Proper Tipping

Some time ago, I read a short story about the origin of the word “tip”.  According to the story, the word was originally an acronym, which stood for “To Insure Promptness”.

According to snopes, that’s a big false.

Regardless of where and why we started tipping, it’s common practice today.

Hungry Bob goes to restaurant.  Bob asks for food from server.  Server brings Bob food.  Bob eats food.  Bob pays restaurant for food.  Bob pays server for bringing him food.

Everyone’s familiar with that process.

What you may not be familiar with, however, is tipping outside that scenario.

What about a business that tips its customers?  Or an employee who tips her coworkers?

Tipping doesn’t have to be monetary.  It’s just another way to say,

“I appreciate you”

If your business needs more customers, then start by giving.  Tip them by giving them more than what they paid for.  And not just a little bit.  Adding $1 of value to a $100 order is akin to tipping your waitress in pocket change.  It’s an opportunity to build connection, to bring your customers close.  Take advantage of that opportunity, and give them value.

Also, don’t make it irrelevant, or worse, counter-productive.  If your customers are paying you for a nutrition supplement, don’t tip them by giving $10 in McDonald’s coupons.  That’s obvious, but what will require some thought on your part is identifying the object you can give them that will wow them.

Employees, start tipping your bosses and your coworkers.  Definitely avoid giving money.  If your boss wants you to sweep the floor, then sweep the floor and empty the trash.

One more thing – you may do this for longer than you’d like, with no clear return on your investment (of time or effort).  Avoid doing any of this with the expectation of such a return.  Do this with only the expectation that you can add value to someone else’s life.

And they will tip back.



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The Business Sponge

Today I introduce you to The Business Sponge.

The Business Sponge is a metaphor for your business, your job, or any money-making project or idea you have.

When you squeeze it (work on your business or in your job), money falls out of the bottom of the sponge.  You can fill it up by adding “content” from the top.

One way to use it is to squeeze really really hard.  And you will get the money that falls from the bottom.

The other, better way, is to add so much content into the top that the sponge becomes saturated, and the money oozes out of the bottom.

If you’re tired at work, frustrated with slow progress, or you just can’t seem to make enough money, then you’re squeezing too hard.

Try adding more content, loosen your grip, and let The Business Sponge become saturated.  The money will fall, just focus on your content.



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Crash Diets and Good Habits

Sometimes I get ideas for Bobservations from other blogs.  A recent post from Seth Godin, however, was so relevant to my topic that I’m re-posting it in its entirety.  I added the picture.  Enjoy.

Crash Diets and Good Habits

Crash diets don’t work.

They don’t work for losing weight, they don’t work for making sales quota and they don’t work for getting and keeping a job.

The reason they don’t work has nothing to do with what’s on the list of things to be done (or consumed). No, the reason they don’t work is that they don’t change habits, and habits are where our lives and careers and bodies are made.

If you want to get in shape, don’t sign up for fancy diet this or Crossthat the other thing. No, the way to get in shape is to go to the gym every single day, change your clothes and take a shower. If you can do that every single day for a month, pretty soon you’ll start doing something while you’re there…

If you want to make sales quota, get in the habit of making more sales calls, learning more about your market and generally showing up. If you show up, with right intent, you’ll start making sales. The secret isn’t a great new pitch or a new pair of shoes. The secret is showing up.

Your audacious life goals are fabulous. We’re proud of you for having them. But it’s possible that those goals are designed to distract you from the thing that’s really frightening you–the shift in daily habits that would mean a re-invention of how you see yourself.

Organizations can always benefit from better habits. Every day. Do that first.



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Your Life Purpose

I sometimes think of my life purpose as a Google search result.

I input the question “why am I here?”, and I expect the number one result to be my true calling.

Other times, I think of my life is more akin to StumbleUpon.com.

If you don’t get that reference, start an account, add 10 of your interests, and start stumbling.



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Wasted Art

I am hosting a design contest for the logo design of my next website, SpreadsheetDojo.com.

In the contest, I received 60 entries for possible logos.  I eliminated the ones I didn’t like, and requested that designers make changes to the logos which were close to my vision.

I received a reply from a designer to one logo which I thought was too serious for my website.  It read:

I wish I wouldn’t have wasted my ninja on this.  I saw the other entries.  At least my ninja has style and not just an ink blot.  I thought this site was about art but I was wrong – it’s about something I don’t grasp.  I’m an artist and designer, and have wasted another piece of my art.  I hope you find your Dojo.

We all create art daily.  Some is drawn with paint on canvas, or digitally created with Photoshop.  Some art is composed in the form of a piece of music.

Other art is much less traditional.  My spreadsheets are my art.  A salesman may have a particular sales pitch which he considers to be his art.  Teachers, no doubt, apply their art to help their students understand new concepts.

Your art must be shared with the world.  Keeping your art to yourself robs the person who badly needs it of the benefits it can produce.

What good is a moving, inspirational speech if it’s never given?

So share your art.  Give it away constantly.  Or sell it.

If you’re creating art as a reflection of yourself, ignore outside opinions.  If you’re creating art to earn money, ignore your own opinions.

The holy grail of art happiness is finding a way to mix those two models.



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Slow is Fast

Slow is Fast

Last night, I went with some friends to see the Mini Outlaw races at Millbridge Speedway in Salisbury, NC.

My friend John is an expert with all things racing.  He’s worked on championship pit crews, designed and built race engines, and completely understands this world.

I know this – I like things that make loud noises and go fast.  It was a good trip.

John explained to the rest of us how this specific type of dirt-track racing works.  It’s not quite like NASCAR or Formula 1 racing.  The cars are light, and drive on an oval track.  That means they are very prone to slide outward, and hit the wall.  Because of that, the drivers who win balance their speed with the need to stay on track.  Or, as John explained,

“Slow is fast”

The tendency to go sliding out of control is way more disastrous than easing off the gas a bit.  So the winners perfect that balance, and pace themselves to victory.

I know this isn’t the first time you’ve heard this concept.  It’s been said for hundreds of years.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Sound familiar?

The problem is we convince ourselves somewhere along the way that fast and intense wins the race.

But instead of winning the race, we find ourselves careening out of control.  Into a wall.

Why do we do that?  Because we have this fear that if we aren’t pushing ourselves to the limit, then we are doomed to be forever _____. (fat, poor, ugly, slow, etc.)

Nine times out of ten, though, we fail because we drain ourselves and quit.  NOT because our consistent efforts aren’t enough.

Back to the race.  John went on to explain how the drivers adjust mid-race.  He said,

“As the track gets tackier (more grip), the drivers can increase their speed”

Now apply that to your habits.

As you develop “grip” in your life, only then should you increase the intensity.

What does grip look like?  It’s when you go on vacation and still exercise.  It’s when you choose no soda because you want to, not because you’re depriving yourself.  Or running even when it’s not the absolute perfect conditions… not because you are disciplining yourself… but because you enjoy the activity.

Once you feel your actions are driven by desire and not discipline, then and only then should you increase your speed.

Drivers, start your engines.  And remember…

SLOW IS FAST!



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Hard Work is Hard

I have a passion for efficiency.

Automated processes, concise information, and streamlined plans.  Those are a few of my favorite things.

Having such an interest is great, because it usually means I learn new things quickly, and I’m able to do much more than most schedules would allow.

There’s a problem with always being efficient, however.  It prevents me from getting deep skill (or knowledge) in any one area.  And depth is what people value.

Jack of all trades, master of none.  Heard that phrase before?  That’s the symptom of putting efficiency before depth.

Olympic athletes are not rewarded for being good at a diversity of sports.  They’re rewarded for being the best in the world, at one event.

Companies don’t succeed by serving every conceivable market and developing completely unrelated products.  They thrive on developing the best products and serving one market better than any other company can.

Instead of jumping from one shiny new venture to another (I’ve been guilty of this), find the one project / business / calling that you can give yourself to.  Then give everything you have to it.  For the long term.

To be the best.

 

Here’s a tip on how to do it:

Stop focusing on results.

Focus, instead, on your efforts.  On your practice.  Put your entire drive behind practicing your craft, and stop looking for the shortcut.  You may waste some efforts, but in truth, those efforts are really just more practice.  Additional lessons learned.  Improved skill for you.  In other words – wasted efforts are never wasted.

Live for the hard work, and you will attract success instead of continuing to chase it.  Besides, the destination will be that much sweeter if you’ve come to life for the journey.

Or, said by someone who’s been there:

I hated every minute of training, but I said, “Don’t quit.  Suffer now and live the rest of your life like a champion.”

Muhammad Ali



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Presidential Help For You

Living in North Carolina, a state which has a similar number of Democrats and Republicans, I get to see my fair share of presidential campaign commercials.

The general theme for all those commercials is “I’m better than the other guy.”

At the same time, I’ve seen and heard pleas from citizens on both sides.

“President Obama, please fix the nation.  You’re our only hope!”

…or…

“We need a change – someone who can get us back on track!”

There’s a big problem with that thinking.  It takes the responsibility of creating a better life out of the people’s hands and puts it in one person’s hands.

When we rely on the president to improve our lives, we are also saying that we are not in charge.

The president can help you.  The problem is, however, that any help coming from a single individual will be diluted over the rest of the population.  In other words, if the president spends every minute helping the US citizens this year, each person will receive just one second of badly needed help.

How much can you be helped in a second?

That’s assuming the president doesn’t spend time eating or sleeping.  I hope for his sake and ours, he gets adequate time  for both.

You, on the other hand, after accounting for 3 meals and 8 hours of nightly sleep, have just under 20 million seconds each year.

You are 20 million times as capable as the president to improve your own life.

To fix your financial picture, shape your body, and discover your purpose for being.

To get over past pain.  Support a cause.

To reconnect.

 

To find happiness.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

~Mahatma Gandhi



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Gamers Make the Best Athletes

Gamers (as in video gamers) are probably not the first group of people that come to mind when you think of the type to be great athletes.

They are typically analytical, logical, can do the same activity for several hours, and can focus on long term results.

The difference between (most) gamers and (most) athletes are their needs for constant positive feedback on their efforts.  …huh?

Think Super Mario Bros.  The old Nintendo game.  Each time you catch a coin, break a brick, or jump on a turtle, you get a small positive reward for your efforts.  Less frequent mushrooms and stars give you bigger rewards.  It’s constant positive reinforcement that you’re doing it right.

Contrast that with sports.  When you first learn a sport, your skill gains so quickly that you can actually feel yourself getting better.  That’s positive feedback.  Coaches, teammates, and fans cheering you on are other forms of that feedback.  However – the frequency is much lower.  You’re apt to get a handful of pats on the back during a 3 hour baseball game.  Even the pitcher, involved in every play, probably only hears or feels affirmation 50 times in a game.

Remember the video games – that number over 3 hours would be close to 18,000 “cheers”.

OK, back to the point of this story.

I have a feeling (and that feeling is supported by recent games developed) that we’re going to see a lot more video game / sport hybrids.  I’m not talking Wii Bowling.  I’m talking about Zombies, Run!

I just downloaded that app, and got to listen to a military-style radio operator telling me where to run, over my own playlist of music, all while picking up first aid supplies, and increasing my speed as I heard the zombies breathing down my neck.

Just another fun night of playing video games.  While running at a 6:30 pace.



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Are You For Me or Against Me?

Are your actions driven by your want to pursue something or avoid it?

Activists, politicians, and fearful citizens fight against things they don’t like.

Heroes, leaders, and champions fight for a cause.

Make sure you’re going toward something, and not away from its opposite.



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