business, change

Play it Safe?

Do you like to play it safe in life?

Do you like to play it safe in business?

I recently read a short brief on playing it safe and it made me think a bit. In sports, coaches often times (especially in football) choose not to play it safe in games by attempting a 2-point conversion vs. opting for the easy field goal. A stretch of sorts. A chance. The unknown. Said chance could pay off big or make you fall short.

I never really thought about how sports is a form of gambling for the coaches. Choosing the players. Choosing the plays. The key decisions. The crucial thinking required. The dynamics of it all.

I’ve seen some crazy stuff happen at sporting events. Sometimes fanatical sports fans will go crazy if said coach has too many failed 2-point conversion attempts while others may go crazy at even the thought of going for it when you could just play it safe.

Again just that one example made me think. As a coach for competitive sports I play with my business mind. I play with strategy and I play to win. If it’s the last 2 minutes of the game I’m going for it. I have my best players on the field. I’m playing out my strategy. Boy do I get annoyed when other coaches play it safe.

Keeping this in mind many choose to play it safe in life. Maybe it’s taking the safe job. The fixed salary with two weeks fixed vacation every July. For me, I’d opt for the commission-only gig that pays out big dividends as I am confident betting on myself. Vacation time is good but not requirement if you are writing your own check so to speak.

Then there is the play-it-safe home choice. The planned neighborhood in suburbia with strict can-dos and can’t-dos. The flip side would be the plot of land where you make your own rules. 
A short article I read today had me thinking. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Take a risk here and there. Without risk there is no reward. Worst that can happen is you fail. If you fail you should learn something. That something you learn can be avoided next time you take a chance.
Life is a gamble. Don’t play it safe every day. You will miss those golden opportunities hidden in plain sight. Push the envelope. See what happens around you.

As I wrote this post a friend celebrated her six-month job anniversary. A change of careers took place six months ago. A scary change outside her comfort zone. She is thriving and growing each day. She is thankful to herself for embracing the unknown. She took the gamble. It’s paying off. There is a growing trend amongst the workforce post-pandemic where many are embracing change. Some due to a required change while others choosing to spread their wings. Either way it is a risk. A risk worth taking.

As I write this today, I’m taking a chance. Risk of course. Reward, unknown. Time will tell. Off to live my choices wherever they lead me.

business

At the Car Wash

Sitting at the car wash on this sunny day. I don’t get here often enough but when I do I enjoy the scenery. Today it’s a good bit of sunshine and a slight breeze in the air. 

It starts with the drive in section. Sort of old-fashioned. The soap is applied manually while you sit In the car. The workers use their hands to massage in the soap, scrub the tires. Rinse. Repeat. Then you get shuffled outside to wait while phase two takes place.

To paint you a picture: the small car wash stand is located in a gas station parking lot with a small hair salon. The car wash and hair salon are operated by the same family. Some inside some outside working the day away. I sit observing from the metal chair outside the salon. A little stoop of sorts. Here I have a view of so much action on the street corner. Makes me think of my childhood days In the city.

The parking lot is also home to the local guy with a pickup truck and peanut stand. It’s always loaded with the best boiled peanuts and today he has some watermelons as well. Many folks stop by and grab some peanuts on their way to a day on the lake while others stop by on lunch break or while filling up with gas. Such a diverse group of buyers visiting the peanut stand today.

I like to support small businesses whenever I can. Whether it’s the local dog groomer, mechanic, or the peanut man. Tucked on the corner of a main road I can hear the hustle and bustle of the roadway. The cement trucks accelerating as they leave quarry next door. The rushing of water from all the car washes. The reviving of engines at the red lights from the souped up cars.

Observing the small details while I sit and wait in my special chair. I write. Sometimes I read. Sometimes I answer emails. Today I write as I think about whether I should buy the watermelon or the peanuts before I leave. It’s a tough decision. I will choose one.

As you can see the peanuts won today. They are too hot to eat at the moment but such a nice treat after my trip to the car wash. The good old fashioned car wash.

author moments, business

Reading is Wise

Reading and comprehension can be overrated at times depending on who you ask. However, reading, simply stated, can be wise.

I remember back in elementary school I was given a test. It was a simple test maybe ten questions. The teacher clearly stated to follow all directions on the paper prior to starting. Being the headline girl that I am, I completed the easy test. At the end it said the test was not necessary had you read the full instructions at the top of the paper.

Silly me! I wasted time. However I learned a valuable lesson that day. Read. Re-read. Comprehend. Pay attention to detail. Skim if you need to, when you need to but never skip the details. The written instructions.

Now, many times in my adult life I have seen people I know build things or assemble things. My favorite is always the one to watch who doesn’t read and ends up with extra screws or parts. Simply reading, evaluating, processing and re-reading could avoid these situations but often times this isn’t what happens. It does however make me giggle at times.

Case in point. I sold a vehicle to a family member recently. The county charges a percentage of fair market value for tax. This can be thousands of dollars based on value of said vehicle.

Fast forward to a line at the registration office. One is waiting. One is observing. One is reading the posted signs that many will see but not read let alone comprehend.

The fine print on one sign notes that if you exchange vehicles from a family member or property is part of a divorce the tax rate is minimal or greatly reduced.  The reading of said sign saved thousands of dollars for my family member. So excited to see this.

Simply reading in this situation was a wise choice. Sometimes comprehension is an issue for some. Understanding how verbiage on a sign may apply. We all can learn from this scenario.

Read.

Research.

Ask questions.

Knowledge is power.

Passing on valuable tidbits of information that can help others is much needed in today’s world. This scenario may not apply in your area of the world but it may spur an opportunity for you to read, review or ask questions relating to laws or ordinances in your area. Or even remind you to fully read instructions when assembling your next big item.

I’m not big on reading fiction but I am a big proponent of reading fine print, directions, signs (especially when in lines), and terms and conditions. The fine print in some contracts can really get you. Maybe even allow seizure of your property if you don’t pay for something like your mooring at the local boat marina. Hint: this is real life for an acquaintance.

These are all lessons for me as well. I did not know this about taxes in my jurisdiction. I maybe learned from a friend’s misfortune. The list goes on. 

Today I learned something new. I am always hungry for knowledge. I am passing on this tidbit to you. Maybe it will be beneficial. Maybe not. Enjoy your day either way.

business

The Deal

The deal is dead so I guess I can write about it. The deal I wanted to wrap up in 2020 with a pretty bow is in the toilet. Gone just like that.

Instead of celebrating the new deal in my portfolio, I am reviewing how it got squashed. It wasn’t just squashed once. It was squashed many times. Why? No lenders want to take a risk in this particular industry thanks to COVID.

Despite a rocking year of financials and long standing history, the market is considered volatile. This is crazy to me because the housing market is booming. Lenders will lend people money for a $400,000.00 home but they can lose their job just like that. As an entrepreneur you need to make things work, not just collect a paycheck.

For this deal I was willing to bet my blood, sweat and tears on an opportunity that is solid and immediately generating revenue but that’s too risky for the stuffy bankers in their suits and ties. 

This is just an example of what’s wrong with today. It’s okay for me. I have other irons in the fire so I’m going to keep on fighting and maybe revisit that opportunity later. Maybe later I won’t want the deal because I wanted it when others saw the odds were down. I like the underdog shots. The come-from-nowhere wins. The opportunities others will toss to the side because it takes grit to get the outcome desired.

For now I’ll watch. I’ll listen. I’ll soak in the experience. I mean I do say you have get some nos before you get the yes. I also believe in karma, timing and gut feelings.

In my gut I know when the time is right for me, the deal of a lifetime will pass by and I’ll be ready to sink my teeth in. For now I’ll wait. I’ll watch. I’ll learn. I’ll keep putting those coins in the piggy bank so I’m ready when opportunity comes knocking.

Can you say Corona has put up a wall for you in 2020? How did you handle your challenge(s)? What, if anything, are you doing now to be ready for traversing the wall. Hopefully your wall is just temporary like mine.

A new day. A new opportunity to get better. Moving on to greener pastures. A little farewell to bankers. I’ll don’t like government loans anyway. I’d rather start with a $20 bill and see how much I grow it.

Starting something from nothing is far more gratifying but not for the weak. Maybe you now know something about me. I will always be chasing the next version of me.

business

The Bottom of the Report Card

In elementary school, I was obsessed with my grades. Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies, Spelling, Writing, all of the main subjects. I was an “All A” girl from an early age, nearly consumed by keeping my GPA a 4.0. Tests, quizzes, projects, all of it was about chasing the A.

The other day, I was having a conversation with a business owner about his employees. He’s been struggling to find decent workers. As he describes it, his employees, all adults, regularly show up late or don’t show up, don’t follow instructions, are questionable with honesty, stir up petty drama within the staff, spread crappy attitudes, and waste resources. As an employer, it is frustrating to say the least. He spends more time dealing with employee problems than doing the the actual work that generates revenue.

This got me thinking about my report card growing up. I spent so much time on the top part, where they listed my grades in all those core subjects. But what about the bottom part? The “conduct grades?”

This section had things like:

-Uses time wisely

-Uses resources wisely

-Follows directions

-Works well with others

-Neatness

-Punctuality

-Thinks creatively

-Accepts feedback

-Keeps a positive attitude

-Shows initiative

It was a grid, graded on an E / S / N / U scale. I’ll admit, most of the time I ignored it. I would just glide my eyes over the letters. Mostly S, with a few S+ and some Es. But in the end, it didn’t affect my GPA, so I didn’t really think much of it.

In light of the business owner’s comments, I wonder which part of the report card can really tell us who will be success in different areas of life…the workplace, the community, life in general? Are my grades in math and science more important than the way I use my time? What parts of elementary school should be the focus of creating a productive, contributing adult?

As an elementary school teacher, I wonder where I should focus my energy, especially in these pandemic days. What matters in the long run? Just something to ponder.