I’m at the airport witnessing the best of humanity. Or at least the funniest.
“Yes! Give it to him! That’s it! Yes!”
Not the screams I expected to hear in the bathroom. From a lady sitting by herself. Grunting. In the stall.
I can’t speak to this lady’s intelligence, but I can speak to my own. I’m pretty smart. College degree. 20 years in business. (Not that either of those guarantee intelligence.)
Many successes. Many skills. And I do dumb stuff.
You have to learn to laugh at yourself.
I recently met a talented, award-winning photographer at a photoshoot. He chose the most lovely, hidden place for this shoot.
“Action! Look up! Laugh! Smile!”
He yelled, but the subject was having trouble hearing his directions.
He turns to me and asks if I can help. Of course, I will.
“Laugh,” he says.
Instead of yelling at the model to laugh for the next shot, I threw my head back and let out a maniacal laugh that would make Dr. Evil wet his grey zoot suit.
Oh yes, I did.
He graciously kept shooting. Kindly leaving me to process this moment.
Why would I tell you this?
Smart people do dumb things. I will mess up. You will mess up.
I fight the urge to revisit the offense and analyze it. Too late to fix it, so I just churn.
That wastes time and energy.
Laugh. Learn from it. Let it pass.
Dear Mr. Famous Kind Photographer, I apologize and thank you for how sweetly you handled my synapse misfire.
And to you out there. Who have made a mistake.
You who said something awkward to a client about their toupee. Who hit reply instead of forward for your rant about that co-worker. Who got choked and spit your coffee all over the conference room table.
You’re going to be ok.
Have you ever asked yourself if someday you’ll meet someone who is a much better YOU than you are?
Even if you found your visual twin, they wouldn’t have your eclectic style. Your sarcastic humor. Your love of tiny, furry animals dressed as an Ewok.
No one else has your mix of experiences, your skills, your intelligence, your values, or your view of the world.
So if YOU are not going to be YOU in this world, who is?
You have something to share with the world that no one else can. If you don’t share it, no one else will.
YOU are the only you.
Get out there, you amazing creature.
Image originally posted to Instagram on July 15, 2015.
Pluto: the final unexplored (maybe) planet. These are the voyages of the spacecraft New Horizons. Its 10-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man-made machine has gone before.
According to NASA, “the United States has been the first nation to reach every planet from Mercury to Neptune with a space probe. If New Horizons is successful, it will allow the U.S. to complete the initial reconnaissance of the solar system.” Congratulations, NASA! They have much to teach us.
The New Horizons mission to Pluto and its five moons took 9 1/2 years to reach the target. New Horizons launched on Jan. 19, 2006, then swung past Jupiter in February 2007 headed to flyby Pluto July 2015.
And 59 minutes ago, NASA posted a timelapse video of the Pluto images captured over the last few days (July 2015 as predicted) to Instagram.
13 minutes ago, NASA posted a photo of the New Horizons team celebrating a safe flyby of Pluto. To Twitter.
Twitter was founded March 21, 2006 and launched July 13, 2006.
Instagram was founded in 2009 and launched October 6, 2010.
Twitter and Instagram did not exist when New Horizons launched.
Think about the amount of planning it took NASA to prepare for the New Horizons mission. To prepare the vehicle and plan the route. To launch a machine at precisely the right time in 2006 and right place to ensure it would travel 9 years and 3+ billion miles to Pluto. Amazing.
Planning is good. Planning is powerful. Planning is necessary for success.
What if NASA had a communication plan from January 2006 with instructions to share the news about Pluto in a full page print ad in Newsweek magazine? Course correction needed: Newsweek announced a move to online only (no more print anything) by the end of 2012.
NASA no doubt had a precise plan for communicating the future success of New Horizons, but communication with Earth’s inhabitants is complex. People search out new ways to express themselves. Better. Faster.
NASA will share news from this first mission to Pluto in many ways, but they chose to make social media a priority. What an incredible way to bring us into the excitement. This is an important moment for all of us, and they shared it where we get our news today — online and social media.
NASA is posting where people are already communicating instead of doggedly following a plan that could not have predicted Instagram and Twitter. (Unless they have a working time machine they’re not telling us about.)
They adapted their plans because…
Planning for communication with people remains messy.
If only we could plan for human communication as precisely as NASA handles science, math, and other concepts my brain does not grasp.
Human communication can’t be quantified precisely like the trajectory from Earth to Jupiter to Pluto, but decades of science and brain research continue to provide insights into human behavior and communication.
Is the trajectory of your company important? Yes.
Can you plan for the trajectory of your company without dealing with people? No.
If years of research could more accurately predict the success of a potential employee in a job, wouldn’t you want to know?
Would you want to know how to get your sales team to play nice with finance? How to drive your employees to take action? How to keep them engaged?
That research exists. These tools exist.
Let’s use these tools to build teams that help you flyby every business goal.
Call me to find out more.
I use tools from a company called TTI Success Insights (TTI SI). Over three decades, TTI SI has researched and applied social and brain science, creating assessment solutions consultants in 90 countries and 40 languages used to hire, develop and retain the best talent in the world. TTI SI assessments have been used in over 100,000 companies, including Fortune 1000. TTI SI tools are EEOC and OFCCP compliant, continuously tested and refined to ensure the highest standards of ethics and reliability.
Below is an answer to this question that I posted to Quora on July 13, 2015.
Hmmm, a programmer that spends their weekends supporting pet causes is “passionate,” but that wouldn’t necessarily matter to every hiring manager.
“Are you a passionate person, Mrs. Programmer?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Great, any ol’ passion will do!”
Now, if a company that builds software for pet shelters or veterinary offices interviews Mrs. Programmer, you have a higher chance that the values of the company match the values of the potential employee.
Want the employee to over-deliver? Go the extra mile? Come in on the weekend when the server goes down? Fly to a customer site as a moment’s notice to help out?
Better hope the passions of that employee align with the goals of the company.
The company that has a strong understanding of what values drive their current teams should use language that pushes those values in all communications to the employee market — build an employer brand that clearly shows what values (passions) the company is looking for.
Instead of passion, I prefer terms like values or driving forces.
What will cause the employee to take action? What is the driving force behind their work?
Look for values of the person that parallel the values of the work the company does. Especially for smaller, fast-moving teams.
Yes, experience is important. Skills (whether or not they have experience using them) could be more important. Make sure you know what experience and skills are needed for the job. Not a generic list that you copied off of Monster Jobs, but a real list that takes the job and your existing team into account. Ask interview questions that ask for specific examples of the experience they have and evidence of the skills they say they have.
Stop reading now if you have a handle on all of this hiring stuff and share your magic with me. No, please do. We need it. It’s tough out here.
My suggestion: Instead of winging it, use the potential employee’s past performance to help you understand their future performance. Learn HOW they will work and WHY they will work. Based on their answers – not your perception of them. Combine that with soft skills and NOW we’re talking.
Large corporations have access to tools that let them do just that. Very few smaller businesses know that those tools exist. They do. I left a 20-year career in big Corp to get these tools to teams out here that need them.
If IBM makes one bad hire, it won’t be fun for them, but they’ll be ok.
But if YOU make a bad hire, what will it cost you?! 30% of their first year’s salary according to the U.S. Department of Labor. How about lost time? How about sanity? How about impact to the current employee morale?
I would rather you spend energy on fixing that big customer issue or pouring into your current team. Not winging it on hiring when there are tools you can use.
Call me and let’s get you some help. You find the candidates. We get you the information you need before you make that hiring decision.
You might fail. They may not like you. What if you aren’t prepared. You could make a huge mistake.
Your fears are different from the worries that weigh down your mom or dad. Different from your sister’s fears. Different for your BFF, spouse and co-workers.
Fear is a deeply personal struggle. A lonely trek through headtrash minefields, especially on the days you visit that nasty, thorny fear you thought you had laid to rest.
Conquer one fear and the next one appears. (Thankfully, we don’t have to face our fears in virtual reality à la Divergent.)
I am told I have a strong presence, but fear is my constant companion. How did I leave a painful marriage and start over? How did I change careers three times (on purpose)? How did I quit a steady job and start a business in a world where most businesses fail?
I feel the fear and do it anyway.
Acknowledge that you are scared. Feel how powerful it is.
Then quickly ask yourself a few questions. Visit the fear, but don’t live there.
Is this a fear that you have encountered before? What happened last time?
Look for times that you walked through the fear and found a positive outcome on the other site. Remind the fear that you have a history of success in these situations.
Did you give in to the fear in the past? What great opportunities did you miss out on by giving into the fear?
Remind the fear that letting it rule your actions did not help you in the past.
Most of my fears are lies I have believed about myself. I call them lies from the devil.
My dad calls them headtrash. Maybe your fears are gremlins. (I rely on my faith to help me, so I call them lies from the devil to remind me who is really in charge. Jesus.)
Fears impact your business. My fears caused me to stay at a job that was physically and emotionally killing me. My fears caused me to take too long to ramp up my business. My fears caused me to ignore areas of my business I have neglected.
Fears may kill my business. They could kill your business.
If you are scared to take action but need to take action in order to meet your goal, you have to feel the fear and do the thing anyway.
It takes practice, but it has been working for me.
- Call that client that you forgot to follow-up with.
- Tweet that author to tell them how much their book impacted your life for the better.
- Submit the article that is collecting dust to a magazine.
It’s not revolutionary, but the powerful changes in life rarely are. It’s those small course corrections on a daily (sometimes hourly basis) that propel you and your business forward.
Try it and let me know how you pushed through fears to achieve a goal.
Let’s pause for a second. I am sharing insight into what has worked for me when dealing with nagging fears that we have to work through daily to meet our goals. I am talking about everyday realms of behavior that impact business and life. I am not a mental health professional. If you are paralyzed by fears, having trouble functioning in life or considering hurting yourself, PLEASE seek help. You are not alone. No matter what problems you are dealing with, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They will connect you to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.