I sat in the hair chair enduring the salon small talk wondering how I can tactfully redirect the stylists gesturing hands back onto my head to get the task at hand done. The conversation soon shifted to the neighboring stylist (and owner of the salon) and her client.
The owner was complaining that she didn’t know this weekend was a major event in our town. and if she had known, she would have done a promotion to take advantage of the additional traffic that would be outside her door. “Why didn’t anyone tell us?”
I pretty much lose patience with that kind of attitude. It’s indicative of a bigger more prevailing philosophy that it isn’t your responsibility to stay informed and take matters into your own hands. Achieving success doesn’t come from watching your inbox for that email telling you what to do next; it obviously comes from taking an active approach and getting after what you want – like looking at the damn calendar of events to see when the parade is, so you can modify your operations accordingly. Not just in business, in personal life too.
It’s not that hard.
I share this because although we know, intrinsically, having a more positive outlook in life attracts more positive, it often just becomes meaningless words we find difficult to put into practice much like “if I eat less and exercise more, I’ll become thin.” Right. But I still eat that cupcake because it’s just too fun.
We know bad stuff starts heaping on top of bad stuff when we focus on it. I had a downright shitty day last week. And my first reaction started a downward spiral and more bad news came repeatedly over the next few hours to the point where I called “uncle” on the day, and flopped on the couch to catch up on my Scandal episodes. (Don’t judge me.)
Being “alert and available.”
I happened upon this interview with Bill Murray on 60 Minutes. When asked about the success he’s achieved in life and how it wasn’t very “master planned,” Bill said, “I like to remain alert and available.” and he wasn’t just talking about work. He meant for experiences. I love Bill Murray more and more.
I hate it when my plane is delayed, or technology fails me or when a client says they need to halt a project. I hate it when I skip a party the night before an early run so I’ll show up on time, only to have my running friend be an hour late. People who walk slow on the sidewalk and can’t find their seat on the airplane (row 15 is just after 14, ma’am.) make me insane.
I don’t like it when things don’t go as planned. But I try to look for something good in it all because I think a lot about the unspeakable monstrosities occurring in the world as I type this and while I can’t find a way to solve those problems, the least I can do is honor them by not letting something as small as the slow driver in the passing lane piss me off.
I stopped going to that salon. I’m sure others have made a similar decision. I’d just rather be around more important and interesting, and proactive conversations. Instead of heaping crap upon crap like I did to myself last week, I’d rather heap awesome upon awesome.
This approach of being alert and available? I like it. It means I become aware of my surroundings and open to opportunity. It means I attract the relationships that are good for me, and I don’t waste my time on the ones that aren’t. It begins a domino effect. It means when your flight is delayed and you get stuck overnight in Denver, perhaps you look up that old friend and see if she is available for a margarita rather than go to your room to mope and watch TV. It means if you didn’t win that piece of business you had your heart set on, you set about getting your next big win.
Yesterday, my stepsister lost her hard-fought battle with cancer. Although I live far away from them and didn’t have the chance to know her very well, she is family and I think about what she and her family have been through; a lot. My stepfather commented on a photo I had posted last week (the one at the top of this post). He said, “Enjoy everything about life every day.” Coming from someone who watched and supported his daughter through this, he should know.
I think I will.[ssba]