More small stuff to not sweat

My last post focused on the book, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff … and It’s All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson. Here’s a few more of the book’s principles.

“Smile at strangers, look them in the eye and say hello.” Carlson says there’s a parallel between our attitude toward strangers and our overall happiness.

“In other words, it’s unusual to find a person who walks around with her head down, frowning and looking away from people, who is secretly a peaceful, joyful person,” he says.

It seems these days that most people go through life trying to avoid as many people as possible. You can take great strides toward being successful in life and in business if you’ll just make the effort to connect with people. That connection starts with eye contact and a smile.

“Become a better listener.” Carlson says effective listening goes beyond the urge to finish someone else’s sentence. “It’s being content to listen to the entire thought of someone rather than waiting impatiently for your chance to respond,” he says.

One key to business is helping other people solve their problems. The way to find out if they have a problem is to listen closely to them.

“Develop your own helping rituals.” Carlson says little acts of kindness help us remember how good it feels to be kind and helpful.

The adage is true that if you help enough other people reach their dreams, you’ll certainly reach yours. Focus on helping people whether or not it’ll help your business. As my mentor, Michael Dlouhy likes to say, “Be a mentor with a servant’s heart.”

All these principles are keys to forming relationships, which are the backbone of a strong business.

Steve DeVane

Success in business — the drive to thrive

I recently bought a car. My old car got totaled in a wreck several weeks back.

The car I bought is a smooth riding Oldsmobile Aurora. It’s got a number of bells and whistles my old car didn’t have. Among them is a gadget on the dashboard called an information center.

The information center tells me all kinds of things about the car, including how much oil life is left and how the battery is doing.

The thing that intrigues me most about the information center is the section that gives me an instant readout of my gas mileage. When I start out, it tells me I’m getting five or six miles to the gallon. It increases until I reach cruising speed, where it usually levels out at about 20-something. Going downhill, it can get as high as 99.

The most interesting thing about this is the impact it’s had on my driving. I’m not known for being slow. As a matter of fact, I have something of a lead foot.

But I soon noticed that my gas mileage is considerably lower when I speed up fast. So, I’ve taken to taking my time getting up to speed in an effort to save gas. This change happened almost without my noticing it.

It occurred to me how useful a similar device would be to my business. I wish I had something that informed me when I needed to slow down and pay more attention to folks or let me know when I was getting too carried away with something that’s not important.

Then I realized that I always had the ability to save gas. I knew that I was using more gas the way I was driving. All I had to do was change my driving habits.

Similarly, I know what it takes to be successful in business. I just have to take the needed actions.

Steve DeVane

Business boost — build relationships

Earlier today I was putting our riding lawn mower in the shed. My son had mowed the front yard for probably the last time this year.

The boards that we usually use to help the mower ride up into the shed were missing, but I thought I could just drive the mower over the ridge between the ground the concrete floor of the shed.

I was wrong.

The mower got part of the way in the shed and stopped. I put it in the reverse and tried to back out. It wouldn’t move that way either.

Tried it again in forward. Nothing.

Reverse. Nothing.

I tried it both ways a couple of more times, before finally becoming convinced that it was stuck.

So, I turned the mower off, got down and manually pushed the mower the rest of the way into the shed.

It occurred to me that sometimes that’s the way it is with our businesses and our lives. We have all these high-tech ways to get leads and to contact people, but ultimately you have to make a personal connection.

People join people they know, like and trust. That takes building relationships.

Next time your business needs a boost, be sure you’re making personal connections with other people.

Steve DeVane

Pathway to success – change for the better

I recently heard an excellent presentation about making the most of our talents. It included this old proverb: “If you want to know what you’re doing in the future, tell me what you’re doing right now.”

As I thought about it, the wisdom of the statement stuck with me. So often we go through life hoping things will get better. But if we want our lives to change for the better, we have to change for the better.

I’ve also heard it said that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same things and expecting different results.

In our lives, if we aren’t happy, we need to make a decision to be happy. Once we make that decision, we’re on our way to reaching our goal.

In our businesses, if we aren’t successful, we need to make the changes needed to be successful. Once we make those changes, we’re on our way to reaching our goal.

Steve DeVane

The real story — Make it personal

I was on a conference call recently when several people talked about the change that they’ve had in their lives due some nutritional products.

The stories were moving. After several of them, I thought to myself, “I wonder if I should try that product.”

Later on, I was thinking about why the stories were so powerful. It occurred to me that every one of them was personal. The person was sharing from their experience and from their heart.

I know that if someone had rattled off a series of statistics about each of those products, I wouldn’t have been near as compelled to try the products.

In short, a personal story will beat impersonal stats nearly every time.

So, next time you’re talking to someone about your business, your company or your products, make it personal. Tell them how each has made a difference in your life.

Steve DeVane