What I Did on My Summer Vacation: Reflections on Life’s Truths from the Woods

August 18, 2009 at 10:05 pm Leave a comment

Beth Vanni

Beth Vanni

Spending 10 days in the woods of the Northeast totally unplugged with my family this past week forced a couple of epiphanies.  Yes, these will sound a bit cliché and simplistic.  But stillness and time (enhanced by pouring rain and relative wilderness) helped me observe first-hand some universal truths for living —  both personally and professionally.   At the end of the day, the IT business, like any business is about how people create relationships and trust with other people.  See if any of these reflections resonate with your values for managing your business and your customer and partner relationships….

  • There is truly an art in listening.  The quieter you are, the more you’ll hear.  Whether it’s the rustling of wind in the trees, the beating of rain on the roof of a tent or the frustrations and goals of an important customer.
  • Different perspectives are important.   In any given situation, two different people can view the good/bad totally differently.  Be careful how to share your reactions.  You might negate others’ experiences.  Worse off, you might limit your own.
  • You can do nothing to stop the rain.    When natural forces are at work, your job is to respond smartly and gracefully.   When you are fearful or complaining you’re wasting energy and losing momentum.  Today’s economy and customer uncertainty is a given –  don’t fight it.  Redirect and differentiate around it.
  • Don’t underestimate the value of adversity. Your ability to be ingenious is directly proportional to the challenges put before you (and your business).   Adversity brings out your most resourcefulness and cleverness.  It also engenders leadership.   Both in you and (more importantly) in your staff.
  • Treat people like family. When you treat people like family, they usually act that way. Cast your net wide and include others in your vision and passion.  Ask them to participate and take a role.  You’ll be surprised in their desire to contribute.
  • Take life down to the basics. You can always live or operate more thriftily, more economically.  Decide what resources you have or need that are truly essential.  Free yourself of those that are simply distractions or for-show.    This can apply to both relationships and physical assets.
  • Contrasts help us fine-tune our judgment. Opposites help us refine our attitudes and gratitude.   A horrible thunderstorm followed by a blazing sunny day gives you a new appreciation for the warmth.  A bad loss on a deal makes you work that much harder for the next one.  A couple of bad financial quarters makes you thankful for the hard work and success of a strong quarter.
  • No one likes a whiner. No matter how difficult things are, no one wants to be around (let alone help) someone who bemoans their problems constantly.  Winners find solutions.  Whiners find problems.   This truth is independent of age, walk of life or profession.   Today’s economic climate thins the herd – leaders and businesses that whine versus those that adapt and win.


Entry filed under: Industry Perspective. Tags: , , , .

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