Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sleep (or the lack thereof)

It is 2:32am on a Saturday as I write this post and (again) I cannot sleep. This seems to happen a lot lately. In fact its gotten to the point that the consequences of not having the sleep are becoming a problem in the rest of my life. Particularly with work.

I am not sure what happened. Sleep and are were once best friends; I even dated Sleep's sister (she was a real dream girl). But somehow, somewhere along the path to "adulthood" (this from a man who still visits the toy aisle in every department store he shops in), Sleep and I lost touch with each other. We never really had a falling out per se, we just stopped communicating well. I guess it happens sometimes but, usually it happens with friends who are seperated by some distance! Sleep and I still see each other every day, sometimes more than once! But lately nighttime rolls around and his usual visit to my house gets "delayed". Apparently, Sleep has a new BFF and I have slid down the ladder to an I'll-see-him-when-I-can friend...

I guess perhaps it's true what they say: familiarity breeds contempt. Sleep knows me too well. He knows that I will ALWAYS want him, I am hooked. So, he has begun to take me for granted. I can't quit him! I am hoping that sometime soon I will find a way to breach this gap in our relationship. But, until then, I guess I will ask my other BFF, the Interwebs, to keep me company until he gets here...

Sunday, July 5, 2009

"My" Value Proposition

I work in the corporate world where we hear a lot of "corp-speak" like "paradigm shift" and "synergy". One of the phrases I hear quite a lot, and that we use at work quite often is "value proposition". But, I think that in using a phrase over and over we often devalue it's meaning, particularly in its broader application.

Where my company is concerned I can go on for hours about our Value Proposition. In fact, in my work blog ( I drive deeply into these areas. But, today I would rather focus on the personal Value Proposition. I really think it is vitally important that we each understand our own Value Proposition.

Recently my boss challenged his team to, in every meeting we attend or event in which we participate, consider this question: what value do I add to this event? How can I add value to this discussion, this customer's situation, this sales meeting, etc. In thinking further on how to apply this bit of wisdom it occurred to me that this was something that I could use all the time, in every day life in virtually all aspects of it too!

Think about it! How much improved would your relationships, work life, home life etc. be if you went into every event with that idea in mind? What Value do I add to my marriage? What Value do I add to my children when I see them today? What Value do I add to my church, my community, my relationship with my friends? Now imagine that your spouse, or children or church or community leaders, your children's teachers, were asking that same question every day? How much improved would all those areas of our lives be if we simply asked that question all day, every day: what Value am I adding right now; what's MY Value Proposition?

Now remember this is not "what is my over all Value". Asking the question only in the broadest sense, while helpful, doesn't bring the same immediacy, the same impact to the answer. Of course you add value to your spouse in the long run or you would not still be married! Certainly you add value to your children, after all they're fed and clothed, right? But, what is the specific value you add RIGHT NOW, in THIS moment for THIS event, relationship, etc.?
Perhaps (I think certainly) approaching every interaction you have throughout your day with this same question, what's my Value Proposition, can help you become a better salesperson, systems engineer, wife or husband, father or mother, or friend. And just imagine if everyone you encountered had that same equation running through their mind...

So, as I was challenged, I challenge you. As you move forward through your day-to-day, keep always in the front of your mind that question and answer it freshly for every interaction you have. Before you ask another to forward your success, ask how you can contribute to theirs. Know your Value Proposition.