Speaking of Money

Speaking of Money…

Why don’t we?

We all tend to agree that we need Money to do certain things, but is has become a secretive endeavor.

Sometimes the opportunities present themselves, but we have been trained, conditioned, or accustomed that Speaking of Money is not polite, appropriate, or “right.”

I was reflecting on two recent opportunities.

Opportunity #1: The back porch.

While vacationing with family recently we tended to sit on the back porch and have conversations that ranged from the silly to the sacred (A shout out to Iain for that riff.) Conversations included the weather, our plans for that day, what we liked about the previous day, what to eat, what to eat, and sometimes where to eat.

But it was the questions that came from the youngest ones that were the most fun.

“So you are my dad’s older brother?”

“Yes.”

“Really, so you grew up together?”

“Yes.”

“So you are saying that Grammie was your mom, and my dad’s mom?”

“Yes.”

This went on for quite sometime. But then there was another question.

“So, this place we rented to all get together is pretty nice, how much did it cost?”

“Um, Uh, Hmmmm, Not too much.”

“No really, I was wondering what it cost, like how much money?”

“Hey, what was your favorite part of yesterday?”

Opportunity #2: The Menu.

Recently we decided to go away for holiday and instead of the traditional making of a big meal with all the prep, serving, hosting, and cleaning, we just wanted the simplicity of showing up, eating, and leaving.

To help those involved know what we were having for dinner, I shared the menu. But instead of sharing the whole menu, I folded over the part with the pricing and shared the folded version instead.

Unsurprisingly, most people who took the menu, immediately unfolded the piece of paper.

It was my youngest who asked the questions this time.

“So this food seems good, but how much does it cost?”

“Well you know, not too much.”

“Why did you fold over the menu and the pricing?”

“Hey, did you pack an extra jacket in case it is cold?”

Two opportunities. Two total misses.

The conditioning, training, or whatever it was overrode the opportunity in the moment.

Speaking of Money shouldn’t be so awkward.

Speaking of Money shouldn’t be something that freezes us.

We should look for opportunities where Speaking of Money helps provide perspective, insight, or understanding of how things work.

We may need to embrace this awkwardness and start Speaking of Money when the opportunities come this way.

We want to convey why we spent the money on vacation because connecting with family was that important.

We want to convey why we spent the money on a holiday meal so that we would not have the typical stress associated with holiday preparation.

We want to convey a healthy understanding of the costs, the sacrifices, the choices, and the reasons.

In order to do that, we are going to have to start Speaking of Money a little more often.

 

Tell Them

I got to connect with an old friend the other day.

We drove, we talked, we got coffee, and we talked some more.

We talked about new starts and changes.

We talked about career paths and work.

We talked about good times and bad.

Then we talked about organizations.

My friend watched an organization try to move forward.

The moving forward required some changes.

The changes would impact employees.

The organization forgot to Tell Them (the employees, the staff, the people that would be impacted), and their top talent began to leave.

After many people left, the organization learned a valuable lesson.

Tell Them.

Tell Them why the changes are happening.

Tell Them the larger plan.

Tell Them why these moves are so important.

There are so many excuses not to Tell Them.

“We were waiting until everything was perfect.”

“We were not sure how the news would be received.”

“We think it will upset our customer.”

The longer you wait to Tell Them, the more other stories build.

Stories that erode trust.

Stories that assume the worst.

Stories that will undo the progress you are trying to make.

There are always reasons and excuses not to communicate.

But there is a simple solution: Tell Them.

Even bad news is more widely accepted when you are straightforward, open, and transparent.

Instead of being afraid of what they will do with the information, we should be more afraid of what they will do without it.

 

Talking with Strangers

I can still remember the words.

“Don’t talk to strangers.”

We are reminded of these instructions when we are young to keep us safe.

But we get older.

Sometimes these words remain.

We go about our lives.

We keep to ourselves.

We don’t talk to strangers.

Our circles remain small.

Strangers cross our paths.

We could just smile politely and go back to our world, phones, books, or lives.

Instead we fight this urge to remain quiet, and begin Talking with Strangers.

We learn about their lives and their journey.

We meet second grade teachers who love Dr. Seuss and are almost moved to tears when you talk about making a difference.

We meet bankers who believe in small banks that are connected to customers.

We meet curriculum developers and admission specialists.

We meet heart transplant coordinator something something and another thing (perhaps about assisted living) that was hard to remember.

We learn about stories of big extended families.

We learn about why they meet for coffee and how they connect around the holidays.

We learn about moving away and coming back home.

We learn about passions that parallel your own.

We meet.

We learn.

Our circles expand.

I agree, “don’t talk to strangers.”

Talking with Strangers is so much better.

And…

I don’t typically do this, but a special shout out to Doug (Petey), Deb, Bob, Amy, Leslie, and Becky. Yes you did make it into the blog, and I didn’t even have to change your names. After trying so hard to remember six names, it seemed like a shame to waste it!

The More

the-more-1

It is hard to explain.

There is something out there.

Calling us.

Whispering.

“Wake up.”

“Don’t settle.”

“There is more.”

It is easy to find a rut.

Easy to give up or give in, and stop trying something new.

Easy to say, “this is all there is.”

But that voice is persistent.

The voice calling us to something else.

Calling us to The More.

The More hopeful.

The More connecting.

The More inventive.

The More satisfied.

The More of our careers, lives, relationships, and communities.

Don’t settle for less.

Strive for The More.

 

 

Meticulous Framing

IMG_5987

During a recent conversation with a close friend, we discussed the importance of building things that last.

Relationships.

Businesses.

Creative Stuff.

Sometimes we don’t always start the right way.

Sometimes we have to go back and fix.

In order to build on what exists, you have to make sure what is underneath is strong enough to handle what comes next.

Strong enough to last.

The very next day I was on a job site for the construction of a new home.

I met the team responsible for framing the home.

It wasn’t my first job site, but this site/this work stood out.

Clean, straight, and beautiful.

Meticulous Framing.


IMG_5997

After the tour, there were many compliments directed towards the framing team.

The leader of the larger team and company responsible for the project told a quick story.

“My former partner used to say ‘this is framing, not finish carpentry’. I would remind him that if I did a crappy job framing, I’d end up spending more time messing around trying to fix things when I installed the finish trim, cabinets and doors.”

Everyone nodded in agreement.

The framing team agreed and spoke of how important it was to get this step done well.

I found it interesting, that once complete, no one will see the Meticulous Framing.

This Meticulous Framing is not glamorous: other things that sit on top will ultimately get all the credit for how this home looks.

This Meticulous Framing will be hidden from view, seemingly forever, or until someone makes a drastic change.

This Meticulous Framing will set the stage for the next several decades.

This Meticulous Framing may take a few extra days, but may save weeks later on.

The leader tells this story in the larger context.

“I like to say what you do in one part of your life is pretty likely to show up in other parts of your life…”

Couldn’t we use Meticulous Framing when building relationships?

Couldn’t we use Meticulous Framing when building businesses?

Couldn’t we use Meticulous Framing when doing creating stuff?

The next time you build something, ask your self:

“Am I building this in a way that will last, or will I be spending a lot of time messing around trying to fix things?”

Maybe Meticulous Framing is exactly what we need, so what we build will last.

New Patterns, New Memories

Getting together with people, especially with those who are close, is not always easy.

Logistics. What time, where, who, and what?

Dynamics. The past, the incident, that time, and those words.

Expectations. The food, the venue, the relationships, and the activities.

Patterns. When to eat, what to do, and how you interact.

Memories. Good, bad, stressful, and past.

These various categories cause an interesting dynamic when trying to connect with others. When these categories are associated with past stressful get-togethers, the days before you see these people again can be filled with stress and pressure.

This stress and pressure can hijack the present event by overwhelming you before you even arrive.

But, what if you could shift the pattern?

What if you tried a new approach?

I am lucky to be part of a group that is experimenting with a new pattern. 

Instead of crashing after a meal, we go for a walk (and talk).

Instead of huddling around the TV, we are playing fun and weird games.

Instead of large group discussions, we are making time to connect and catch up individually.

A new pattern is forming.

New memories are replacing the old.

Good Patterns. Good Memories.

It is awkward at first? Oh yeah, but totally worth it.