Balloons

When I was a child at the ripe old age of seven, I had to go one day and get some new shoes. Probably for school. With the help of my mom, I found a great pair of shoes. Then as we checked out, the salesman insisted that I take a balloon. I did not want the balloon.

I did not want a balloon because balloons always broke. It made me sad when they broke. Even then, I knew that taking a balloon would equate to sadness at some soon, but future, point. However, I was encouraged to thank salesman and take the balloon.

I diligently protected the balloon under my overcoat as we walked to my grandparent’s row-house. I made sure the balloon, which came complete with cardboard feet, had a place on an end table where it would not be hurt. And as the night went on, after dinner I wanted to play with the balloon. I did so by pushing it into the air, and then every time it started to fall towards the floor I would tap it with my fingers. It would rise back up a few feet into the air and start the process again. Of course, everybody knows what’s coming up here. In about 15 minutes the balloon popped and with that, started the sadness.

This was not the balloon’s fault that it popped. And just because it popped did not mean I should not have accepted the balloon, because the balloon did bring me joy. Yet, there is a very important lesson between me and the balloon. One that I share today only because it is a good lesson for all of us.

What is the lesson of the balloon you may ask? When you love something, do not hold too tight or it may break. To enjoy a balloon is a great thing. Remember though, the balloon comes with its own needs and circumstances. And, to expect a balloon to be able to thrive outside of its operating parameters is to expect sadness, and sometimes breakage.

People are a lot like balloons. Maybe not quite as fragile, yet you would be surprised. People are also tricky because, in a world of seven billion people, there are actually 7 billion different human operating systems. For in a world of 7 billion, we are all individuals.

This means we have to take care when interacting with other people. We need to know that their parameters are not exactly like ours. They may need, want or desire different things. And, also remember if we hold them to close, care for them too much, or don’t let them breathe in what they need, they, like the balloon may break.

Be The Person You Want Helping You

Lately, I have read a lot from many entrepreneurs about which is more important, to make a lot of money or to help the client who needs that help?

This is a fair dilemma. If you don’t help people and do good for them or their companies you really can’t make very much money because you will not have many customers. If you spend all your time helping people giving away most of what you do and not making a sufficient income, you will not be able to continue due to a lack of funds.

This reminds me of a similar debate in manufacturing. To provide the customer what they are paying for, the winds need to build quality products. To earn sufficient funds to pay for the lines running, asserting quantity must be built and shipped to the customer.

Poor quantity means not enough product to satisfy the customer or keep the line running. On the other hand, poor quality means returns, reworks, and loss of reputation.

Let’s  look at this in action. You have a young line with new builders who have only the most minimum of training. The manufacturing manager steps on the line and tells everyone they will build and package 350 units by the end of the shift, or else she will find new people to build her computers.

The new people, needing the jobs to support their families and themselves are terrified and start doing whatever they can as fast as they can. Quality inspectors, who work for the manufacturing manager (poor choice in organizational structure) are letting all but the most serious of errors through inspection believing if the units are bad they will fail at the testing stations.

Although it’s a squeaker, the 350 units are built and shipped by the end of the shift. Everybody feels elated. Even the manufacturing manager has something on her face, although it’s not sure if what people saw was a smile, or sneer. Alas, this is just the start of the story and not the happy ending. The units shipped have a myriad of flaws, and the customer believes some units have major flaws which require repair before the units can be sold on the open market.

The 350 questionable units are shipped back to the United States from Europe and with 400 units that were built but not shipped underwent re-inspection and repair. When planning the economics of the line, a re-inspection and repair of units at this magnitude were never contemplated. The factory now has to pay for transportation of units, storage of units, a work crew to inspect and repair units, certification of the work by the customer’s inspectors, and re-shipment back to Europe. This is what we call a hidden factory. It’s not something you plan for your factory to do. Not something you’re going to get paid extra for. It is just a drain on the resources of the factory.

Let’s move this back to our question of the day and are we out to help people, or are we after the big bucks.

If you help someone, hopefully, they tell a friend. And if you help their friend, they’ll tell someone else, maybe two. If you build a quality product and put it in a quality program and charge a fair price, you may go far. Doing good things for people grows a following.   

If your product is filled with errors, grammatical problems, ideas that are irrelevant to the reader you may find items being returned and fees requested to be refunded. That is never a good start and is certainly a bad end.

So, what do you do? Do the best that you can make sure your work is relevant to your customer and you go from there.  And…

Be The Person You Want Helping You.

Real Riches Are Never Measured In Money

Have you ever contemplated what work really is? We learned fairly early in life, usually around 11 or 12, that if we go out and do something for somebody, we can get a reward. Five dollars to shovel snow from the walk or to weed a garden. Fifteen to 20 dollars to cut the yard depending on size. And as we grow little, babysitting money.

Even at a young age, these small jobs can be big bucks. Young, smart entrepreneurs can easily maintain a list of five or 6 yards to cut in a weekend earning them $75 to $100.

As we grow older, we can then hire the neighborhood kid or our own children for those jobs we do not wish to do ourselves. And then later on when everyone’s grown, once again we find is ourselves doing those jobs with one small catch. No one is paying us. Wait a minute?

Is what we view as a job promotion for a life we spent becoming something else? I don’t think so. Cutting the grass is cutting the grass. A labor of love?  Again, I don’t think so. I would often be happy just to let it grow. Pay the neighborhood kid to do it? Last time I did that, he demanded the money up front for scout camp and then, he never cut the yard.

Side benefits for cutting the lawn? It keeps my significant other from more complaints. And, a good completion, if lucky, may even result in a kiss. Yet, it’s something that still has to be done. You can’t stop grass and shrubs from growing.

We do a lot of things, for rewards that have nothing to do with money. Raising kids is work, and at the same time, it’s a labor of love. The reward is when the children grow into adulthood and find their positive directions in the world.

Taking care of the house is a job. The better you keep it up, the easier the job becomes. When you keep the house like I do you end up with a true work of art. My house is post-modern clutter.

We all have chores we must complete. Chores that are often considered paid jobs to other people. Any chore or job that is done is a direct reflection on the person doing it. If a chore goes undone, is that not also a reflection upon the person in charge and the person who is supposed to complete the chore? This is something to contemplate.

Almost every action you do is an action someone else gets paid for. Chefs cook dinners.  Barbers shave people. Home health care workers wash people. Critics watch movies and TV shows and talk about them. If you’re doing these different occupations, for yourself, you’re working for yourself. And you are giving to yourself what others would be paid. This may not be in the coin of the realm, however, think of the riches you have and those you gain in doing these chores. After all…

Real Riches Are Never Measured In Money.

On Your Mark, Get Set, Start

Have you noticed how hard it is sometimes just to get something started?

Sometimes, it seems, we can sit and look at a problem for hours, days or weeks. Sometimes we can’t stand it, and we have to fix it right away.

I used to wait till everyone else went to bed. I used to wait to rearrange the room, paint the walls or clean the kitchen. I could get more done, I felt, by doing it was no one else around. Unfortunately, my body talks to me now an action such as that it no longer tolerates.

I often wonder why it is that it’s so hard to get started, and much easier to keep going when something is started. I look back to the physics of motion. It takes much more energy to start an object into motion than it takes to keep it in motion. You would not think that that would be true of the mind, and yet the mind is connected to a physical body. That connection makes it totally plausible.

This weekend I think I found, if not the answer, at least an answer that works for me. And of course, like Pavlov’s dog, it deals with action and reward. To answer your question no I did not salivate, and my reward was not dog food. Nor did I sit around waiting to hear a bell.

This weekend, I cleaned rooms, did laundry, straighten the place up, and other chores. As a reward, I worked on one of my many paintings that sat for years waiting for attention. The Canvas is an old under-painting of a part of the Grand Canyon with echoing  walls. I had always wanted to work on it and complete it, and time was never there. As a reward, I sat down for an hour and started painting on it. Changing the sky, starting thunderclouds and rain, and even dropping in part of the golden orange background as the sun is sets.

We know that we are social creatures, creatures of desire, and creatures who do like work and rewards. The painting, as a reward, did not cost me anything. I had all the resources. I know that within that hour of work I now have three new mistakes on the canvas I need to fix. And, I also know that I have five dollars in my pocket that say this thing will never hang in the Louvre. Nevertheless, it was the happiest hour I had in some time. Because after a decade, I started painting again.

What are your rewards? They do not have to require expenses, and quite often the simplest things mean more. What did you used to love to do that you don’t anymore? And, what would you do to have that experience again? If you figure that out, you now know your true motivators.

It is the motivators that get things done.

SAM

Today, I am giving you the case study of SAM. SAM is in all caps to distinguish him as an avatar. SAM is an avatar I use to demonstrate how tools work.  I like to use avatars because no one wants me to put their real information out to the public

I am often asked, who do I write for and who do I design my courses for. The people who ask these questions often want to know the age, gender, what the people had for dinner last Tuesday night, and specific problems of my students. I am not sure that that truly captures the people I work for and with.

I am writing for people who find themselves wishing or needing a transition from one stage to another in life. For the majority of people, you might say, someone over 55 is looking to transition from full-time work to retirement and possibly part-time work or a business of their own. For those between 38 and 43, the desire is often a new profession. For those between 26 and 32, there is a desire to ensure they are on the right path to their goals in life. And, those just exiting formal training for the first time, whether high school or college, want to ensure they emerge successfully into the job market.  I promise to share case studies for each of these as time goes on. I just want to remind you that we are people and not statistics.  Some people do different things at different times.  That is all right.  It is known as being human.

For now, we are going to start with Sam who graduated college at age 24, is about to turn 26 and finds himself unhappy, frustrated, and unable to find a path to where he wants to go in life. Finances, location, lack of local employment, and other factors all play into this. Yet SAM is lucky because SAM has friends, and friends know how to find the paths.

SAM

Sam’s Background

Sam is a regular guy from Any-town, USA.  He just graduated college about a year and a half ago. He married his high school love and got one of the few jobs the town had to offer, a food service worker, at the Dairy Duke.

Sam wants to be a writer. He wants the American dream. Unfortunately, a new family in a small town just starting out life finds there are many hurdles to overcome before dreams start to come true.

Sam’s not happy because he can see that he and his wife are not going anywhere and seems not to be able to find a better path. Sam’s wife isn’t happy, she thought marriage was going to be bliss. Sam’s mother-in-law likes Sam, yet she wants to see him reach out and do something for himself and her daughter.

A couple of friends who were studying process improvement offered a game or two which might help Sam out and help him and his wife to find their path. Sam was not sure at first; however, when his car refused to start for the third time in a month, he figured, “what do I have to lose.”

The team came over to his house and talk to the assembled folks. Sam had invited his mother-in-law, and his sister-in-law tagged along to see what was happening. The team explained about what they were learning in school and offered their services for free to help Sam and his wife find their way.

After talking for a little a while, the team played the affinity game with them to see how everybody felt and what problems there might be. And yes, there were some problems.

Sam's Affinity chart

 

Everybody had fun with the affinity game, and new ideas started to spring up. The infinity game (chart above) led to a Fish-bone diagram (below) which led to many other interests. I would tell you more now, except that may spoil some of the things to come. Therefore, we will start by taking a look at the affinity chart, and the Fish-bone diagram and that will start us on the way to helping to solve Sam’s problems.

Sams Fishbone

Tomorrow we will press on and see where this leads.

 

Recap

I hope all is well.

We’ve gone over quite a bit in the last few weeks, and I thought today would be good to take a moment and recap a little bit and help anybody who’s coming in late to go back and re-look at the blogs that were posted over the last few weeks.

We started out back on 5 June looking at the fact that perfection is different for every person were all individuals and what we look for and what we desire is going to be something different than the person standing next to us. And that is good. It is those differences which helped propel the world forward and make life interesting for us.

Next post, we talked about taking a stand and making a difference. This was done in a post, “You are way too good and way and too needed.”  In this blog post, we called everybody to make that stand, to get out and see what was possible.

We talked about comfort zones in a blog post and why it’s so hard to get out of a comfort zone, no matter how much you hate it. And in the post after, we talked about finding your goal. Each person has their own goals, their own desires, and their own needs. I encourage each of us to find the ones we need and desire and are truly our own.

We considered how to talk to people. And how to hold attention. The best oral exchange of ideas, training, and sharing of ideas comes with a soft and caring voice. These exchanges rarely take place with emotional yelling or screaming.

The next blog talked about how to plan for your goals, and why that is so important. After all, you cannot get what you don’t aim at. That same day I republished my website and let everybody know. It doesn’t have anything to do with the course we are going through, it was just a goal of mine. And, you are welcome to enjoy www.readingsticks.space anytime you wish.

The next blog gave you ideas on finding supporters and mentors. No one seems to get anywhere in a vacuum. For within the vacuum, no one else knows what is happening. Mentors and supporters play a very positive and very needed role within the lives of others. It’s a good thing to have, mentors, and a good thing to be, a mentor or supporter.

Our next post highlighted the fact that computers are taking over many jobs. Many reports say as many as 38% of the jobs will be done by computers within the next 15 years. Although I’m still have not received my flying car and jet pack, if you would like to know more of what I think will happen, please check out my book “Thriving as Humans in a Computer Run World,” which is on Amazon right now.

Earlier this week, I asked you to consider your goals. And, we talked about the fact that having a goal gave you something to work towards that you wanted. We also talked about the need to research the goals, and sometimes change those goals, due to life events.

Then we spent two days mapping those goals. Actually drawing the road to where the we are planning to go to reach each of the milestones is important. The milestone, in turn, help us to reach our goals.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this so far. I would really like you to send me a comment as to what you like, and what you would like to see more of.

Next week we will continue the fun. And I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for walking this goal path with me.

 

Congratulations – It’s a Website

Here at ReadingSticks, we have exciting news today.

Today we have launched our newly revised website ReadingSticks.space.

This allows you us to bring everyone the ability to find and procure our courses, books, charts, and other help.

On our new site, you may contact us either by email, on our scheduling and contact page or you will be able to schedule a phone call with us. The first phone call which can last up to 30 minutes is free.

This offers us the ability to communicate and collaborate with anyone who needs help, or individualized service for them or for their companies.

Although this site was brought online today, you will see many additions installed and various changes in the next few weeks as we calibrate the site to the needs of our audience.

Please enjoy viewing this site at http://www.readingsticks.space

Please leave us a comment telling us what you like about the site and/or what you would like us to add or take away.

Thanks,

Mike Balof, Director Reading Sticks, LLC