Life Editing: 2022

This New Year, I’m vowing to continue with some “Life Editing.” I’ve re-tooled my list from last year a bit with a goal of making room for even more good stuff !

A      Adverbs: Because life is short, isn’t it, Ernest ?

B      Babbling: Small talk is over-rated; quietude is better.

C      Cheap French Wine:  Où est le point ? Taste is the point !

D      Drama: Because no one wants to be around a drama queen !

E      Exaggerating: Less is more.

F      Following: Lead, instead.

G      Giving Up: Keep going, even when I think I can’t.

H      Hurrying: If I’m constantly hurrying through life, I may miss out on some of the good stuff !

I        Good Intentions: Don’t just plan, act !

J       Junk Food: It’s January. No explanation needed, right ?

K      Knickknacks: Curios, collectibles or clutter? Again, less is more !

L       Lonely: The ‘2021 Word of the Year’, right? Learn to enjoy time alone, which is so different than being lonely.

M      Moderation: If it’s worth doing, it’s worth going all-in, right ?

N      Nightclubs: Hmmm… what’re nightclubs ?

O      Overthinking: Again, life’s too short.

P      Perfectionism: It doesn’t really exist, so why bother ?

Q      Quitting: Success is partly about not giving up. (See ‘G’ above.)

R      Retirement: Research shows that those who continue to engage in meaningful work enjoy longer, healthier lives.

S      I’m Stumped: Can’t think of a single “S” word worth giving up. You ?

T       Television: Except for PBS, of course.

U      Utopian Ideas: See ‘P’ above.

V      Very: My least favorite adverb. (See ‘A’ above.)

W      Worrying: Why bother ? Be happy !

X      :-x: Emoticons have never been my thing !

Y       Yes: Instead, learn to say “No” at least once a week.

Z       Zoom: Need I say more ?

What would you add to this list ?

Quality Over Quantity

LessIsMore.jpg

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Choose quality over quantity.” It’s often used in a consumer-oriented context, i.e., if we buy a few high-quality items (shoes, bathroom towels or furniture), those items will last longer and bring us more satisfaction than if we purchase a greater quantity of lower-quality goods. In fact, I can hear my dad’s voice, saying, “Less is more” and I still believe him.

Yet, “quality over quantity” also applies to how we work, how we play and how we practice.

On the work front, as a business owner, I definitely subscribe to the business model of “Less is more.” That is, I am happier (and more successful) working with a fewer number of clients at any given time. Rather than saying, “yes” to every client and project that comes along, I’ve learned to be selective, allowing myself the time to really get to know my clients and their needs. And, since I’m not overcommitted, I’m able to provide them a higher quality of service.

I can parlay this to my social life, as well. By choosing my friends carefully, I can pretty much assure that my leisure time is spent wisely. A few smart, interesting friends who challenge me and make me better are all I need.

As a marketing consultant, I have worked with business owners in a wide variety of industries. Typically, I encourage companies to limit their service offerings.

Whether on your website or in your sales pitch, instead of listing every single service you can possibly provide, my recommendation is to focus. Focus on a few key products or services that represent your core. Focus on the offerings that you do best and that you enjoy doing. Not only will you deliver at a higher quality, you’ll make the buying process easier for your prospects.

In today’s highly competitive world, less is definitely more.

by Rebecca Cochran

Walking (and Working) Backwards

Did you ever try walking backwards? I did the other day. Well, not actually walking backwards…Backwards

I take a walk daily. I’ve been doing so since I was a little girl. It feels so good, so natural and it’s such a simple way to exercise my body and my mind.

The other day, on a whim, I decided to start at the end of my usual route and walk from there to where I usually begin my walk. I know…that wasn’t exactly rocket science, but it was interesting to take in everything in reverse, to see the “backs” of things: trees, buildings, signs, everything.

As I “reverse-walked,” I couldn’t help but see things differently. I spied a hidden garden that I’d never noticed before. I saw sunlight glistening on a building, giving it a dazzling glow that I’d been missing all those years I’d been approaching from the opposite direction. And, I couldn’t help thinking that I should walk backwards more often, literally and figuratively.

What might I be missing each time I start a project at “the beginning”? Could I achieve a better result if I started somewhere in “the middle” or, even, at “the end”?

Could I be a better problem solver if I consciously worked backwards? By clearly defining what the end result should be, could I reverse-engineer the steps needed to reach that goal?

Certainly, as a musician, I recall teachers suggesting that the best way to learn a piece of music is to “learn it backwards.” In other words, start from the final measure, then append and learn a few prior measures, little by little, until you find your way back to the beginning. This works particularly well when memorizing anything.

Might I be more creative if I consciously “work backwards” more often? It’s incredibly easy to fall into the habit of sticking to a system, especially when that system has been working well for a long time. If I reverse my creative process, might my results be, dare I say it, more creative?

The simple exercise of taking my walk from “back to front” has reminded me that there is more than one way to approach a problem, reach a goal or generate a new idea.

I need to practice walking backwards more often.

What analogies can you add to this list?

by Rebecca Cochran