Waiting for Lightning to Strike
Have you ever heard the comment, “maybe you should tell your face”?
Example: something exciting has happened and you don’t react the way someone expects. They ask if you’re excited. You say that you are and they say, “maybe you should tell your face.”
Far too many businesses, new and old, have this problem.
At the time of writing this, my son, Jonathan, is in the 4th grade. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but every Wednesday his P.E. class has Walking Wednesday. The goal is simple: just walk. You can run if you want to, but it’s not required. Parents are invited to attend as well.
This is something that I’ve deemed as important to be present for and I’ve not regretted it. Not only does it guarantee I get some exercise at least once a week, observing these kids has been full of life lessons.
These kids are learning social interaction and soft skills all the time, and I can’t help but observe that there are things that, if one was to pay enough attention, you could use to improve your life.
This past Wednesday was no exception.
Instead of Walking Wednesday, the kids were doing a small basketball tournament in observance of the peak of college basketball season… March Madness.
The P.E. coach invited me to stay and watch.
Jonathan’s team was up first for one of the games. Jonathan may not be the most athletic kid, but he loves to play, so it came as a surprise when he just stood there like a lump. Shoulders sagging, head down, and a look of expectant disappointment on his face.
There were enough kids that some of the teams had an extra player that would rotate in and out.
Shortly after the first game began. Jonathan tagged out and went to stand by the wall and started crying. *Sidenote: I am not a helicopter parent. When something happens, I try to let my kids sort it out with limited involvement until I need to teach them.
As I watched Jonathan crying, from afar, one of the coaches went to check on him. I could tell by Jon’s body language that he was complaining that nobody was giving him the ball.
The coach halted game play and announced that everyone needed a shot at getting the ball and playing the game.
Jonathan tagged back into the game and… Stood there like a lump.
Now, it was time to intervene and teach him a lesson. When he tagged out again, I pulled him to the side and had a conversation with him that went a little something like this:
Me: “Jonathan, do you want to play the game?”
Me: “Why not? You always want to play whenever there’s a basketball and a hoop.”
Jon: “Because no one will give me the ball.”
Me: “Do you want them to give you the ball?”
Jon: “No, because they won’t give it too me.”
Me (slouching my shoulders and looking miserable) : “Do I look like I want the ball?”
Me: “Why not? I want to play.”
Jon: “I don’t know”
Me: “Is it because of the way I’m standing?”
Jon (looking at my posture): “Yes.”
Me: “ So, the way I’m standing here makes you think that I don’t want to play?”
Me: “Well, that’s how you’ve been standing out there. Why would they give you the ball if you stand there looking like you don’t want to play?”
Light bulb moment! But, we weren’t there yet.
The conversation shifted. Instead of continuing with his woe-is-me approach, I instructed him to stand in the game with his hands up, either ready to catch the ball if it’s thrown to him, or be able to block his opponent, and to shout for the ball to be passed to him.
The dynamic of the entire game shifted. Jonathan’s teammates began including him. When their small game was over, they shifted to a practice court and started taking turns trying to shoot a basket backwards and blind. Now, they started to make an effort to give Jonathan a shot.
Proud dad moment: Jonathan was the first to actually make the basket backwards and they all cheered him on. He said it was like being in a movie without them lifting him up on their shoulders.
Get in the Game
I’m as guilty of this as anyone, but it will always bear repeating. Too many times, when a small business starts, the owner has been so wrapped up in development that, when the time comes to start selling the product or service, the wind is completely let out of their sails when people aren’t lined up just waiting to buy or hire them.
We, for some reason, expect an insane Black Friday-esque crowd to be clamoring to devour our offerings and all the hard work will pay off.
What do we do? We stand there with our heads down and schlumpy shoulders, wondering why we don’t have any customers.
News flash! You haven’t done anything to tell the marketplace that you want to be in the game. You’re not using your metaphoric body language to tell people that you want them to be your customers.
Put your hands up and shout!
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that video content is one of the best ways to make your presence known and to tell your potential customers that you want them… You could even consider Hamil Bros to help you with this (wink wink). So, consider that now mentioned.
However, that’s not the only avenue.
So, I will leave you with this question: what are you doing to put your hands up and tell the world you want to play?