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The Cost of Efficiency

I recently learned about a local gynecologic oncologist that kept his patients waiting, sometimes for hours.

Doctors’ offices like this are common. They schedule their appointments for efficiency, in case there are cancelations. But when everyone shows up on time (or early) for their appointments, the patients suffer, as the office and the Dr. try to efficiently move the patients through the assembly line.

This doctor, however, had an uncommon reputation. Instead of his patients complaining about the wait, they celebrated it. Because they know he was caring for another patient.

Holding her hand, answering her husband’s questions, listening to the fears and the concerns as the couples and families he treated struggled to understand the news he was sharing. He was also there, celebrating with his patients, encouraging them and cheering them on.

The patients of Dr. Cardosi — and other doctors like him — know what it means to be cared for. They don’t feel like another patient, being herded through the clinic door, only to sit inside and wait for what seems like an eternity to be seen by the busy, frazzled doctor, looking at charts, talking in brusque tones to the tolerant nurses. I am sure these doctors didn’t  set out to be too busy to care.

But that’s the reality of being efficient.

Efficiency is necessary to be profitable. It’s essential for the bottom line.

But caring — that is what truly matters.

I know how it feels to need to be efficient. Looking at the clock, knowing that time is running out before a deadline, while I sit, trying to be patient with a client who needs me, because I truly care. And, when the client knows I care, and appreciates the fact that I am taking my time, I feel more inclined to give them the time that they need.

What we need to realize, as customers and clients who want to be cared for, is that the caring comes at a cost. And the best way to ensure that we can continue to be cared for, is to celebrate the professionals who care.

If we want more caring, we must accept that it comes at a cost. There’s no possible way for caring deeply for another human being to be fast and efficient.

But, we still need more caring, all the way around.

The Voice of Reason is Lying


Dreams are a precious gift. Not the ones we have when we are sleeping. Not the fleeting dreams that don’t stick around longer than a day.

I am talking about the ones that stir our hearts, that won’t leave us alone, that feel like someone or something is tugging at our hearts, challenging our reality, month after month after month. That nagging voice that asks, “What if” — and actually wants you to answer.

The ones we have when we’re designing our purpose-filled life.

What life are you imagining when you endeavor to ask yourself why you exist, why you were put on this earth?

And what does the voice of reason say when you give your heart permission to dream?

That’s impossible.

You’re never going to be able to make it happen. 

It’s not your turn yet. 

It’s never been done before. 

You’re not old enough.

You’re not young enough.

You’re not smart enough.

You’re not good enough.


Dreaming isn’t reckless, it’s not selfish, it’s not crazy.

Whatever we dream is possible — is. Unless we listen to the voice of reason.

We might actually share our dreams with someone we trust, and they might be the ‘voice of reason’ for us.

But more often than not, the voice is our own, internal buzzard. Picking at the leftovers of our hearts, chiding us for even considering that what is within us is alive, if only we will allow it a chance to become more than a thought.

The real world can be a deadly place for dreams.

Until one day, when we decide to play devil’s advocate with the voice.

Who says I can’t? How do you know it’s impossible? What if I can? What if the only thing holding me back is this voice? What if I’m imagining this because it is possible?

If you want to read a book about how to make your dreams come true, I have a couple of suggestions.

But a book isn’t going to make it happen for you.

There will be hurdles. You’ll mess up, you’ll stumble, you’ll be filled with these doubts again, all along the way, you’ll find plenty of reasons to stop. But you cannot stop. The voice of reason is lying to you.

Resisting the voice is part of the magic of making it. Your desire to achieve — whatever it is stirring in your heart — is there for a very special reason.

It’s your dream. 

Maybe your dream is to help someone achieve their dream.

Maybe it seems silly to consider anything other than the life you currently have. After all, you have a great life. You should be happy with what you have. You have so much more than many people do!  You’re blessed, right?  Things are good just the way they are.

And, if you choose to believe that, there is no one that will criticize you for it. You get to make that choice.

But remember, it’s not the voice of reason’s fault. You can’t blame the energy vampires, the pot stirrers, the haters or the ‘realists’ for talking you out of your dream.

Only you have that power.

And you also have the power to decide to go for it.

The Rockstar with No Name

Before you read this, open up a new tab and Google yourself. Not your business — you — your first and last name. If your name is John or Nancy Smith, you might need to add a geographical detail like your city or community name.

What are the results? Is there a link to your LinkedIn profile? Your blog? Your Facebook account? Your Rotary/Kiwanis Club profile or your Chamber or BNI listing? Obviously, your website appears right?? (If not, and you’re a principal in your company, m̶a̶y̶b̶e̶ it’s time to do something about that!)

What else do you see? And, of those results, how many of them do you control/can you access? Depending on how long you’ve been navigating the “inter webs” you should see a few pages of results.

When you conduct a business analysis, I hope this is part of it. Because, whether we like it or not, the world we live in is PUBLIC. And, for the most part, our reputations hinge on what that public message says about us.

There’s a troubling attitude about brands, specifically personal brands that I think is resulting in a lot of money being left on the table.

It’s the attitude “I got this. I don’t need any help.”

It happens more often than you probably realize. Businesses get into year 2 or 3 and realize they need help. Everything is a mess. And they don’t value the importance of their brand’s message — because it has never brought them any business.

Exactly.

Any knowledgeable person, with a decent personality can start a business and generate revenue with a face-to-face sales strategy. The question that most people forget when they are first getting started is “How much is your time worth?” How much would it cost for a full time sales person to make outgoing calls, knock on doors, and shake the low-hanging fruit? (How do your customers/clients feel about being considered “low-hanging fruit?!”)

When you start to get weary, when your calendar requires that you pay attention to your newborn child, or your aging parents, how will your business fare? If you’re building a digital business, these transitions will not be detrimental to your bottom line.

Work smarter, not harder?

Is that just something you say, but not something you do?

Your content marketing strategy is not an option for leaders in today’s digital world. And, even if you aren’t in business at this moment, there’s no reason not to consider your personal brand — now. You have a reputation already. Why not do something to manage that? Being authentic is a valued characteristic — but if you don’t take ownership of your online brand as well, no matter how amazing you are in your business community offline, people won’t know you exist if you don’t create a plan for building your online reputation to go along with the one you have been building offline.

Where do I start?

It should absolutely start with a blog for your business, or if you work for a corporation that doesn’t have the ability for managers to have a blog channel, a personal blog will work great!

What do I blog about?

LIFE! This isn’t always about sales and promotion. This is about building relationships. The same things you spend time talking about in social circles would be perfect for you to discuss in your blog. Sports, cigars, wine, wood working, grand children, civic engagement, volunteering, your community, valuable educational information to help your readers with something related, or unrelated to your business. The point is to share and to bring value. To create a brand is to establish that you have something of value to bring to the table. And, when your audience sees who you are, and what you offer, and when your online presence can confirm that you are who you say you are on your “About us” page on your website, you’ll begin to see the results in the search engines, and that traffic — that channel — will become an asset for your sales funnel.

How do I Start?

The quick answer is — START. But if your website isn’t set up for blogging, you might need some help. Ask a trusted business advisor, conduct some Google searches. But, no matter what, commit to starting the process. You won’t be able to come back to this moment. And, if you’re ready, and you want to talk about it with me, I am here — I welcome to the opportunity to help you.

I refuse to make this a sales pitch — it’s not. I write this, and all of my posts to help people, to push them to move forward and overcome their fears about digital. If you’re interested in taking necessary steps to start blogging, I welcome the opportunity. But, if after this message I have you thinking about something “outside the box” I will consider my mission accomplished!

Separate Yourself – A Suggestion for Changemakers

Doing good comes with a downside. Maybe that’s why so many people just give up and stop trying. The reason we surround ourselves with the people we do, is because they “get us.” They know our heart. But we cannot live in a bubble. If we just surround ourselves with the people who understand us, there’s little chance that the change we want to make — the good that we want to do in the world, will ever come to be if we choose to just play it safe in our little world of like-minded people.

That doesn’t make it easier to deal with when we’re asked to prove our integrity, or when we’re questioned about our motives.

Remember, Pressure is a Privilege (I wrote about this recently, and I still need to remind myself of this regularly — and that will continue to be the way it is, so long as we continue to choose to fight the good fight.

I recently received a message from a close friend who shared his frustration about the dialogues in our city about a Confederate monument and the social divisiveness it has created in our community. He followed this message with — “I am only sharing this with you, because — you know my heart.”

The world is filled with so much negativity, that a person who has their heart in the right place is just completely vulnerable to the hatred — and this makes it harder and harder to keep at it. The noise, the voices of the people who believe there’s probably a hidden agenda, or some dirty dealings, or simply are unwilling to consider that there is another side — make it difficult for people who want to make a difference to keep trying.

Gut (Reality) Check

As long as there are people who strive to make a difference, there will always be people on the other side, bringing their negativity, “snarkiness” and even accusations to the table.

When we are faced with these challenges, it’s easy to consider just pulling up the cords and walking away. And allow our thoughts to go something like this: This work doesn’t really matter. I am

not making a difference. Maybe they are right. I am done with this BS. We’re supposed to ignore sunk costs — maybe that’s what this is — another sunk cost. Time to walk away.

But this when we absolutely must strengthen our resolve. We need to put on our “big girl panties” and carry on. And, we need to find a way to separate ourselves from the negativity.

Here are some things to remember when you’re feeling the affects of the negative energy that inevitably will surface.

  • The toxic energy that surrounds you is not you.
  • Their negative interpretation of your actions is not you.
  • The rude, insensitive responses to something good is not a reason to stop — it is a reason to keep going.
  • You will never know the pain that they are enduring — and this means you must not let their pain be your pain.
  • Fortify your soul and refresh by taking a good, long break. Staying wrapped up in the negativity will eventually wear you down.
  • At times like these, take a long, hard look at the work you have done. Don’t let the single heckler in the crowd distract you from seeing the good you’ve been doing — The results of your work should always be louder than that single voice.

Showing up to do the work you are being called to do requires GRIT. And, in order to stay positive, work through the challenges and keep plugging away, you have to know where you’re going. This might be a great time to write it down. So that when the next wave of negativity comes, you can remember what you told yourself:

Here are my favorite quotes to help me through these days.