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.

business, perspective

The Driver’s Seat

What does the driver’s seat look like from the helm/cockpit of a vehicle? What does it look like from the passenger side, also known as the co-pilot seat? What about the view from the back seat or third-row seat?

Do those viewpoints change if you are driving in your best friend’s ride or your spouse’s car, riding with Grandma or maybe you are on a motorcycle? I suppose all passenger seats should look different than the driver’s seat! Maybe the music is different. Maybe the conversation is different. Maybe the aroma in the vehicle is different. Maybe the volume level is different. Maybe the stress level is different. The driver may alter their norm to adjust to the passengers and/or environment. Similarly the view from the passenger vantage point could vary based on occupants or length of time in said seat.

The driver is the captain. The boss. The big cheese. The controlling party. The leader. The responsibility starts and ends with that one person. Making sure one gets from point A to point B responsibly. The critical decisions, the pinpoint turns, the accurate lane changes, and the head-on-a-swivel-at-all-times mentality. I mean if you slack in any of those areas an accident could happen on the roadway. In the blink of an eye.

Could life mirror the driver’s seat if you are the CEO of a company, the branch manager of a bank, the operations manager of a warehouse, and so on? Why yes, it could. Sitting in the passenger side is fun. It comes with no pressure: no gas money needed, no insurance required, and no car payment.  

In business the boss is less likely to call out sick in comparison to a team member or passenger. Anyone can fill the passenger role but in most cases the business driver has a specific skill set. One which is harder to replace in an instant. For instance, the business owner has to make critical decisions that may impact others while a passenger can just provide commentary in most instances. The driver’s decisions must be strategic and sensible.

I know first hand many young adults don’t have their own car because they don’t want the responsibility of a car note, insurance or gas money. It’s far easier in this day and age to ride share with say Uber or bum a ride from a friend who has reliable transportation. Why lead and take responsibility when you can coast as a passenger in life?

In the business world life can be tough for a decision maker. A leader. A driver of any business. The one who has to set the tone. Find the path. Chart the course or route. Engage the resources/passengers. Make decisions on staying open or closed in tough times. This can be hard and a delicate balance at times. Those who never walk in these shoes would find it hard to understand the challenge but be quick to pass a judgement.

A passenger in business could be a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing.  An unassuming threat. A slacker of sorts. A clock watcher for both the beginning and ending of their shift. Waiting to prey on the driver/leader etc. to solve their issues. I know other intertwined scenarios where a passenger could struggle with the driver or vice versa. Or maybe a driver is erroneously in a passenger seat; would they attempt to distract or sabotage the driver? Is that a possible outcome?

Is life about compromise? Do we really want natural leaders to compromise or do we want them to do what they do best, lead? Can a passenger grow to lead? Who do you want to be your driver in the car or in life? Are there risks and rewards to each scenario? So many questions.

Just another food for thought post.

business

A Numbers Game

I work in a profession where numbers are king. Pre-post data. Year over year growth. People love numbers. But not me, at least not always.

I have a love-hate relationship with numbers. I like the scale when the numbers go down. I’m not happy when the number goes up. Ever since I started Weight Watchers for the first time at the ripe old age of 12, I’ve watched that number on the scale with trepidation.

In my last round of weight loss, I learned that the scale can sometimes be a damn liar. There are all kinds of reasons for the scale to go up or down, some of which have little to do with what I did or didn’t eat. Maybe it means muscles are growing. Still, sometimes, I forget and get all tied up in what the scale tells me each morning. It becomes more than data and sometimes inches in to my judgment of self-worth.

Perhaps the number I fear the most has a dollar sign in front of it. For a long time, I have held on to a number as a symbol of my security, my prosperity, my future. That number meant a lot to me. So much that I refused to change it except when I was forced to.

It took a push from a dear friend and the universe to finally change that number from something that just appears on a screen to something real. Yup, I doubled down on my dollar sign and transformed that number into grass, soil, and timber. I changed in what I thought was the security of being a passenger and put myself in a driver’s seat.

So, the digits after my dollar sign may be smaller now. It’s what I have always feared. I have to look at it with a deep breath sometimes and remember…instead of disappearing, I am taking that number and transforming it into something new. Betting on my sweat and effort instead of just watching the screen, crossing my fingers and hoping it goes up. I’m taking the reins, moving in new directions, from the ground up.  Using my roots to create something new, beyond numbers.

Watch it grow.

business

Just 10 Bucks

The other day I read a rant on social media that annoyed me. It insulted many people, myself included, who purchase frou frou drinks at a premium price.

The funny part of the post was it was from a local small business owner who compared the frivolous spending to frequenting his/her upscale business, noting it was a poor choice. I had to giggle and say hmm.

For me, I frequent the poster’s” small business and I frequent the frou frou drink small business. To me it’s the same. Where I choose to spend my discretionary dollars. My dollars my choice.

I may choose to spend on frou frou drinks while other choose cigarettes. Is there a difference? Not in my eyes. Discretionary spends are at the sole discretion of the party with the money! It’s that simple. Clearly I’m not the only one who likes specialty drinks. The pic below is a throwback to a girls day out with a pit stop at the nutrition store. I’m sure there are worse things one could do, right? Needless to say the messages on the cup are inspiring, thought provoking and even applicable in this post.

Now the flip side on this is negative publicity. As a small business owner in today’s environment one would think to support another business vs throw another under the bus especially if it’s the type of business that relies on discretionary spends. It may seem obvious to me but it’s not obvious to everyone and why I chose to write about this.

We all have a chance to impact communities in one way or another. We can all donate to a local food bank to help those in need. We can all support a small business with a community store front. We can buy a fundraiser ticket from a local athlete. We can all choose not to litter when driving down the road. All of these simple gestures improve communities.

Why not be kind? Why not help others? If you are miserable don’t be a negative Nelly online. It doesn’t make you look good and could in fact hurt another local business or yours. It’s a no-win situation. Add in the fact that most community business owners live in their community and raise their family there. That means negative vibes reach them one way or another.

Kindness matters today. My post today is meant to enlighten anyone reading this who may not think about how their negative rants about a business in their community could have impacts. Far reaching impacts that could lead to devastating outcomes.

Support local. Buy local. If you are tight on budget dollars, like a social media post from your favorite restaurant. Write a testimonial on your local insurance agent. Share a post from your friend who is selling something online. It all helps. And I bet if you own a business you would hope your community would support you in the same way.

Today most adults are online. Maybe even 70% or more of their waking hours. There is a very high probability that they will receive an email, text, instant message, tweet, snapchat or other form of digital communication outing a negative Nelly. Don’t be the negative Nelly. People won’t want to be around you let alone support you down the road. If you didn’t know that, I just told you!

This story is titled just ten bucks. No business names are mentioned as I don’t want to throw shade in any direction. I just want to write about a topic that may strike a chord with somebody reading this blog. During this writing process I wanted to think about what I could get for ten bucks. Ten discretionary dollars. I made my list. I get to choose. My choice. My money. My waste. My reward. My happy.

When I went back and looked at all the things I could spend ten bucks on? My frou frou drinks all made the cut. So did a milkshake, a Starbucks drink and dessert, a single meal prep from a local vendor, an ice cream, and so on.

However, the one thing that didn’t make my list was the $15 overpriced discretionary spend from the person’s business who provided me inspiration for this post. So when I reflect and look for waste in my budget and pleasure received for my splurges, I’d have to say I would cut that service provider if the need arose. They priced themselves too high for today’s market and they bitched about it publicly. When push comes to shove I’d choose to shove them off my budget. Thankfully that is not the case today but one day I may need to make a choice.

Just ten bucks. It’s my threshold. I bet they didn’t even think of their price structure when they made a big long rant. But that rant made me review my spend at their location. Wow that is full circle negative karma if you ask me.

Just ten bucks. Make your list. It’s a challenge. What will you cut?

business, challenges

Breadcrumbs, Signposts, Memories

Time to write something brilliant. Kickstand down. New project unfolding. Visions turning into reality. Wednesday wisdom for all.

In turbulent times designing your life your way may seem difficult yet it’s the prime time to take a leap of faith. When all else goes to shit, you can still have opportunity.

Many people start companies when they get laid off from their career. Is that a coincidence or is it the push they needed to take that leap of faith?

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Do you need to read a fortune from a fortune cookie to realize your path? Do you need a growth coach to help you see your vision?

I see breadcrumbs. I follow the trail of breadcrumbs. I put my kickstand down and evaluate opportunity. I vision board and draw strength from my surroundings. When my mind is ready I put my visions in motion.

Sometimes this process is short other times it’s longer. In either case I follow my gut, my passion and my desire to develop all aspects of life. With each project I undertake I learn. Some lessons are tough while others rich in substance and rewards.

Today marks a memory milestone of sorts. A stamp in time. A placeholder to remember when I put my kickstand down, followed the breadcrumbs, looked for sign posts in order to make memories.

Wish me luck.