Archive for February 11th, 2012

Life and business lessons from a kitchen light and a barking dog

My husband and I live opposite schedules. I’m a lifelong night owl, frequently up (blogging) until somewhere between midnight and 2 a.m. He gets up at 4 to make it to his job across town by 5:30 a.m. Ships passing and all that stuff, which is just as well, because he does … ahem … snore.

So yesterday, he was in a hurry and left the kitchen light on as he went out the door. Among my many peccadilloes is the fact that I cannot sleep in anything less than almost utter darkness. Kitchen light? Un-uh! But … it was just two hours until my alarm was due to ring, and I wasn’t willing to get up and go all the way to the kitchen to turn off the darned light. Simple solution: close the bedroom door.

All was well and I was just drifting back to sleep, when suddenly I heard, “Scratch, scratch. Scratch, scratch, scratch,” at the door. Moondanz, my elderly Jack Russell terrier, wanted out. So I got out of bed, opened the door, shoved Moondanz through it, noticed the kitchen light still on, closed the door, and went back to bed. Ahhhh, welcome sleep.

Then it began, lightly and intermittently at first, but slowly growing louder and more continuous: Moondanz yipping because she wanted back inside the bedroom. And so it went for the next two hours. The simple solution would have been for me to get up and turn the light off in the first place. I decided against that, choosing instead to suffer through my stubbornness.

The situation got me to wondering how many times we all do similar things…

Years ago, I heard an audio recording by Eric Lofholm, an international sales trainer I admire. He told the story of being invited to speak at a weekend event, where he was promised forty-five minutes for his presentation. As the event wore on, the presenters found themselves wildly off-schedule, and Eric’s speaking time was curbed to just FIVE minutes. He had little notice of the change and was flummoxed. What message of import could he possibly deliver in just a handful of minutes?

And then it dawned on him. A very brief, four-word command: “Do what you know.”

In the case of the barking dog, I knew that turning the light off would solve the problem, but I didn’t do it. I dug in, buried my head under three pillows, and proceeded to toss and turn for two hours, costing myself some much-needed sleep. What about you? How often do you bury yourself in a problem that could be easily remedied if you just did what you know?

If you’re like most people, you probably do it more often than you realize … like when you:

  • Fail to return phone or e-mail messages promptly
  • Put off easy tasks for later
  • Waste time on video games or TV
  • Neglect to stop and jot down that brilliant idea or piece of dialogue because you’re sure you’ll remember it later
  • Leave your blog to wither from intermittent attention
  • Show up only sporadically on your social media sites
  • Allow important deadlines to slip past because you “forgot” about them
  • Tell yourself you’ll budget for marketing with your next check
  • Clean the carport, vacuum the den, or sort holey socks instead of writing

Here’s the thing – I’m not dumping on you to reprimand you or tell you you’re a screw-up. I’m simply reminding you of an important lesson I revisited myself just yesterday: Do What You Know.

I’ve been listening to the audio recording of Marc Allen’s The Millionaire Course seminar, and one thing he reassures his audience is that they don’t have to be driven, type-A personalities to achieve massive success. They have to have a clear vision of their ideal life which they constantly reaffirm … and I’m just guessing he thinks it goes without saying that they have to DO WHAT THEY KNOW.

Time to get busy doing you know what…



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