Keep Smiling

Root canal.

What visions do those words bring to mind? Pain. Inconvenience. Terror.

I just returned from my twice yearly dental cleaning. When the hygienist asked, “Are you having any discomfort,” and I responded, “Yes, the second tooth from the back on the bottom is really sensitive to cold,” she looked in my mouth and replied, “I can see why, you have three cracks in that tooth.” After she finished cleaning and polishing the other 23, my longtime dentist came in, peered through his über-magnifying glasses, and said, “Well, David, looks like I need to refer you to an endodontist.”

This will be my fifth root canal in the past 24 years. That’s plenty for anyone in a lifetime, yes?

The first one came when I broke my two front teeth in a fall. (Trust me, it wasn’t as painful as it sounds and you wouldn’t know the replacements aren’t real.) The next two – as with this one – were the result of teeth dying. Other than the discomfort from the deadening process, having a root canal is more or less a non-event. Except for the two-weeks of antibiotics to knock out the infection. Except for having to reschedule clients. Except for the anxiety that comes with sitting in that chair under the bright light.

Exceptions. That’s really what success in business is all about when you think about it. You’ve got the regular stuff figured out. That’s being a professional. It’s the things that pop up you’re not expecting that take time, get in the way and distract you. Of course, you wouldn’t be successful, if you didn’t know how to navigate speed bumps and turn detours into opportunities for learning, growth and new direction.

So the next time something appears that steals your focus, take a deep breath, consider your options and complete the steps necessary to get back on track. You’ve been there before and everything worked out. This is just another chance for a crowning improvement.


Reading Rainbow

Driving home today from one of my ‘downtown clients’, I saw a rainbow in the sky.

Most folks spend so much time searching for pots of gold (read: strategic initiatives, financial results, new products, higher compensation, more customers, nicer cars) that we forget to enjoy rainbows.

They’re quite beautiful, of course… and made famous one ROY G BIV. (I learned that acronym in college and still remember those colors of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.)

Rainbows are here one moment. Gone the next.

Increased earnings, bigger houses and acquiring a competitor… those last a lot longer.

They are important.

Rainbows are beautiful.

Life is better with both.

Seen a rainbow in the sky lately… or were you too busy to notice?


Future Shock

My wife and I recently had a discussion about what the younger generation will do in, say 2030, when they look back and realize all the moments of their lives are forever captured by YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and whatever arises as the next can’t-keep-away-from-it-must-update technologies du jour. (We also spoke about their ultimate realization of ‘Why did I ever get these tattoos?’ – but that’s another story.)

I’ve decided, however, we’re being unfair to the youth of today – what with adults already setting such embarrassing examples. Take Rick Sanchez who was fired by CNN on October 1st for inappropriate comments about his bosses at CNN and Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart. Sanchez violated the first rule my mother taught me in high school: “In everything you do, act like there is a camera on your shoulder for all the world to see it.” (Keep in mind that was 35 years ago.) How a professional journalist could allow himself to speak such controversial things is mindboggling. Those few sentences Sanchez said on satellite radio will follow him forever.

An episode of ABC’s Modern Family addressed this topic just two weeks ago when Claire Dunphy confessed to her daughter that she wasn’t as pure and wholesome a teenager as she tried to make her children think. Regardless of whether you’re in high school, college or already in the working world, keep in mind what you say and do is subject to someone else discovering it. There are no secrets anymore. Think about that before you post something that might not reflect positively on you down the road.