How REI & #OptOutside is Getting it Right

REI Closes Stores on Black Friday OptOutside

In October REI shocked the retail world by announcing that it would be closing all its stores on Black Friday (one of the most lucrative shopping days of the year) so that employees could opt instead to go outside.

Not only is it closing all its stores on the busiest shopping day of the year but it is paying all its employees to go play.

REI Closes for Black Friday

And they are encouraging other retailers to take a stand against the madness that has become Black Friday.

Make no mistake about it.  This is a costly move. Closing 143 stores on such a high volume day and paying all its employees.

But to me? It is music to my ears and balm to my heart.

To me Black Friday is an iconic day that singularly represents so much of what causes the most pain, dissatisfaction, and suffering in our lives. The rush to consume, get “more”, and keep up with what we think others are doing.  So the fact that a major retailer is taking such a strong stand against the material and for the beauty of experience in nature does the world a bit of good.

While REI is a member run co-op and does not have the same pressures of public companies mired in the short-term reward and perception game of the financial markets, that doesn’t make it immune to the need to be profitable.

Here’s why this move will ultimately work for not against REI in the long run and what you can learn from them to apply to your own business. [Read more…]

The Little Things DO Matter – What REALLY Sets You Apart

This week I experienced a personal heartbreak.  It was during that time that I was once again reminded what truly sets someone (and their business) apart.  It has nothing to do with flashy stuff, extra letters after your name, or a snappy elevator pitch.  It is all about having heart, caring about the little things, and showing up to serve as a real, authentic, and caring human being.

CopperOur beloved cat Copper who was 16 had been experiencing old age kidney decline for the last 18 months, the last 3 of them being a high-maintenance, roller-coaster ride of giving her subcutaneous fluids and medication at home.  Any cat lover knows just how much fun giving a cat an IV and pills is, so you can imagine the stress of this time. She was a total trooper and such a good, sweet kitty the whole way for which we were grateful.

That is why it was so heartbreaking to have to put her down this week.  As I reflect on this experience, I was reminded how blessed I am to have so many of the service providers in my life be such top notch.

There are probably at least 5 veterinarians within a 4 mile radius of my house. Yet the one I have used through my years in this town far surpasses what it means to be of service.  It’s like a lesson in customer service and differentiating yourself from the competition every time I meet with them (and this includes not just the doctors but the extended staff). And, it has nothing to do with a sales pitch.

In just this 3 month period the good people at Telford Veterinary Hospital have:

  • Guided us wisely through the almost constant ups and downs of kidney failure and bladder infections.
  • Saved us untold upset by recommending one of their vet technicians to care for our cat and her medical needs when we had to travel for personal or business. (She went above and beyond and then some for us… I love this woman!)
  • Treated our cat and equally important us (the humans/owners part of the equation) with nothing but the most personal and compassionate care and communication.
  • Regularly followed up with us via phone and accommodated last minute appointment needs as the situation warranted.

You might think – well that’s just part of running a business, right?

Perhaps…But… [Read more…]

Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Plate

Don't Compare Yourself to OthersThis is just plain good advice.  While the inspiration for this article came from a piece I read about athletic training, the principles behind it are relevant for anyone who wants to have peak performance in their business and life in general.   That means you!

Do you find that you spend a lot of time watching, thinking about, or worrying about what someone else is doing?  Such as:

  • Scoping out the “competition”?
  • Watching your colleagues and big name mentors’ every move?
  • Reading yet another how-to, self-help, or advice laden book hoping to find the answers?

If so, it’s time you dropped all that.  Nix the misperception that somehow someone else has all the answers for you.  Stop the distractions that keep you focused on everything and everyone else but yourself and what is right in front of you.

They don’t.  In fact they too may be lurking and trying to avoid facing their own fears and sense of inadequacy by eating off of someone else’s plate as well.

So why does this matter?

What someone else is doing or not doing has no relevance to your life or your goals.

You are unique. Your definition of success is unique. You can’t get there by copying someone else. You can only get there by being authentic and following your own intuitive guidance system.

This doesn’t mean that someone else can’t support you. I do that for my clients all the time. I have people on my own team that do that for me.  The key difference is that I believe in being a catalyst for others, not a savior.  I expect those that support me to bring out the best in me, collaborate with me, not do it for me. [Read more…]

How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority

Get the 7-Day Solution