The Little Red Hen

The Little Red Hen (Video Link)dreamstime_xs_40324783, resized

My paternal grandmother’s favorite story was “The Little Red Hen.” I am not sure if it was because she liked the message or that she liked chickens.  (Chickens on a farm were important then.)

For those of you who have not heard the story of the little red hen, or have forgotten it, the basic story line follows. The little red hen found some wheat grains. She wanted to grow and harvest the wheat so she could make bread. At each step in the process (planting, weeding, and harvesting the wheat, grinding it into flour, and making bread) she asked each of the other farm animals if they would help. Each one, at each step, said, “No.” When each one said they would not help, she replied with, “Then I’ll do it myself.” Finally, after months of work, the little red hen had her bread and was sitting down to enjoy the results of her efforts. Each of the farm animals came up and wanted some of her bread. She told each one, “No, I’ll eat it myself.”

There are many people in the world who are like the little red hen. They know what they want and they work hard to make it happen. If they do not get support from others, they do it anyway.

Unfortunately, there are also many people who are like the other farm animals. They want the results, but they do not want to work for them.

This can occur in very obvious ways. For example, there are people who want money, but do not want a job. They want someone else to give them money without giving anything in return.

This can also occur in less obvious ways. For example, there are people who have a job and want to make more money. But they do not want to gain the additional knowledge, skills, or experience necessary to be promoted. They want to receive more without giving more.

Another example is group projects. I hated group projects in college. Usually everyone in the group wanted an “A.” Usually it was me and maybe one other person that was willing to work hard enough to actually earn an “A.”  The same thing happens in work situations.

Think about your professional and personal relationships. In each relationship are you a “little red hen” or are you one of the “farm animals?” Which do you want to be?

Greatest Risk

hGreatest Risk (Video)

I think the greatest risk we can take in our lives is not taking responsibility for ourselves, for our lives.

Unfortunately, I know too many people who do not want to take responsibility for themselves, for their choices, for their actions.  They expect other people to bail them out of trouble, to take care of them, to provide for them, to just give them what they want.

I know others who do not really expect other people to take responsibility, but they seem to think that if they sit around and wish for what they want, it will magically happen.

The only sure way to get what we want out of life is to take responsibility for making it happen.  Other people might give us what we want.  Or they might not.  The only way to make sure we do get what we want is to make it happen ourselves.  And that means hard work and dedication.

Are you taking full responsibility for your life?

Here is a simple test.  When something goes wrong, do you take responsibility for it or do you try to blame someone else?  When you try to blame someone else, you are trying to pass on your responsibility.  When you analyze what went wrong and what you could have done differently, you are taking responsibility.

Whatever you want out of life, it is your responsibility to make it happen.

No Magic Pill

hNo Magic Pill (Video)

Sorry, but there is no magic pill.  There is nothing that we can take that will make us healthy, wealthy, or wise.  There is no magic potion or spell that will give us the life we want.

All we can do is to learn everything we can, implement as much as we can, and work as hard as we can for the life we want.

 

Business, Hobby, or Required Responsibility?

Business, Hobby, or Required Responsibility? (Video)

hWe do many things.  Most, perhaps all, can be divided into three areas:  business, hobby, or required responsibility.

The business area includes everything that we do for others that they are willing to pay us to do.  If we have a job, we get a paycheck in return for what we do.  The work we do has value to our supervisor or the company where we are employed.  If we are self-employed, our customers pay us to provide goods or services because these goods and services are valuable to them.  In my case, people pay me to speak at their conferences and they pay me for my book.

The hobby area includes those items that we do because we enjoy them, but no one is going to pay us to do it.  Or, they will not pay us very much.  Something to keep in mind is:  “Businesses are in business to make money.  If it does not make money, it is a hobby, not a business.”  (This is the best piece of information I learned at the University of Louisville when I got an MBA.)  I love to hike, but no one is going to pay me to go hiking.

Required responsibilities are those things that we are responsible to do for ourselves.  This includes everything from feeding ourselves to cleaning our homes to taking care of our pets and/or children.  No one will ever pay me to clean my own house; it is my responsibility.  And I will never pay someone to clean their own house; that is their responsibility.

With required responsibilities, it is our responsibility to see that they are done.  We can do them ourselves, or we can hire someone to do it for us.  We can clean our house, or hire a housekeeper.  We can mow our lawn, or hire a lawn service.  It does not matter which, so long as it is done.

How would you divide what you do?  What tasks are business, what are hobbies, and what are required responsibilities?

Business or Hobby?

Business or Hobby? (Video)

“Businesses are in business to make money.  If it does not make money, it is not a business.  It is a hobby.”

This was the most valuable piece of information I learned when I went to the University of Louisville for an MBA.  (If I could remember the professor’s name, I would give him the credit.  Unfortunately, I do not even remember the name of the class.)  This forced me to take a very critical look at my business at the time.  I have used it to assess my business many times since.

If you are self-employed, do you treat your business as a business?  Or do you treat it as a hobby?  Do you invest as much time into your business as you would if you were punching a time clock?  Or do you fit in time where you can between personal pursuits?

I know people who run their businesses as a business.  They put in the time and effort needed to achieve the success they want.  I know others who consistently let everything else come first.  It can be easy to do, especially if you work from home.  There are many potential distractions.

This may be hard to believe, but the ones who are most successful are those who treat it as a business!  They work extremely long, hard hours.  If you want a business, that is the price to pay.

If what you really want is a hobby, that is fine as long as you have another way to support yourself.  But at least be honest with yourself.  A simple question to ask yourself is whether or not you would pay someone else to do what you do throughout the day.

Do you have a business or a hobby?  Which do you want?  Do you need to make changes?

 

We Always Have Choices

We Always Have Choices (Video)

In any situation, we have choices–emphasis on the plural.  It bothers me when someone says that she did something because she did not have a choice.  Wrong!  At a minimum, there are always two choices.  Do something or do nothing.

There are always choices.  There might only be one good choice out of a dozen bad choices, but there are still choices.  Even deciding to do something rather than nothing is a choice.  Deciding not to decide is still making a choice.

When we tell ourselves that we did something because we did not have a choice, it is a negative.  It is giving away our power.  When we take ownership of the choice we made, it is a positive.  It reaffirms that we have power over our lives.  If we pick the one good choice out of a dozen bad choices, we need to take credit for that.

Can you see all the choices possible in your situation?