7 Ways to Learn from Everyday Life
The guy who interrupted your conversation, the frustrating exchange at your local cell phone store, the Oscars, the news, the barrista at your morning coffee stop.
Every day, in every way there are lessons you can learn from your every day life. Apply these lessons to your professional life, and your professional performance will improve. I call them MindTwists: taking a concept or an observation and looking at it from a different angle or “twist”. Twist your interpretation of the events around you, and you will learn lessons in advancing your agenda.
Once you do the “twist” you can see small ways to improve your individual performance. When you improve your individual performance you will improve your company performance. And you can have fun with these observations along the way.
a. Seinfeld was funnier in the three minutes that he was presenting a minor award, than Ellen was in three hours. Think those three minutes were an audition for next year’s host?
MindTwist: Its not how much time you have in front of a prospect, client, or audience: its what we do with the time we have.
b. Jennifer Hudson listened to a well-known stylist and ended up looking like Joan Jetson. Faye Dunaway looked frightful. Meryl Streep just looked frumpy. Helen Mirren, in the same age group, looked phenomenal.
MindTwist: In presenting ourselves or our company, its not what we have to present, it is what we do with what we have.
One Indiana family has owned a Ford dealership in their small midwestern town for three generations. A Ford rep used to stop in every week. Ford trucks were king. Still, family owned, the dealership is smaller and less successful. They have not seen anyone from Ford in years, and have no relationship with any Ford personnel.
MindTwist: People don’t do business with brick and mortar. People do business with people. Could there be a correlation between Fords demise and the demise of their dealer relationships?
“You are unreasonable”, the cell phone salesman said to the customer, as the customer asked for compensation for their mistake.
With what the customer had spent in the last 20 years on cell phones, she could have bought a small South American country or a Bentley. Do you really want to say to a customer’s face, whose life your mistake just made more difficult, that they are unreasonable?
MindTwist: What does it really cost you to provide exemplary customer service? When is the last time you simply listened to a customer, client, patient, or guest and asked, what can I do to satisfy you? Words, like feathers from a pillow, can’t be put back.
In some parts of the world, the Seattle Seahawks are reining Super Bowl champions, the Buffalo Bills are the last great dynasty, and Tom Brady never won a Super Bowl. T-shirts and caps in Nigeria, Uganda, and Sierra Leone proclaim this information to be true. By order of the NFL, these items that were printed just in case can never be seen on American soil. They are shipped out of the country on the Monday following the Super Bowl and sent to developing nations where there is no electricity or running water.
MindTwist: Where do your outdated or bad ideas go? Do you figuratively ship them out or try to recycle them?
Smart companies spend thousands of dollars naming a new product. When Chevrolet introduced the Equinox a few years ago, it was after extensive research to find the right name. Focus groups were conducted and sociologists hired. Purell received its name after intensive internal focus groups. It appears a rose by any other name may not be a best selling rose.
Recently, when sportscaster Bob Costas developed a new radio show, much time was spent on the name. Turns out, it was named simply Bob Costas on the Radio. Sometimes a rose really is named a rose.
MindTwist: The simple, easy, answer with clarity may just be the correct answer.
John Marshall is credited with being the Chief Justice who brought credibility to the little respected third branch of the Supreme Court. How did he do it? Historians and legal experts will say it was his legal genius. Recent books about him and the court give us an inside look.
When the court was in session, he strongly recommended that all justices stay in the same boarding house. He gathered the justices together each night for conversation and wine. This court stood up to President Jefferson and made their mark on the court and the country.
MindTwist: Even at the highest court in the land, making relationships and nurturing relationships is a large part of success.
Look and listen to those around you. Look and listen for the “twist”, how you can apply everyday lessons to find a new value. It’s not about the event; it’s about the story we tell ourselves about the event. Twist your interpretation of the events around you, and you will learn lessons in advancing your agenda.