Getting Right Back On

I went out last Friday for a wonderful trike ride.  The weather was in the 70s – shorts and t-shirt warm – and being out pushing it felt awesome!  I was tearing through the neighborhood, coasting through the large puddle in the cul de sac behind our house, enjoying the day and saying “hi” to neighbors.  Friday was my day to push it, to nip that third mile.  I was in the far cul de sac, and it happened.  That cul de sac isn’t a constant-radius turn, and I lost control and began to tip.  In fighting to stay upright and regain control of my trike, the pedals beat the devil out of the backs of my legs.

pic of bruises
“Ouch ouch ouch! Shit shit shit!” Exactly what I was saying as this was happening.
Bruised leg
And the left leg. It only hurts when anything touches it.

My trike survived with nary a scratch or ding, and except for that cut (which looks worse than it is) and my legs’ 50 shades of purple, I fared well enough.  But now I had a choice.  I could walk my trike home, where my older daughter was waiting to ride it, or I could ride it home.  Walking was safe enough, though painful as all get-out as bruised and swollen as my legs were.

A little back-story…  I never learned how to ride a bike.  I tried, but I fell too many times, and one time, I got the wind knocked out of me.  That experience scared me as I heard my fourth grade teacher’s voice in my head talking about broken ribs and punctured lungs.  That was it for me.

So here I was a vast number of years later facing a choice – walk or ride; it was going to hurt either way.  After walking around twenty feet or so, I hopped on my trike and rode home, and not straight home; while I didn’t do the route I had planned, I did add a bit extra to the ride before reaching home and getting cozy with two ibuprofen and an ice pack.

Like many entrepreneurs, I’ve fallen in business, too.  I’ve been banged up and bruised, even shed a little O-positive.  There have been some failures that made me ultra-sensitive, not wanting anything to touch the disappointment, frustration, discouragement, and/or anger boiling inside me.  I wanted to give up, just walk the business back to its settled position, liquidate everything, and find something else to do.  The thing is, I visited with that idea.  I pulled it out, entertained it, and debated it.  I dug deep underneath why I was thinking about quitting, and the answer always came back to frustration or something going on outside of my business.

Regardless of how banged up I was or how bad the business bruises were, I hopped right back in the fray.  I didn’t quit nor did I give up.  I did give myself permission to whimper and whine, to grab the figurative ice pack and pain killer (usually my favorite cozy pajamas and dark chocolate).  After my little pout session – little being the operative word here – I reformed my plan and attacked my business from a different perspective.  Without the moments of failure, I would have maintained the status quo, keeping on doing business the same exact way.  Sometimes, in fact, those moments of failure are exactly what we need to keep us from taking our progress for granted and to shake us out of old mindsets.  Often after a major failure, I reframe my thinking in huge ways and my business experiences significant growth.

Saturday, my family and I went to the beach (you can check out that video on my Facebook page), and my youngest and I took a 2 1/2 mile walk on the beach, banged up legs and everything.  Today I was back on the trike for a glorious half-hour ride.  There are three cul de sacs in our neighborhood, two of them not having constant-radius curves.  I didn’t avoid them; I just slowed down and created a constant-radius response with my trike.  I learned how to do it different, just as I do in business.

In business, as in life, there are failures and falls.  The important thing is, “Never give up.  Never, ever give up” (Winston Churchill).

Rollin’ Along

In the business seminar my husband and I attended a couple of weeks ago, the presenter said that exercise is key to developing the right mindset for business success.  However, when you’re juggling home life, family life, and running a growing business, how in the world are you supposed to find time to exercise?  Are you one of those who joined a gym in January?  How many times have you made it?  Driving to the gym, working out, showering, then driving on to work or home equals a huge time commitment each day; and it’s so easy to subtract that from your busy schedule.

What if, though, you found an exercise that takes less time but still has good benefits?  The presenter shared that he runs a mile almost every day.  It takes him about 10-15 minutes, but then he’s done.  (He also shared that, when he was in the Corps, he could run three miles in 18 minutes.)  Slow is okay; it’s far better to be slow than not to exercise at all, and the slow mover is still making more progress than the couch potato.

I spend 30-60 minutes a morning, five days a week, doing stretches, resistance work, and toning; there’s absolutely no shortcut to that.  Then I spent another 45 minutes 4 days a week walking almost three miles.  That was before last Thursday.  My trike showed up, all sleek bright yellow, 24″ wheels, six speeds, and a seat perfectly suited to my tushy.

Me on my new trike. The reflectors aren’t the only thing making this visible! It’s bright! Those jeans are getting baggy on me!

Now I can bike those three miles in 20 minutes (I’m still building up speed), getting the heart rate up there, pushing the legs to firm up and get stronger.  The calorie burn is roughly the same as walking, but it takes half the time.  Pretty sweet, huh?  On top of that, my knees have been feeling much more amazing, and on the weekends, I have time to add a walk onto that bike ride.  Another benefit is, I feel exhilarated for a substantial period afterwards, but then I start feeling really draggy around 9:00, which means I crash into sleep quickly and sleep soundly through the night.

This week’s business take-away is, get out and exercise, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day.  It’ll help renew and recharge your mind and body, making it easier to give focus to your business life.  That time also allows ideas to fall out of the ether, which can spark some amazingly outside-the-box creative processes!  Make it happen!



Keeping the Right Business Mindset: QIQO

Last Thursday, my husband and I attended a business seminar for small business owners on the “Mindsets, Habits, and Actions of Successful Business Owners.”  There were a bunch of delicious nuggets I took out of the seminar – I had five pages full of notes! – and I’ll be sharing some of them with you in the weeks ahead.  These aren’t in any particular order.

The first thing that comes to mind as I reflect on this seminar is the idea of “quality in, quality out.”  If you’re a bit older, you might remember in the early days of computer programming the acronym GIGO – garbage in, garbage out.  Both concepts are similar – you will put out what you take in.  The seminar leader said he never listens to nor watches the news; he gets daily papers and can pick and choose what he reads.  He replaces the constant news flow with listening to podcasts about business.

This is something I have to think about every day with intention.  I don’t listen to the news nor do I watch it.  There is no news that will be important to my life in six months, so how much less important is it now.  There are other temptations on our time, though, aren’t there?  Social media is a big one!  That time on Facebook catching up with friends and trends is time that’s not going to my business.  On top of that, it can easily suck the joy out of a morning before my day has even had a chance to start.

So with what do I replace this time and brain drain?  I check email, which helps me begin to put together my agenda for the next day.  I cruise through a set of problems at and exercise my math and physics skills.  Also, I read business blogs and articles.  If I want to be successful in business, then I must make it a point to read what successful people do and emulate those disciplines for myself.

When I put quality input into my brain, then my day gets off to a jazzed up, high quality start.  Solving math problems gives me a sense of achievement to begin my day (especially considering math is far from my strongest subject), and reading business blogs inspires me, giving me food for thought as I take care of that day’s tasks.  By contrast, scrolling through Facebook first thing often leaves me feeling disgusted or inundated by negative energy – just too much fearmongering, intolerance, and hate.  It’s like having the choice between a filling, healthy breakfast or a doughnut.  The calorie count might be the same, but only one of those will leave me feeling good about what I took in and nourish my body well.

What’s it going to be for you today?  With what will you fill your mind as your day begins, as you get ready to roll up your sleeves and tackle the little-and-growing empire that is all yours?  Will you fill it with high quality things so that your output will reflect quality, or are you going for the junk?  Choose wisely, for we only get one “today.”

Measuring the Intangibles

In the days and weeks ahead, I am going to be sharing some incredible business insights I gained at a seminar last week, but first, I want to talk about measuring the intangibles.  “Huh?” you may be asking yourself, “How can you measure something you can’t see or touch?”  We can measure these by the reaction.

When I add x amount of lye mixture to y amount of oils, there is a noticeable reaction:  They emulsify and thicken, their temperature increases, and the chemical reaction produces soap and glycerin.  But what about those reactions we are unable to measure?

Today at church, an elderly lady who usually sings in the choir sat behind me.  While her voice is “wobbly” in her opinion, I thought she had the loveliest soprano voice, clear as a bell, and that tiny little bit of “wobble” it may have reminded me of my grandma when she sang.  After church, I shared with Carolyn what I thought of her singing.  She was pleased, but other than that, I have no way of knowing how my words affected her.

After church and after lunch had settled, I donned shorts and sneakers and set out for my Sunday afternoon walk.  The weather was decidedly spring-like, and no way was I staying in on such an unseasonably gorgeous day!  I fired up the fitness app on my phone to track my time, pace, and distance; tucked it in my back pocket; and started pounding pavement.  There was a rather brisk breeze that felt wonderful against that sun beating down, and as I started on the first leg of my walk, everything was great.  Then I rounded the cul de sac and went the other way and…  Holy crap!  That headwind was brutal!  I had to work to keep pace against it.  My fitness app has no way of measuring quantitatively the extra work my muscles did in battling that wind (twice), or the way my muscles had to work when that same wind was coming at me from the side.  While my fitness app won’t reflect the extra work my body did, my body knows what it did:  It knows how much energy it used in doing so, as well as the energy it’ll use in the coming hours to repair and rebuild the muscles following that extra workout.

When I send my customers a hand-written note of some sort, I never have any idea how it feels for them to receive it.  I hope it makes them feel good; I want them to have positive associations with my brand.  I just never know, though.  My note could arrive in the midst of a stressful day and their minds are so cluttered, it doesn’t actually register.  My note could also arrive when this person is feeling “blah,” so the extra warm touch enriches her day and brings a smile.  I still don’t know of a way to measure that quantitatively, and I’m not sure it’s necessary to do so.

These are three examples of actions with intangible results, yet they are not immeasurable.  Perhaps we can’t weigh them or quantify them in any way, but the results do still exist.  I encourage you this week, do something that yields intangible results, at least one thing that will brighten someone’s day.  When’s the last time you said, “Those are some awesome shoes!” or “Your nails are lovely!”  Spread some sunshine around.  Throw out some good vibes.  And, business owners, send some of that love to your customers as well.