What to do when your wish comes true!

The ominous clouds gathered, “It seemed like the “perfect storm,” in a good way.

My friend excitedly reported, “Our competition is on backorder!” Now, we are getting alllll the business!”  

To me, initially it sounded like a “dream come true.”  

“Wamp, Wamp”, 

As often happens, life finds a way to balance.  

She continued to explain that with the landslide came the “cleared land” and, also…”the mud”…Here are the top lessons they found when their “wish came true”:

1) Lost Business Returned…

Yay! Customers who had gone away to the competition,were forced to purchase their product again!    
Nay… Loyal customers were victims of increased demand, which meant that they, like the returning customers had to sometimes wait for their orders.

The Pearl..Take care of the Loyal customers and service those who have returned because you never know…Good service especially in challenging times, determines a relationship

2) More Contracts…

Yay! New contracts were signed by old customers 
Nay! Which further increased demand issue

The Pearl: Contracts don’t always equal an automatic win, they need to be massaged and serviced

3) Time is Time…

Nay… time was taken away from day to day efforts to focus on servicing all customers.   
Yay!  Steady and sincere communication, offers the ability to serve all customers and have increased connection.

The Pearl:  Time is a limited resource.  We can’t manufacture more. Stay focused and organized and selfish with it. Yet if there is increased connection, find a way to make it worth everyone’s while

4) Service is Service…

Yay…Customers who had gone away needed product and were feeling the pressure of not having it.  The providing company was rescuing them! 
Nay…There is no guarantee they will stay, after business returns to normal…and the service given may have been simply for the moment

The Pearl: There is no replacement for good customer service.  When you take care of customers, they remember, even if they are not your loyal customers. But they REALLY remember if they ARE your loyal customers.

Bottom line: Any situation can be made into a win. When we take the time to get strategic, and lead from our place of doing what we feel is the best for all involved, everyone wins.  

Wish on!

Shelly
The Beekeeper

10 Lessons I learned from Chicken Feet

It seemed like a good idea, at the time.  I was circling the sparse, spring farmers market; deep in thought, considering the week’s dinner and had the idea,

“Ohhh, chicken soup!” 

My heart was set.  

The small family farm’s booth, where I had purchased a stewing chicken, was dead ahead. I swear, on that teensy bird’s head, It made the most delicious broth I had ever made. I headed straight over, the woman lead me to the freezer case. 

I saw the stewing chicken and she said,

“The meat on these is really not edible.  If you are just making stock, we have a soup kit.  Would you like to see it?”

Soup is my favorite food, period. This was like someone offering to a diamond lover, a viewing of the Hope Diamond.  I was awash with excitement.  As she opened the case, the freezer air swirled.

The kit was raised, she explained,  “It contains chicken backs and…. chicken feet, these make the best broth, full of taste and rich in collagen.”  

She had me at collagen. The bag was clear, yet it was misted over in a freezer fog and I couldn’t see exactly what was in the kit, so I took her word for it.  

She continued, “It is a little tough to get the skin off the chicken feet, yet it must be removed as do the finger nails, they can be tough to strain from the broth and they are dirty.”

I gulped and kept a brave face.  

She added, “Don’t worry, there are a few YouTubes on how to do it.”  

A bit reluctant, yet, curious, I placed the kit in my oversized canvas bag.  

I got home and several hours later the feet emerged more clearly as I removed them from the outer packaging.  

White, bony with sharp nails, they laid blandly.  All I could think was, 

“I really should have asked a few more questions.” 

I sighed as I resigned myself realizing it was as they say… “Too late.”

Two Youtube videos with perky home chefs gleefully showed their skin, and nail removal method. My stomach turned and my face squinched like a kid who thought they got the best piece of candy only, it turned out to be a sour lemon drop.

Just as the YouTubes had instructed, I plunked the first claw into the boiling water.  It slowly unfolded, much like a human hand revealing a stone.  It turned in the water and as it came out I cooled it in a bowl of water.  

With a resigned sigh, I pulled the claw out and began attempting to scrape off the skin.  

Soon, I realized, this was a job that was going to require my own fingernails.  The skin peeled reluctantly off the long “arm” bone yet as I neared the “palm” and the “fingers” it clung tight.  

Never mind pulling off the nails, even an all in one tool didn’t work.  I reserved that job for the big chef’s knife, and whacked them off with a blunt chop.  As I worked I grew more disgusted and thought only…

“This’d better be good soup.” 

As I gritted through this life lesson, my thoughts turned to how this is like business and pulled these lessons:

When you have the thought, “I mean, how bad can it be?”  Heed it.  

Some things seem like a good idea at the time, but you will find out later… are not

Sometimes the extra effort is NOT worth it

Sometimes things that look easy are not

Some things that take time to do are just things that take time to do

Some things are just gross, no matter how you try to spin it

Busy work really is busy work

There will be times you may have the thought, “It may be a disaster, but I did my best.”

When you have the feeling and then the thought, “I really should have asked more questions”, remember that feeling, because you will want to ASK more questions next time BEFORE committing.

If you have to gulp and try too hard to keep a brave face, perhaps it’s just wrong

Sometimes, it’s ok to just give up and go a different direction.

The soup turned out to be very tasty, yet the tried and true small stewing hen would have been just as good.  

As for me and chicken feet, never, ever again.  Once was enough.  And, next time I have “that” feeling, I WILL ask more questions.

Take A Break

It was 4:30 AM and I was on the road,  again.  It was the second time that week. This combined with a few twelve hour work days and a few 7am “at the office” starts, I felt tired and a bit over worked. 

I thought, “Isn’t strange that things all seem to happen at once?”

Thankfully, all good stuff, yet I was taxed and tired.  I needed a break. The schedule was not to allow it for at least another week.

Something tells me I am not alone in this sort of experience…

Following up on the last post of offering yourself a treat when you accomplish goals, I found that I what needed was some serious self care, even in the midst of business, busy-ness.

Sometimes, I can be super hard on myself pushing, pushing, pushing and not taking time to rest or do things just for me.  

So, I tried this:  I scheduled in some down time.  And I realized, or noticed afterwards….

that when I take time to take care of myself, I feel more Energized and I am more Productive!” 

Other times, it’s not the busy that makes me crazed, but the insomnia. I don’t know about you but, sometimes sleep completely evades me.  And the next day, I  am a zombie!   Recently, I was feeling exhausted, yet, I really wanted to exercise.  I kept going back and forth in my mind, 

“Exercise? Nap?  Exercise? Nap?”

Ahhhh, the couch won out!  Get this, though.  I gave myself completely over.  I set the timer for thirty minutes. When I woke up, I laid there in a sleepy daze; but as the room came into focus and the sun streamed in, I suddenly felt more alive, than I had ALL day!

Then, I didn’t work out.  Instead, I walked my super snuggly dog.  And that felt even better than the work out!  

Still, that little guilt squeaked …”You NEED to work out.”  

I thanked the voice and promised,

“I’ll do it tomorrow.” 

Then, I just let it go.  The guilt subsided but the good vibrations from self care zoomed! 

I felt relaxed and rested.  This felt like something that was sustainable.

Later that evening, I had the energy to finish a letter and pay the bills.  I didn’t even feel resentful!  The self care I had performed early was still surging.  

I look at it like this, there are far too many HAVE TO’s.  And sometimes I resent have to’s.  If I can balance them with WANT TO’s and rest, I feel more balanced and overall more peaceful.  

So, what else can count as self care?  I say anything YOU count as self care is self care…. Taking a nap, daydreaming for 5 minutes, sleeping in an extra half hour, walking in the sunshine or the rain, watching your favorite show, getting a massage, taking a class, singing in the shower, talking on the phone with a friend, beauty treatments that make you feel good about you, journaling.  

Yes, my friends, self care is a MUST.  

It not only feels great in the moment it makes our personal lives more fulfilling and our business lives more productive.

Self Care on My Friends!

Shelly

Bee Keeper

Planning and Reviewing

Ahh, the calendar is officially turned, the New Year is in full swing.  What is a new year but a blank slate, a page where we will write another life chapter? 

I have found it rejuvenating to review what has happened in the previous year.  I have saved these reviews and in times where things are a little bleak, I look back and read them.  They can be a source of inspiration, self satisfaction and reminder that things CAN and DO actually go right.  I keep it short and sweet. I ask:

Personal life review: What happened this year that felt good?  What accomplishments, events, connections am I personally proud of?

Career life review: What are the top things that happened that I feel good about?  What accomplishments happened and did I make happen that I am personally proud of?

Goals for the New Year

I read that Warren Buffett does this and I thought it was interesting.  I am going to try it out.  See what you think:

List 25 things that you want to accomplish this year:

Circle the top 5

Write those down

Focus on the top 5

Hide the other 20

The reasoning is that if we focus on a few things verses many things we will have a better chance of accomplishing our goals. Let me know how this is for you!