By Casey Grey
I had a wonderful meal and conversation the other night with two inspirational people.
We were treated to an amazing meal at Burrito Sensei but what was even better than the food (not to say the food was not phenomenal) was the conversation. We talked about business, life, parenting, relationships and everything in between.
Why was the conversation so good? Because it reminded me of something very important.
Life is about connection and experience. And often the experience will create a stronger connection.
Here are 3 people at very different points in their lives with very different experiences coming together.
On the outside we are all very different. On the inside, we are all the same.
In a world where we are more connected than ever through technology, we are more disconnected than ever as humans.
Just for a moment... Forget about text messaging. Forget about emails. Forget about Facebook Live or Instagram Stories or SnapChat. Forget about the news. Forget about your TV Show.
There's a place for all that stuff but I'm realizing that it comes second.
What if you brought people together in person?
What if you created a space where people feel safe, supported and connected?
What if you got all their senses involved?
What if you treated them like humans?
This may just be where the magic happens...
There's a problem in our society.
We are raised to be independent.
We are taught to figure things out on our own and we're rewarded when we do so.
For some things, it's good. You want to be able to go to the bathroom and get dressed on your own.
For other things, it can be hurting us.
In schools we are taught not to look at other people's work as it can be considered "cheating". Especially on a test.
But life is not a test.
(And if you look at it that way, how's that working out for you? Are you having fun?)
As adults we find it difficult to ask for help or support because we "should" know how to do it. No matter what "it" is.
The most successful people I know are always learning and growing. In fact, my new business partner who is now 57 years old said the following to my brother and I yesterday:
"You think you're learning from me but I'm learning way more from you."
I've also come to realize that people love to help. If they have a skill, they want to share it with the world. Especially with people who are genuinely interested.
When you have the right support and help you will be able to build a solid foundation with proper technique, grow stronger, move faster and have more fun.
And it never stops...
Yesterday I finished worked "early" and went to a movie with Sullivan and I had a lot of interesting feelings come up.
I put early in quotation marks because early for me is probably still a regular day for most. I do some personal things first thing in the mornings but I'm typically getting to work tasks by 7:00am and go through until 5:00pm. Then I'm back at my desk from 7:30pm to 9:15pm (which I still did last night).
Yesterday I finished work at 3:15pm and this was tough for me. I knew I needed to spend some time with Sullivan but I also felt pulled back to work.
Why is that? Why do I feel like working is more important than spending time with my son for a couple hours? Especially when I know how much I already work.
I'm note sure I have the answer to that yet but I know I can shift my mindset. Let's start that shift right now...
It's a matter of priorities.
It's the long game versus the short game.
Before I know it, Sullivan will be moved out and living his own life.
These are the years where I can have the most impact on Sullivan.
Every minute of focused time I spend with my son is a deposit in his emotional bank account. It's an investment in our relationship and just like any great investment, it will pay dividends for years to come.
When I'm laying on my deathbed, I know I won't be saying "I wish I spent more time at the office."
There's a great message in this movie :)
I always find it interesting when people compare their businesses to other businesses.
They try to figure out what the other business is doing and then try to do it better. Or perhaps they start talking poorly of the other company. Or they blame the other company for hurting the industry that they're in.
Whatever it is, I believe it's all a waste of time.
Personally, I don't care what my "competitors" are doing. Sure I have an idea because people like to talk but I don't actively seek it. There is more than enough work for all of us.
If you play my game, I will always win.
I listened to a presentation yesterday from a company promoting some new technology they have been working on. It's a way to automatically balance the airflow of a forced air system in a home.
I believe they have a very promising technology. The group they were presenting to, however, was not easy on them, including myself. We were not rude in any way, we're just at the top of our fields in construction so we were asking challenging questions and giving valuable feedback.
As an outsider looking in, I realized they were solving the wrong problem. They were presenting a homeowner problem to a room full of builders and renovators. If there's anybody who knows homeowner problems, it's builders and renovators.
In business, the only way you'll get off the ground is if you know how to market and sell your product. Without sales, you have no business. The trick is knowing who to market to and how to market to them.
In the presentation yesterday, they had a solution to a problem, balancing the airflow of a forced air system in a home.
The thing is, that's not the real problem. That's one potential solution.
The real problem for homeowners (and builders) is having rooms throughout the house that are different temperatures.
Additionally, they also pitched it in a way that did not attract the big builders. To the presenters, a $2,000 increase in the cost of building a home was not a big deal. To a builder who builds dozens or hundreds of homes a year, that is a very big deal.
Now it's time to do some work on my own business...
Am I clear on the problem I'm solving?
Am I clear on who my target audience is?
Am I presenting it in a way that my target audience needs to see/hear it?
In new home construction, at least where I live, one of the things we need to do is a pre-delivery inspection (PDI for short). It's a walk-through of a home before the homeowners take possession and it's attended by the homeowners, or somebody designated by the homeowners, and the builder representative.
The main reason for doing the PDI is to mark down all the things that are incomplete or damaged. All of these items go onto a PDI form and it's a record of the state of the home at that point in time.
From a psychological point of view, this is a terrible way to end of a project. You walk around and point out all the stuff that's bad. There's a good chance that neither the homeowner or the builder are feeling very good about each other at the end of this process.
That being said, it's a necessary step and actions can be taken before and after the process to make sure it is an enjoyable experience. Actions that start and end the process on a high note.
Like most things I do, this got me thinking...
How often do I do a PDI of my life?
How often do a take a serious "walk-through" of my life and figure out what needs to be repaired, what needs to be removed and what is completely missing?
Tracking and measuring is important... If you're tracking and measuring the right stuff.
Last night, Chad and I found some errors in the tracking spreadsheet we use for our projects. The right data was being entered for some of it but there was missing information if we wanted to see the whole picture.
Not only is this important for what we do for our projects but it's important for so many other things in life and in business. If we're tracking the wrong stuff, have an error in calculations or have the wrong baseline, we could be way off without realizing it.
So how do we make sure we're doing this right?
I'm not sure I have the answer to that but I can say that taking action will always bring us closer to an answer, no matter what we are looking for.
By taking action we find out what's working and what's not working.
If we have mistakes, we'll find them sooner. Heck, if we never take action, we may never find the mistakes!
Action takes "theory" and gives you "reality".
It's something I think about often.
Although I love the idea of the simple life, I'm not sure it's right for me. At least not right now.
Instead of always living the simple life, I prefer to have short bursts of simple living.
Or perhaps it's more about simplifying...
What can I do to simplify my life?
Over the past years, I have become much better at allowing myself to feel. I still have a long way to go but I have also come a long way.
I've never been one to show much emotion.
I've realized that's because I'm often living in the past or the future.
If I'm living in the past it's typically because I'm replaying something in my head and pondering what I could have done better. Perhaps I said the "wrong" thing or should have said "something". Perhaps I did something that was interpreted wrongly. Perhaps I did everything perfectly and I'm just making up stories in my head...
If I'm living in the future I'm either worrying about something that has not happened yet or thinking about things I need to get done.
In either case, both the past and the future are not real. They are only in my imagination.
Yes, the past may have happened but it's not real anymore.
And the future will never be here.
The only thing that is real is the present.
I can't change the past and I can't control the future. The only thing I can do is control is what I do right NOW.
If fact, as I write this I'm thinking about all the stuff I need to get done today and the stuff I didn't get done throughout the week. I feel my anxiety going up.
Stop. Take a deep breath. Come back to the present.
Happiness, sadness, excitement, anger, frustration, joy, laughter, anxiety, pleasure and any other feeling you can think of only ever exists in the present.
In every moment, I get to choose where I want to live emotionally.
Right now, I choose gratitude.
You are who you surround yourself with.
Who are you spending time with this weekend?