First we had the tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon and subsequent events that killed 4 people, injured hundreds, and altered thousands of lives. A few days later, the explosion at a fertilizer plant killed 12 people (most of them first responders) and again injuring and affecting hundreds. Throw in a couple of earthquakes outside the United States and it was a crisis filled and emotional week.
One thing is absolutely certain, however, and it was proven again this week. We are a resilient people. We care, we sacrifice, we take care of each other. Hundreds of marathon runners kept running past the finish line to donate blood; bystanders put themselves in harm’s way to aid injured people; and as Boston showed, a city completely shut down in an effort to protect its people and seek justice. Regardless of who we are, where we come from, our political point of view, or our age, we are resilient and know what to do in the face of crisis. We band together for the greater good, lick our wounds, care for those who have lost, and keep moving forward.
One final thought. My great-grandfather was a police officer in Seattle in the early 1900’s. He was killed on the Seattle streets in the line of duty (and eventually had a street named after him). We saw in Boston and in Waco that law enforcement, fire fighters, medical staff, and other professionals who are first responders put their lives on the line every day for our protection and safety. Thanks to all of you who bravely put your life on the line for us…
Last week, I spent 4 days in Boston. It is now one of my new favorite cities. Great city to walk, the food was awesome, the weather was perfect. And, the reasons I went turned out to be great. It seems whenever I go somewhere, especially new, I pick up some lessons for my business and life. Boston was no different. I’m happy to share them with you.
The reason for my trip was to meet with my Mastermind group created out of Alan Weiss’s consulting community. Alan was personally meeting with us for a day. My colleagues are from all over North America and are world-class consultants in their own rights.
Lesson #1 – You have to be present. By present, I mean face to face. Technology is a wonderful thing, however nothing beats personal interaction. Out of the group of six (including me), I had never met three of them in person. We had spoken by conference call, emailed, and dialoged on an online forum. But, we’d never met in person. The opportunity to meet in person before our session with Alan, to have dinner together, to relax, and to have fun, was simply priceless. It made the next day more meaningful and valuable, and it will make the rest of our journey together more rewarding.
When was the last time you dropped in to see your clients face to face?
Lesson #2 – Be flexible and creative. For as much as I believe in Lesson #1, things do happen. One of our group, who lives on the West Coast, injured her back the day before she was set to leave. There was no way she could do a 5+ hour flight with a bad back. But, instead of having her miss what was a very important session, we were able to Skype her in for the entire day-long meeting. She could see us all, ask questions, and felt part of the group. Even when my iPad flipped her over, it didn’t hurt!
Find a way to leverage your resources to be inclusive, save time, and provide value in a real-time manner.
Lesson #3 – Mix business with pleasure. I knew this already, but it was cemented here. My college-age daughters go to school in Pittsburgh, so I invited them to join me. They came early and we enjoyed some great meals, a trip to Fenway Park, and even included them with my colleagues for dinner. They were a big hit with my friends, and they enjoyed being part of my “business” life, too. In addition, after they left, I stayed an extra half day to walk the city, explore the history, and enjoy the vitality of Boston. I spent almost 3 hours walking with my History Channel app guiding me to historical spots.
When business takes you someplace new and interesting, find a way to arrive early, or stay late to enjoy where you are. When was the last time you did that?
Lesson #4 – You can’t be brilliant by yourself. Again, not a new concept, but sometimes you need to be reminded. Each one of us throughout the course of our daylong meeting, found several different ways to enhance our practice, provide more value, and improve our lives. These all came from a suggestion or comment from someone else. We often can get sucked into a myopic gaze, where we end up being our worst enemy when it comes to innovation and creativity in our own business. Having regular contact with a mentor, coach, or support group is critical to new idea generation and success.
Where do you go for help? Do you have a mentor, coach, or group to help you be brilliant?
Lesson #5 – When you’re in Boston, swing by Sonsie on Newbury and buy the Butternut Squash Pizza. You won’t be sorry. I know this is more of a tip than a lesson, but you just gained a little slice of food value. Go with it!
Do you take time to slow down and enjoy where you are in the moment? Sitting by myself, eating lunch, and enjoying the world go by was refreshing> When was the last time you rewarded yourself?
I’m really bummed about it. Not because I am so materialistic that I mourn a pair of sunglasses. These were really nice Oakley glasses given to me as a Christmas present by my daughter, Kelli last year. She had worked at a high end sunglasses store and was proud to have bought them for me. I normally purchased cheaper pairs because I tend to lose or break them. She wanted to move me up the scale…
When I called the girls to see if by any chance they had packed them on our trip, I realized that they were gone. I apologized to Kelli because she had spent so much money (for her) on them. Her response was classic. She said, “That’s okay. It was a good run.” A good run! It wasn’t even 9 months! But in her perspective, I got great pleasure from, and deeply valued the glasses. Mostly, because they were from her.
It was a good run. Be happy. How often do bad things happen to us and we allow them to linger? How much better would our attitude and lives be if when faced with disappointment, we simply say, “Well, it was a good run,” and move on? Regret and disappointment can mask talent and waste time. If allowed to go unfettered, then we ban get into ruts that last too long and deprive us of opportunity. The next time you find that you have to overcome some calamity, take a cue from Kelli and simply say…
“Well, it was a good run,” and get on with your life.
This week’s quote – “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
Terrific way to end the trip. I watched my Seahawks play Green Bay on Monday Night Football at a sports bar next to the Harvard Club. We met up with my daughters’ classmate, and a former basketball player of mine. She went to college in Boston and found a job here. It was great to catch up with her to watch our hometown team. We went back to the hotel at the start of the 4th quarter and watched one of the most improbable, crazy endings I’ve seen in over 40 years of watching football. The Seahawks won on a play that was improperly called…on national television on the biggest stage! Believe me, this stuff usually happens to the Seahawks, not in favor of them!
The girls left early this morning to get back in time for classes. I got up a few hours later and headed out for a walking tour of Boston. From 8:30 to 11:15, I walked Boston. I am an avid walker, but even I was pooped! I got back, packed up, and went to a great lunch and out to the airport.
The only downer is that I am leaving my sunglasses here. Somehow I managed to lose them. Not that I’m usually hung up on sunglasses, but my daughter bought me Oakley sunglasses for Christmas and they were perfect. Who knows, maybe they will show up. I know the girls took my hairbrush with them today…turned into a hat day! Other than that, an incredibly enjoyable trip.
I’m anxious to get home and see Barb. I miss not being able to always take her with me. She took one for the team by staying home with Mom. She’s awesome.
Thanks for following. Starting tomorrow, we will return to our regularly scheduled blogs!
Boston is quickly becoming a new favorite city for me.
Yesterday, the girls and I went to Fenway Park and watched the Red Sox win 2-1 over Baltimore. The game came down to the last batter being struck out with the bases loaded. Perfect weather, competitive game, hanging out with my daughters… With apologies to MasterCard, this was priceless.
After the game, we met with my colleagues from Alan Weiss’s consulting community. We all went out to dinner at a terrific Italian restaurant downtown near the Boston Garden. Afterwards, three of us found a cool, underground cigar bar and shared a cigar and scotch together. We then caught up with the others and ate dessert from Mike’s Pastries. This is a new group that has been formed within Alan’s community, and the chance to build relationships by eating and having fun together is, well, also priceless. It was a real treat to include my adult daughters in the evening.
Today was our day with Alan. We discussed a myriad of strategy and tactics related to our consulting careers. The best way to improve and grow is to learn from your peers. It was a value laden day. The girls spent the day touring Boston. I am a little jealous, but plan to do some catch up tomorrow!
Tonight, we watch the Seahawks play on Monday Night Football. A real treat to watch our home town team play on a national stage from the other side of the country. We are meeting one of my daughter’s classmates, who I also coached in basketball in high school. She went to college here, and is now working in this great city.
Full day, with more fun ahead. Stay tuned to tomorrow for more!
Our first day in Boston was fabulous. I met the girls at the Midway airport in Chicago and we flew into Beantown together. The weather is perfect…70 degrees, blue skies, and a perfect Fall day in New England (yesterday, today, and the rest of the days).
The Harvard Club is perfect. Great old building that has wonderful ambiance, rooms, and location. We are a 12 minute walk to Fenway Park.
We found a cool restaurant in the trendy part of town near the Harvard Club. The name is Sonnies and it was featured by Giada DeLaurentis in one of her shows. We has a great meal together and then came back to the club to watch the Notre Dame – Michigan game. I have to admit the 2:30 AM start time for me got me tired!
Today, we are off to Mass, Starbucks, and Fenway Park to watch the Red Sox and Orioles. God, coffee, and baseball. Now that’s a good day! Dinner with my colleagues tonight prior to our meeting tomorrow and maybe closing out with a little Sunday night football. I do miss my wife, Barb. I wish she could be here enjoying the time with us. I do love Skype so we can still talk!
Time to head to Mass. More later on my Boston journal. I hope you will check in and see our adventures!
P.S. – I did learn that in these really old New England buildings, it takes FOREVER for the hot water to come up 4 stories!