If you live in California, you are probably an expert on understanding the AQI (Air Quality Index) by now. A measurement that tells you whether it is safe to go outside during the fire season.
Californians are in the throes of enduring yet another challenging fire season which seems to worsen year after year. Last year was a record season in California since fire seasons started getting recorded in 1932. Over 9,917 fires burned close to 4.5 million acres of land last year. Understandably, many locals are cashing in on their overly priced homes and moving to other parts of the US where they can breathe clean air throughout the year.
Those who stay are having to accept that it is a new cost of living in a state that still offers more pros than cons. As frustrating and uncomfortable as it is, people adapt and figure out how to get through this time of year. The ones who don’t adjust either leave the state or remain incredibly miserable throughout the fire season.
We are experiencing one of those incredibly hot summers in California that makes me jealous of all the people who own pools. The pools that allow you to dive into the deep end and enjoy the cool refreshing water rather than the ankle-deep inflatable kid pools that quickly warm up to the outside air temperature.
In a proper pool, swimming in the shallow end is fine for many occasions. It is safe and easy. When approaching the deeper water, it requires more skill and focus, yet with greater payback when you can enjoy cooler temperatures, especially during those hot days.
Developing business relationships is very similar to swimming in pools. You have contacts in the shallow end and in the deep end.
As we approach Father’s Day, I pinch myself thinking about how lucky I am to have two beautiful children who need me and love me (most of the time😉) daily. I often take this supportive role as a parent for granted, and yet it is incredibly satisfying to know that these kids depend on me. It keeps me sharp and motivated to continue to grow my business knowing that by the time they reach college, I will have to take out a second mortgage if I do not.
…One of my favorite quotes from my former boss and National Sales Leader at Deloitte, Tom Lutz.
Even though Tom sees talent and experience as important attributes to be successful in growing a business, he always falls back to the most important work habit – staying consistently active in the market.
This basic rule of thumb seems simple, yet why is it hard for professionals to follow? Why do so many talented professionals fall into the “best-kept secret” category?
Going to college can teach you a lot of important things, and one of the biggest lessons in business that I learned was when I was in my third year at college. That said, it was not at school rather at home during the summer break.
One of the most memorable trips I have been on was to Bali, Indonesia in the early nineties. It was not only the beautiful coastline, incredible surf, and $10 massages on the beach, but also the unpleasant memory of the aggressive beach vendors who preyed upon each tourist from the moment they stepped off the airplane.
I will never forget that first day when I was swarmed by at least 20 vendors outside of the airport who were looking for that moment of weakness from me. The moment I said those deadly words “how much?” Once that sign of interest appeared, they would not leave me alone until I bought something from them, or I could escape into a taxi.
Photo - Ned Overend
It was over 8 years ago at the NorCal High School Mountain Bike Race League fundraiser event when I received a shot in the arm that was almost as exhilarating as my recent Covid vaccination shot. I was approaching 50 years old and wondering if my competitive years as a cyclist were officially behind me. I often struggled to suppress the words I would hear my father say during his waning athletic years as an older man – “I’m getting too old for this.”
As a native Californian, I have become accustomed to shallow phrases such as “We should catch up sometime” or “Let’s try to connect sometime soon.”
These statements might appear to be genuine but are often as passive and hollow as the common question “How is it going?”. A question that typically generates a “Good” response and then you move on.
These statements have become part of our passive language that is acceptable to most people. The only sad part is that these statements often do not advance the relationship or provide important feedback on the next steps to grow that relationship. They are well-intentioned remarks that can often float for months without it ever happening.
It was the summer of 1992. I was driving a casual 110 mph on the German autobahn for a 3-hour stretch in my company-issued BMW 3 series. I was on my way from Munich to Aachen, Germany to meet with a prospective client in anticipation of landing one of the largest clients in my vast 4-year sales career. I was 29 years old and the sales manager of a small German technology distributor. My German language finally reached a level of business fluency well enough to persuade any client to buy our products and services.
Several years ago, when I was ramping up my consulting business and I was feeling the pressure of putting food on the table for my family, I received some sage advice that changed the trajectory of my business.
Up until that time, new clients seemed to only trickle in. I looked at every opportunity as a must-win situation to pay our mortgage. The stress and test of my patience only made it more difficult to win new clients. The classic symptoms of a professional trying to grow his or her practice.