Los Angeles, CA - March 16th, 2020 - 7:50 am PST
What is the significance of that date and time? It was the exact moment that I would consider the last time that I could refer to life as "normal". Now in our business and life, we all experience obstacles that are a part of normal in our belief system. So leading up to this time, Monday morning, while sipping a cup of coffee and waiting for our business doors to metaphorically open. I could feel the energy shifting. We had been pre-warned from news reports that Governor Gavin Newsom was going to shut down the state of California. Our President Trump had already restricted air travel internationally. We saw the writing on the wall that obstacles were popping up everywhere. But nothing could have prepared to us for the major shift that up ended our perception of normal.
Then it hit. The first phone call started at 8:07am PST and it seemed like the phone kept ringing on all day long until it finally slowed down at 5:27pm PST. We tabulated the damage. 57 live events cancelled for the remainder of the calendar year. All in one day, 57 events gone. Our head was spinning and we looked at each other and said, "Now what?"
This was as real as it comes. But we learned so much from this experience that we will never be the same again. This is the day that we understood the power that we had to create our own "normal". This is what we learned:
Create your own standard - Don’t get caught up with the external chit-chat that turns into internal crap, let your independent thought take the lead. You can borrow a bit of other people's standards. Or you can adapt the majority of someone else's standard. But it always comes down to your standard being entirely your unique makeup. This is how you live within your own skin by having 100% integrity in you being you. After all, everyone else is already taken, so might as well be completely you.
Focus on Opportunity - Train yourself to automatically open up to the possibilities. In the world of transformational language, where we find better words to influence how we perceive an experience or situation. For instance, instead of using the word "try" in the sentence "I'll try to do that." Instead change the word try to the word "attempt", you'll hear, "I'll attempt to do that." The meaning changes in that the likelihood that this actually gets done goes up significantly. The same can be used for the word "problem or issue". If you have a problem, the energy of that problem hits a wall and seems unlikely to be solved. Whereas if you use the issue, the word's energy opens up the possibility that that there could be a solution. Now here is the mind blower, when you have an issue, substitute the word opportunity in it's place. Wow, that changes the meaning completely. Now substitute opportunity for the word problem and watch the steam spray out of your ears. What, how can an opportunity come from a problem? Exactly. Change your word to opportunity and watch how your perspective changes along with it.
Love Your Base - Your biggest asset is your team and your biggest growth comes from your customers, love on them now and often. Your world depends on your existence from both groups, so treat them like gold. Even entrepreneurs and solopreneurs who don't have much of a work team will have an outsourced team that you must treat like your own in-house employees. Besides as you grow your business you'll already have this habit of treating your people like gold down pat. Now with customers, treat them like your life depends on it, because it does. Listen to their conversations with you and learn the inside secrets to their likes, dislikes and passions. If you can only afford a coffee cup at this time, customize it with their name, their hobbies, their likes and business tagline. Whatever you do, don't vomit your own logo all over them. It's gross. They want see their name on their coffee mug. Don't worry, they'll remember who gave it too them because all the other coffee cups in the break room that your customer won't use are your competitor's logo coffee cups. See, you get it. You get what "luv'n on them" means. Keep it up.
Create a System of Normal - Keep your own world normal through daily rituals that work to your advantage. Your normal can change in an instant if you allow it in. Your daily rituals and company customs are what make you, you. Don't give up on yourself and what makes you different and special. Individually, frequent meditation is one the most effective techniques in keeping yourself on track to be in your own world. As an organization, consistent events become a part of your culture like Taco Tuesday or Corporate Culinary Challenge. Whatever culture that you choose to be, let it be an oasis of tranquility and production shielding your from the influence of the outside world.
Create a Bigger Vision- When your business target expands, your focus on how to get there expands with it. In the world of manifestation, what you desire in life is limited only by your own imagination. The 4-minute mile was the glass ceiling in the area of racing the one mile run. Four minutes and over was the benchmark for years and ever runner knew that fact. Eventually it was broken by Roger Bannister with a time of 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds. That 4-minute benchmark was held for many decades yet once Bannister broke the four minute mark it was successfully broken again only 46 days later by a runner in Australia with a time of 3-minutes and 58 seconds. So what's the lesson to this story? It's best explained by a quote by the author of Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill. "Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve." By constantly creating a bigger vision for yourself and your business, you rise above the trivial matters that you know intellectually will at best a side note in history. The real achievement happens when a bigger vision is conceived and your "normal" surpasses everyone's wildest dreams.
James Connolly is Founder of CEO Chef and author of three team building and leadership development books.