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    Is Running A Business Like Bathing A Cat?

    Obviously enjoying the experience

    Obviously enjoying the experience

    An important business lesson can be gleaned from the correlation between running a business and bathing a cat.

    A Twitter friend, @alohabruce, recently tweeted that he was going to give their cat a bath. I immediately conjured up images of him donning armor as if preparing for battle with the wife close behind with a 2′ fishing net. I saw a wet figure with shredded gloves and sweat on the brow.

    The next day I inquired how it went. He said the cat loves bathing and they both enjoy what amounts to a precious bonding experience. Hmmm, I still have my doubts but I can see the possibility in my mind now. It dawned on me that many people perceive running a business the same way I did bathing a cat.

    I used to believe that everything fell on a side—right or wrong, good or bad, easy or hard. It took me a long time to realize that our perception creates our realities. It’s why two people can look at the very same situation and see two completely different things.

    My point is—perception is powerful. Don’t let your perceptions undermine your success.

    As we grapple through a challenging recession and try to redefine ourselves many people are starting new businesses. Others are playing the “who will survive” game with existing businesses.  Here are five ways to stay on the winning side of perceptions:

    Address your doubts

    Do you wonder if your business idea is good enough to warrant the risk of starting or expanding a business? Talk to business people, potential clients and, for that matter, complete strangers. Ask what they think about your idea.  Would they use it? Do they need it? What would they pay for it? You get the idea.

    You may still wake in the middle of the night wondering. The key is to move the scale to a favorable point in your mind. If you can’t move it there, don’t fight it—move on. I’ve discarded tons of ideas that I initially perceived to be brilliant.

    Know it’s better to be smart than right

    Research your ideas and the industry. When you’re done, research it more. The more you know the less you have to fear. You’re also less likely to base your decisions on your perceptions alone.

    Don’t wait, do something

    Friends and associates have heard me say far too many times—“I had that idea! If only…” These are not ideas that ended up in the discard pile mind you. These, I’m sorry to say, can be found in the, Vicki took no action, pile.

    They were perceived as too expensive to pursue or too far out of my realm of knowledge and ability. Tsk on me! I let perception get in the way of letting me make an informed decision.

    Filter information

    Although I previously told you to field your idea to lots of folks, you have to sift through their thoughts and see how they mesh with yours. How many times have you heard someone say—“If it were a good idea, someone would’ve done it already”?

    Just imagine how many great inventions would have never come to fruition if the inventors listened only to the naysayers and let their perceptions become their own.

    Broaden your experiences and viewpoints

    It’s said that you don’t know someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. This old American proverb needn’t be taken literally but it makes a valid point. Keep in mind potential clients come from a variety of experiences. Never assume you know what they need or want.

    Make a practice of stepping out of your comfort zone. Strive to experience life from many points of view. Before you know it, the boundaries of your perceptions will grow exponentially.

    If you’re not following me on Twitter, chalk it up to a new experience and start following me @vickidar. I’ll be watching for you. Let me know you found me here!

    Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. ~ T.S. Eliot


    3 Responses

    1. Very interesting post, Avalon the cat you speak of), my BFF has taught me a lot about “perception” actually because he has never fit the sterotrype. Not many cats actually love water, he does- plays in it everyday, cats are supposed to have nine lives, he’s had 20, most cats when they get old become lethargic (I have had several), he plays like a kitten, I could go on and on, thanks Viki for reminding me to look for the little things that mean so much in the bigger picture


    2. You always have the most entertaining and informative articles.

      In your article you mention the saying about “walking a mile in others shoes”.

      Perhaps it can be said this way as well….

      “Never criticize anyone until you have walked a mile in their shoes.

      But, if they do get mad, just remember…

      you are a mile away and you have their shoes:)”

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