate this weekend.

Magic Bullets

It’s been a very challenging week.  First I realized I didn’t have the sultry voice I longed for, an hard realization to come to grips with.  Then another boom was lowered when I realized there was no magic bullet in my future that would catapult me into the stratosphere of my career.  No secret code to open the doors to riches and fame and back to back bookings.  No superpower guaranteed to make me the voice or the face in every auditor’s head.  Crap.  This really ticked me off.  It finally hit me that this wasn’t going to be a wee bit of hard work and then ta-da!  Here’s your dream career.  It was going to be a slog, a pretty long hard slog at that.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid of hard work.  I relish a challenge.  Don’t be in my way when someone tells me I can’t do something, I’m sure to run you over in my quest to prove them wrong.  But I have to admit, I’ve bought into the instant gratification of our society.  What do you mean I haven’t lost any weight?  I’ve been dieting for 48 hours now?  What’s the problem?  Get me a pill for this right away.  Computers don’t help much.  We can email someone and it appears in second in their in box while we’re Skyping with each other.  Graphic intensive web sites load in less than a second.  We get real time feeds of weather radar so we know almost to the minute when the storm will be raging over our heads.  All of these things serve to reinforce that I should have a fully functioning and highly profitable career 10 minutes ago.

After I got over my rather substantial hissy fit, it hit me that accepting this annoying fact was somewhat liberating.  It actually put more control back in my hands.  If I no longer was waiting for the fairy godmother, Genie or leprechaun to bless me with the secret formula, I could now go out and make my own magic.  It would involve cold calling like I did a lifetime ago.  Asking people for help, something I’m really not very good at.  Researching who is who within a company.  And doing this over and over again week after week.  But I was no longer waiting for my career to happen to me, I making my career happen.  Seems rather simple when you think about it.  And a little less exciting than matching all 6 numbers in the multigazillion dollar Powerball lottery.  But I’ve done this before and did it rather well.  I can do it again.