Up Yours

This is an example of an article written by Jim Feldman for a publication or newsletter. Jim is an author, keynote speaker and consultant who writes and speaks about Change Management, Customer Service and Innovative Problem Solving. Contact us about using Jim as an author, interview or speaker at 312-527-9111.

It is the end of the year, a time to review and reflect. And to rededicate ourselves to taking charge of our lives.

When I was 40, I was omnipotent. When I was 50, declining health, the loss of both parents and other family members humbled me. My business associates tried to take over my clients by starting their own competing business using my resources. My health issues were life threatening. I found myself fighting everyone including myself. I almost lost it all.

Today, ten years later I have regained control. My health stats are those of a 40-year old. I have turned back the clock. I feel great, and if I have to say it myself, I look great. So how did I do it?

While watching a DVD of the movie Network, I once again heard the Howard Beale character say, “I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore.” This time, though, it resonated differently. That was my personal shift. I realized that there was no one who was going to take care of Jim, except Jim. After months of anxiety and personal anarchy I took a deep breath and said, I am taking control back.

A decade later, I have lost over 40% of my body weight, I exercise daily, I eat properly and I regained lost self-esteem. Now I use December to have all of my medical exams, from dental to eye to physical. I take time to reflect on the past year and make attainable plans for the first quarter of the New Year. Why only one quarter? Because Shift Happens!

Up Yours. I have found that no matter how I plan, it changes. I now focus on results and not “wishes.” I reduce inventory. I clean the office. I empty the files and evaluate each client for potential. I rate them “A”, “B” or “C”. “A” clients are those that value my services and are willing to pay for my wisdom. “B” clients are those with whom I have relationships that show promise of them becoming “A” clients.

And the “C” clients? Bye-bye! They show no hope of becoming a “B” client. They take my time. They waste my resources. They do not allow us to make a reasonable profit.

I needed an icon, something to remind me of the pain that “C” clients caused. I needed a way to focus on the reality that these were really diversions disguised as business opportunities. Then one day my calendar reminded me that I had a procedure scheduled. It became the reminder of what I needed to do…to purge…to examine…to evacuate…and get a clearer understanding of the future.

Perhaps this procedure can be an example that will both make you smile and help you understand the process. Those of you over 50 probably know what I’m talking about, since most doctors recommend it – a colonoscopy – once you reach that age. The colon is full of turns and bends, making it difficult to examine. So a long, flexible instrument connected to a video camera is inserted and pushed through.

Preparing for the exam makes it even worse. At the time of my colonoscopy, “GoLytely” was the only choice for cleansing the colon, and it made the process even more difficult. Those of you who have had the procedure likely will agree that “GoLytely” liquid is the most vile tasting and smelling product created. And you need to take a full gallon.

Can there be a more demeaning process? Well, it is the same in business. You must go where no one wants to go. You have to navigate the turns, the bends, and discover what may be the cause of your pain. And you cannot do it with lots of ‘”waste” in the way. You must get rid of it first, or you cannot see what’s important.

Up Yours. We all know clients, suppliers, and even employees, that are a pain in the A _ _. Isn’t it time for a through examination?

So let’s apply that same concept to our business and personal lives. We know we can’t count on loyalty from employees, clients or suppliers. So why not become proactive and rid ourselves of those “C” relationships? Why don’t we use the end of the year as a preparation for the New Year? The indispensable next step requires a willingness to change.

Next time you think of a “C” think colonoscopy. It creates a real visual doesn’t it? It is something that each of needs to do to cleanse ourselves. Get rid of the problem employee. Consider changing from difficult suppliers. Self-examine every turn and bend and discover what is really causing you discomfort.

Learn from the lessons of General Motors and U.S. Steel: No one is exempt from change. This month make a personal commitment to regain control over everything in your life, not just your business. Evaluate the medications you take. Commit to eating better. Utilize all the resources at your disposal to enrich your life. Make time for change. After all it’s your life.

[blockquote4] Of all the polite topics of conversation, the state of one’s intestines is probably at the bottom of most people’s lists. Let’s face it: Irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, gas, diverticulitis and colon cancer are simply not things we like to discuss. Yet, as the old expression goes, death begins in the colon. Don’t believe it? Ask any coroner. Autopsies often reveal colons that are plugged up to 80 percent with waste material. [/blockquote4] – Vegetarian Times, March, 1998