Month: March 2012
I love roller coasters! Some people fight over the front car, others love the last car; my favorite place to sit is on the fence line around the roller coaster, watching the people riding the roller coaster! While some are terrified, others are laughing and having the time of their lives! It’s hilarious to watch! While one person in a car is crying their eyes out and holding on for dear life, the person next to them in the same car has both arms held up towards the sky while they squeal for joy! Why is that? I think it’s pretty simple… you choose how you’re going to react to the ride. Life tends to be the same way. Someone once said, “Life is kinda like a roller coaster. It has its ups and downs… but it’s YOUR choice to either scream or enjoy the ride!”
Anyone who has been a leader or a business owner understands that life does go through its own series of ups and downs. Unlike the massive wood or steel frames of roller coasters, life doesn’t let you see ahead of time where the peaks and the dips are coming. But don’t doubt it, they are coming. So how do you respond when you hit the Dip? You know the feeling… that sickening, out of control feeling of dangerous floating. Your stomach moves from your abdomen to just under your tonsils. Your heart races, your head pounds, and your body tenses up not knowing what is coming next.
So how do you handle it when your revenue drops by 25%? What about when there is a huge shakeup in the management team that oversees you? Or when there are rumors of buyouts, layoffs or total collapse of your company or industry? How do you handle the roller coaster?
A Time to Consider
When you hit the bottom of the hill in the roller coaster can actually be the best time of the ride for some. They aren’t nearly as far away from the ground as they were, and they get a chance to catch their breath before climbing that next hill or doing the next loop.
Do the same thing in your life during the “dip”. Take the “down time” as an opportunity to catch your second wind and evaluate your circumstances. During those times where deadlines for productivity and providing services may not be so great, evaluate what might have lead to or exaggerated the “dip”, and consider your options for moving forward. Some dips are unpreventable, while others are self-inflicted. Analyze your own situation to determine which it is, and what you can do to set things on a positive course.
A Time to Change
Ever see the girl lose her purse, or a guy have his sunglasses fly off partway through the roller coaster ride? Didn’t they see that mammoth ride when they were standing in line? Didn’t they realize they needed to secure that stuff somehow? But they didn’t! They saw the potential risks, and may have even seen the same happen to someone else, but they didn’t prepare themselves! It’s crazy!
Be smarter than that… After you’ve spent some valuable time in reflection on the massive twists and turns in your own circumstances, you’ll need to take the next step- action. Down times are excellent times for retooling, whether that’s systems or policies, equipment or people. Focus on addressing short term or crisis situations first. It may require changes in personnel, finances or other key areas. Then study what long term changes you need to make or steps you need to take. Those steps could be to prevent the same dip from happening again, or to prepare better for the next time it comes around. Do you need to have a “Rainy Day Fund”? Do you need to streamline expenses? Enact new policies? Invest in training of staff?
Finally, don’t minimize that this can be a great time for you to refresh, recalibrate and celebrate the ride! Amusement parks continue to make money year after year because people need a break from the details of life. Roller coasters are fun and scary at the same time, but both of those feelings have one major component in common. They make us feel ALIVE!
Consider that this time could be the break or refreshing time that you or your staff have needed for a while. Spend some time celebrating successes in the past, and talking about the future. Play together and dream together. As a leader, cast a vision for a dynamic and exciting future.
In Beyonce’s song “Countdown”, she sings, “There’s ups and downs in this love. Got a lot to learn in this love. Through the good and the bad, still got love.” Yes, in this life there are gonna be ups and downs too… but it’s life, and even when it’s a roller coaster, it’s your choice to learn and love, or scream in panic into the “dip”. Lead well through the “dip”, and enjoy the ride!
Jon Bon Jovi, Desi Arnaz, Mikahil Gorbachev & Karen Carpenter… what do they all have in common? They share a birthday with Dr. Seuss! March 2nd, 1904 Theodor Seuss Geisel was born. He published 46 children’s books, and I daresay that most of you have read or had one or more of them read to you in your lifetime. So here is my ode to the good doctor on his day!
Today is day of fun stories & rhyme, For dear Dr. Seuss it’s birthday time!
He’s thrilled us with stories of “Fox In Socks”, “Oh The Places You’ll Go”, and “Hop on Pop”.
He showed us new creatures like the Lorax & Sneetch, And grew the heart of Christmas in the evil old Grinch.
“One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”, And “Green Eggs & Hams” was our favorite dish!
When did we grow up and lose the wonder and imagination of a child? It seems from reading Dr. Seuss that he never did! His stories to took us to places of wonder and amazement. He introduced us to creatures we never knew, and to a few we thought we knew but were amazed at what they could do! (Did Horton really hear that Who? I don’t know, do you?)
But woven into those wonderful children’s stories are amazing truths that this pioneer in early childhood education hoped would stay with kids forever… let’s look at a few, and what they have to say to us today!
Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. In a world that tries to shape us all into a compartment, cubbyhole or meet a list of its expectations, the good doctor reminds us that it’s best to just be who we are. We will always have critics, and we’ll always have fans. Judy Garland said, “Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else.”
Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened. Yes, even the cruddy stuff. The good, the bad & the really, really ugly all have a way of weaving together and shaping us into who we are today. For better or for worse, as Dr. Seuss would say, “Today you are YOU, that is truer than true. There is no one alive that is Youer than YOU.” So enjoy and accept the YOU that YOU are today!
So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads. What great advice for those who would lead! Say what you need to say, and make sure what you need to say needs to be said! The only thing worse than listening to a speaker who loves the sound of his own voice is to have to muddle through mountains of words to find that nugget of truth, when mounds of words would have been enough.
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. Never stop learning. Read books, blogs, tweets even bumper stickers. But always be reading and expanding your knowledge. More than that, expand your heart and mind to accept what knowledge comes your way.
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. This world is a rough place. People need us. We need people. So here’s my advice to echo that of Dr. Seuss. Go give a rip. Make one difference in one life today. Lather. Rinse. Repeat every day.
You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams. Not everyone gets to experience this kind of love, but everyone gets to BELIEVE in this kind of love. If you’re married to your soul mate, let them know what they mean to you. If you’re struggling in your relationship, then work on it. It’s cool to wake up from a dream, and it’s the same person you were looking at just a few seconds before.
Today is gone. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one. My dad passed away about two years ago. My mom followed him to heaven 2 months ago. I’d give anything for one more conversation, one more hug, one more “I love you.” I can’t, nor can you, undo wasted moments. But more counsel for Dr. Seuss reminds us that “Only you can control your future.” He adds one last piece of advice for us to consider… “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose.” So go choose something amazing today!
We laughed at the Flummox & Foo-Foo the Snoo, And we sang round the Christmas Tree with Cindy Lou Who!
So spend some time with Yertle Turtle today, Or the Grickily Gractus, as they grackle away!
But look for the lessons, and listen close too, And like Horton you may just hear something new!