13 Jul From Dream to Reality: How to Successfully Launch Your Ideas, Part Three
The Power of Yes!
Thanks for being here! I appreciate you taking the time to read what I write. It means a lot to me. Toward the end of this article, we will look at the Power of Yes! It’s a new take on being open and ready for whatever comes to you on your life’s journey.
We’ve gone through Stage One (Creation) and Stage Two (Liftoff) in the last two articles. Stage One is where your dream is fully articulated. It’s a time of creative energy and clarified vision, hence the name: Creation.
Stage Two is where the rubber meets the road. It’s of primary importance that you produce results, no matter what internal mind-chatter says. Here it takes ten times more energy to produce results. That’s normal and natural. We looked at the six forms of energy we use at this stage. Here we put one foot in front of the other and keep going.
Stage Three is where it becomes easier to produce results, and Momentum is what this stage is called! During Momentum, your project starts to speed up. Think of a rocket ship finally beginning to break free of the earth’s gravity.
There’s relative ease in production for this stage. Compared to Stage Two, it requires much less energy to produce results. You might think of a collective sigh of relief from everyone involved in the project: “Look at us now! We’ve finally made it!”
The Not-So-Hidden Danger of the Creation Stage
You might think you’re “home free” at this stage, but let me tell you something: this is where countless businesses actually fail! In addition, it’s far more distressing to fail at this stage than in any other. The cause of such failure is clear: taking on more business than it’s possible to handle. Let’s hear from Joe, a client of mine, and what happened to his business during Momentum:
Joe: A food editor for our local newspaper came in one day and ate my meatloaf. He said it was the best he’d ever tasted. He wrote about it in the following Weekend Edition. By Monday morning, we had long lines of hungry customers waiting for tables at our small restaurant. We weren’t prepared. People were getting frustrated.
At last, Mary, one of my staff, devised a great idea. We made a ‘Rain Check 50% Off” coupon, printed a bunch of them, and cut them into smaller strips. We passed them around to those waiting. We saved a lot of heartache. When people aren’t unsatisfied, they complain to their families and friends. It’s bad for business. We pulled this one out of the fire….literally.
It’s exciting to be in the Momentum stage with your project. It’s invigorating, but you must be careful not to promise more than you can deliver. This is how it could turn out if you do say yes without thoughtful consideration:
Alex: I had a great business buying and selling computer equipment, anywhere from specialized computer docking stations to extra-long ethernet cables. If you needed it, we could supply it quickly and economically.
One day we got an order from a well-established corporation asking if we could supply them with 1,000 cordless earphones, complete with chargers, to help employees switch from in-person to Zoom meetings. They wanted a top-end brand with excellent sound because they knew that their staff would now be on Zoom calls rather than in-person meetings with customers, and they wanted to be sensitive to the needs of their workers. All told it would have been about a $250,000 project when you figure in all the costs. Of course, I said, “Yes!” Who wouldn’t? We signed the contract.
Three days later, my logistics chief comes running to me. He tells me our supplier in Tokyo wouldn’t be able to help us. The business he’d worked with for over twenty years went bankrupt. Another COVID victim.
We tried to find other headphone companies to help us fill the order. Everyone quoted prices that would cost us more than our contract. We’d lose about $75,000 on the deal. I couldn’t swing it.
As a result, we lost that customer. It took a toll on our staff morale. Here, things had gotten more manageable, and then we were thrust into that uncomfortable situation of scrambling for a new large client. Plus we became worried about our reputation as a credible supplier. Thankfully there hasn’t been much fallout on that front.
The Power of “Yes”
Have people ever told you that you must learn to say “No?” Well, let me tell you that learning to say “No” is one of the most challenging things ever to try. Why? Because saying “No” flies in the face of your creativity and natural inclination to play.
We all love to play. Whether it’s a computer game, tennis or pickleball match, cards, or expanding a business, it’s only human nature to say “Yes” to anything that we suspect will expand our horizons, nourish our spirit, or warm our hearts.
It’s all a matter of what you’re saying “Yes” to. Let me illustrate. As Alex detailed his business mishap, he was sure his problem was that he didn’t know how to say “No” to the customer who presented him with the possibility of making a considerable amount of money. He’d misjudged his company’s capacity to fulfill the order, thinking that since they were experiencing so much more ease, they could surely handle this more extensive project, come what may. He looked at his life from a different angle and came up with the inability to say “No” as the cause of his troubles. But learning to say “No” was a difficult task. It didn’t leave him anything except that empty feeling that he’d need to watch himself at every turn.
We looked at this situation from another perspective. I asked Alex to look at his company’s values (i.e., what they stood for):
- We always deliver our products on time.
- We’re dedicated to giving our customers the best experience ever.
- We’re sure they get the best price for what they’re looking for.
- We take pride in having the best staff morale in the business.
Then he looked at his own values:
He put these lists on two cards next to his computer monitor. He promised that whenever a customer came with a request, whether big or small, he would pause, look at those two cards, and ask himself the following question: Does saying “Yes” to this job allow me to say “Yes” to everything on these two cards? He’d immediately know the correct answer and what to do next.
The result? No more need to say “No.” Just being aware of what he was saying “Yes” to.
Try this experiment. List your own values along with your company’s. When faced with a seemingly fabulous opportunity, you’ll know the correct answer if you ask yourself the above question. You have an inner ability to discern the truth. Follow what you know to be the truth, and you’ll almost always come up with the right solution.
It’s either that or falling from Momentum back to Lift-Off, and who wants to do that?
Until next time, be great!