THE RIGHT NOTE
Saturday, August 6, 2022
Some things pay off.
And others don’t.
I don’t mean ‘which horses to bet on at the track,’ or maybe I do.
We bet on ourselves, do we not? Every day, we point our efforts, attitude and attention to tasks in one direction or another. Forget, for the moment, how many times each day or week we re-shuffle the deck between ‘most important’ and ‘most urgent in the moment’ work (lists, calls, emails, texts, reminders, etc., to say nothing of meetings, appointments, zoom calls, webinars) that interfere with our well-planned orderly calm day.
Interruptions, tech-issue derailments, and genuine emergencies are facts of life, but how they meld with our work/business/schedule du jour IS within our control.
For example, we can tune out the world – turn off devices, silence or turn off our phones, turn off our computers or minimize all the screens. If we want to, we can think, write, work, or play in complete isolation from the world. We can do it for an hour, a half-day, a whole day, or even a week. These are not mini-vacation moments, though there has to be some mental-health/stress benefit – not turning off the ‘mini-radio’ in our heads, but turning down the volume and trying not to listen to five stations at once.
So, what pays off?
Organization pays off.
For me, routine and scheduled tasks, following up and ‘taking next steps’ on many things have become a learned behaviour that has been essential to my daily functioning and ability to do good work for decades. Now, that takes on a different role – that of empowerment.
Only recently have I become aware that much of that was my brain finding ways that could work to keep me on task and path despite my ADHD. It was an ongoing work-around. Now that I’m conscious of this – with self-awareness of my situation and enjoying the success of my treatment, I now see these behaviours as ‘rules by which I live/function’ - not a closet full of crutches but rather the foundation of my one-man band of effectiveness.
Back to things paying off, it’s easy to get caught up in what I want to do, what works for me, and what leads to business and revenue for me – I think that’s a ubiquitous thing, but along the way (thanks to some great teachers), I’ve also practiced giving things away. Sure, I give away branded things (I’ve still got a half-box of branded ‘pickle jar openers’ under my desk, so if you want one, let me know).
I give away information through publications. But I give away other things too – often passing along information that might interest someone I know. Many times it’s something I see that I don’t understand, but I know it might engage someone I know, so I ‘forward’ to them.
And sometimes I say thank you to someone. I like hand-written notes I can mail, and I think those are appreciated too. The response is often a ‘thanks for the note,’ but more often, I get reactions that lead to fascinating discussions of value. Sometimes it’s a business development result, but more often, it seems we come away from those exchanges a little richer in some other way. It’s not about money, most assuredly, somehow it’s about adding value to each other’s lives.
Sending a thought or a note to someone – in whatever way you choose – might feel futile, like putting a message in a bottle, tossing it on the waves, or shipping it to outer space, never to be found by anyone …
But in my experience, taking time and expending effort pays off. Not always for someone else, but every time I do it, I feel I’ve done something valuable, and it feels good.
Not every day, but sometimes responses come in surprising ways from the least likely of sources, and like all surprises in life (channelling my Forest Gump here), you never know what you’re gonna get.