That Time of Year Again

Jim Hinshaw
Contributing Writer
Improvement Professional, President & Sales

Well, here we are, time for the holiday season.  Again.  Lots to think about: holiday cards, gifts, dinners, parties, all jammed up into the next few weeks.  And as you know, if you are one of my regular readers, I will ask you to make a difference this year in someone else’s life.

I do realize we are all busy.  May and I are in the midst of several things ourselves, but I still believe we need to think of others at this time of year.  Think of those who are lonely, have lost loved ones this last 12 months, gone thru a divorce or going thru a prolonged illness, the sort of life events that can wear you down.  Some of these events are consequences of bad choices, some are out of our control.  Really doesn’t matter how they got to this point, they are there, and the holiday season may not be a fun place to be.

It is possible for you to be the change agent for someone around you.  In your neighborhood, look for those who are not out much this time of year, maybe due to weather, or just not able to get around.  You may not have to look very far, some of your fellow employees may be in a depressed state with this time of year, things may not be going well in their lives.

Here are a couple of ideas for this season.  See what touches your heart.  First, one easy thing to do is to reach out to friends or family.  Couple be a note, I prefer a phone call.  My sister and brother-in-law will either call us or we call them every major holiday.  Just takes a few minutes, but it is a good thing to hear a loved one’s voice.  I like to call clients and business friends during the weeks before the holidays.  I know, dangerous thing to say, cause some of you will think: he’s never called me!  Uh, that phone works both ways.  Kidding, sorry if I missed you, it is just as people come to mind, not a list to check off.

Many contractors put a package together for folks in the marketplace who are having a hard time.  Hobaica Services and Chas Roberts, both in Arizona, have a package to give to those who are having tough times.  Each company selects families who are in need and have no AC, they then install a new system at no charge.  Norris Air (in Mesa, AZ) takes employees (who volunteer) to a “Feed My Starving Children” evening, where they pack meals to go to families in disaster areas all over the world.  They helped pack over 47,000 meals this last time.

I am aware that this message may get to you too late in the year to do anything this season, but here is my thought.  Set an action plan to do something next year, maybe not wait to year end.  Put a team together to work on a “give back program” to your community.

Since this is a magical time of year, make this a truly memorable season for you and your family.  Listen more, take time to really be engaged, share your thoughts on what this time of year means to you, and work on yourself some.  Spend some time reflecting on what happened this year, and how important it is not to take life for granted.  It moves fast, and the older I get, the faster it seems to move.  So set some personal goals: maybe improving health by scheduling a workout every few days, improve your financial picture (we cut out some of our TV programming on our cable box this year, may do more next year).  As Zig Zigler used to say, schedule time with yourself to work on you.  Read books or listen to podcasts on how to do life better.  Zig was one of the best at sales and life training, in his last days he wrote a book called “Embrace the Struggle: Living Life on Life’s Terms”, the story of his life after a fall down a flight of stairs in his Dallas home injured his brain.  He was a guy who talked for a living, he could not talk well at all.  He dictated the book sentence by sentence to his daughter, it is a poignant study on how we play the cards we are dealt, even when it does not seem fair.

I realize some of you are not business owners, you may be a technician, installer, office staff, parts runner, or part of the sales team.  Whatever your role, here is how to get a raise this year.  Do more than you did last year.  Sell more, service more, turn in more leads (that sell!), install more, move more paper work through the office, just do more.  Take on more responsibility.  The owner is waiting for someone to step up; tell them you have an idea on how to improve profits or sales, and you are willing to help put it together.

I do hope this season finds you and your family (and your business) doing well.  And as you reflect on the year past, that you are able to put together some ideas on how to raise the bar next year, to do even more, be healthier, have more quality time for you and family, improve your business or your job, and have a better you this next year.  Thanks for listening, we’ll talk later.

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