My curiosity about why businesses do what they do and why they succeed or fail always leads to this thought: How could they become better and what would be the result?
In order to make something better, you must first understand what it is – and not by simple definition. A bakery is a bakery. But what makes that bakery different from all other bakeries? Why do people love it or hate it? Why are cinnamon rolls the best selling item? What is the bakery’s story or identity? After you have a complete understanding of what something is, effective research and analysis will provide insights necessary to developing ideas about how it can become better. Strategies can then be executed for bringing those ideas to life and making that business better.
Perhaps you’re not interested in making a business better. But I bet you’re interested in making YOU better. Start by understanding who you really are. What makes you different from everyone else? What do people admire about you or wish you’d improve? What are you best at? What’s your story or identity? Understand who you really are to determine how you can become better. Don’t think you need to become better? Well, then you must have achieved all of your goals in life. Oh, you haven’t? Think about what’s preventing you from achieving those goals. Chances are you need to make some changes for them to come to fruition. Changes toward achieving your goals are always changes for the better.
Start with doing small things that make you better…
- Revise your resume
- Make time for regular exercise
- Learn something new about something you’re passionate about
End with realizing your goals and being the best you…
- Succeed in your dream job
- Be healthy
- Teach other people about your passion
What can you make better today for yourself? Your company? Your client?
Successful ideas or businesses have one or more of the following purposes:
- Satisfy a need
- Solve a problem
- Offer value (perceived benefits) unlike anyone else
Ultimately, these things make people happy.
I need to be a lifelong learner. Graduating from college last year created a problem for me because it meant I could no longer rely on classes and professors to constantly provide me with new information to learn from. The value college offered me is a self-guided learning environment unlike that of any other institution.
I wasn’t able to begin my career in an agency environment where I could learn from and collaborate with advertising greats. So, my work environment didn’t provide me the benefits my college environment had. But I did have Google and Twitter. I can learn about whatever I want by searching Google, but I have to seek information. Twitter, on the other hand, gives me a continuous stream of information all day long without me having to search. WOW! Twitter satisfies my need, solves my problem, and offers me the value of a virtual self-guided learning environment.
Twitter is a learning maze that allows you to travel from person to person and link to link to reach more and more useful information. Turn the bits of information you collect into chunks of knowledge. Be innovative by taking those chunks of knowledge and putting them together in a more effective way than anyone else by addressing one or more of the three purposes above.
Thank you, Twitter, for making me happy by creating a valuable technology that satisfies my need and solves my problem. Thank you to those I follow and those who follow me on Twitter for great information and conversations.
If you searched for “planner” on Wikipedia, my photo would appear along with this statement: “A planner is someone who possesses the determination, resourcefulness and innate organization skills to transform chaos into clarity and problems into solutions by taking calculated actions.” So what if someone who happens to share my name created the entry? You understand my point. The people closest to me know that I’ve never made an uncalculated move in my life. The move I made today is going to come as a huge shock to most of them.
Before we get to exactly what that move was, let’s take a step back in time. During college, I was an administrator for one company for five years while a guest service representative for another company for three years. Toward the end of my college career my guest service position came to a close so I could begin a promotions position that I’ve had for more than a year now.
Shortly after I graduated from the University of Minnesota last August, I approached the company for which I had been a guest service representative about helping them with their social media initiatives after recognizing they could use the help. Instead of simply allowing me to help, I became the company’s marketing coordinator and took on so much more.
My time in this position has been mutually valuable. I’ve produced measurable results for the company and learned many self-taught lessons. I’m grateful for the experience I’ve had, but it’s time for me to follow my passion. It’s not fair to the company to continue in my current role while I’m trying to follow my passion elsewhere. It’s equally unfair to my career goals to not give them my full concentration at a crucial starting point in my career.
I recently applied for my dream internship. On the off chance that I’ll have the opportunity to accept that internship, I had no choice but to resign from my current position today. No, I’m not crazy. Yes, I understand the job market is far from ideal and that I have student loan payments to make. But I’m courageously pursuing my career goals in hopes that my hard work and determination will someday pay off.
I’ve accomplished great things in a short amount of time in my current position and my departure will provide someone else a great opportunity. My dream opportunity lies in a great agency that does great work for great people.
You’re never going to get where you want to go if you don’t take a step forward each day in the direction of your dreams. Life is about creating opportunities for yourself to pursue what makes you happy. I wish you luck in your pursuit as I move forward with mine.
P.S. I didn’t really post my photo on Wikipedia. There is also no entry for “planner.” I don’t think Wikipedia would appreciate my having done so :)
I recently had a 3-hour coffee date with one of my close friends. Each time I see her I’m reminded of why we’re friends. We’re friends because we share the same values, ambitions and sense of humor. She is someone who believes in me just as much as I believe in her. We’re also friends because she is someone who inspires me and someone I admire.
There are only a handful of people that I can truly say such things about. One of them is my dad and another is @bradwellman. Surrounding yourself with people you admire has a way of continually reenergizing your love for life, inspiring you to be true to yourself and work toward accomplishing your goals.
Spend your time with the people who have the most positive impact on your happiness. Have meaningful conversations with people you admire. Tell those people what you admire about them. Make time for those who want to spend their time with you. They probably want to spend time with you because having you in their life makes them happier.
Do simple things that bring you happiness. Do simple things that bring other people happiness. Doing simple things for yourself and others can make a significant difference in your day. Recently, someone I look to on Twitter each day for inspiration went out of his way to recognize me and a couple of other inspirational people on his blog. Thank you, @craigpladson, for your simple gesture that absolutely made my day.
See? How simple. Now it’s your turn.
Make time for the good people and the good things in your life because you’re not guaranteed tomorrow. Don’t spend time waiting and don’t make excuses. Pursue your passions. Make positive differences in the lives of others. Surround yourself with inspiration.