What does laughter have to do with good business?
Does humor really make a difference in how successful you are in business? I know it does!
That’s because humor offers us three keys that are indispensable to business:
1. the big picture view
2. a guard against perfectionism
3. connection with our customers
These keys were blatantly missing from a recent experience I had at a health food cafe. First tip-off was when the clerk informed me that the wrap I was about to order was low-calorie. Ok, nice to know, but not necessary. I am a vegetarian, involuntary non-dairy and I have braces. Isn’t that enough to naviate around? Calorie content usually isn’t even on my culinary radar. I have enough to worry about in the course of an average day.
Soon the owner came over and assured me that, “We make all our food ourselves, and so we control the calorie content.” Now this was getting personal. Did I look like I needed to start counting calories? Did my braces throw them off, and they thought I was an overweight 12 year old? Does this wrap make me look fat?
Here is where humor enters. I am always in the humor mode. Even–and sometimes especially–when I’m upset, irate, or offended. This milieu gives me a constant big-picture view. This humoradar means that I am always on the lookout for irony, potentially sarcastic comments, and opportunities to laugh. At:
1. The BIG picture. Not all women think alike or are focused on the same self-esteem-crushing issues.
1.a. The solution: I could either take offense or realize how little some people know of the big picture. And leave it at that.
2. Anti-perfectionism. We can see instantly that our way isn’t the perfect, or only right way of seeing things or doing things.
2.a. The solution: Our business sense may not be common sense to our customers. Are we standing in anyone else’s shoes?
3. Connecting with comfort. Go beyond the obvious to achieve the universal. What we consider comfortable may prevent us from moving out of our comfort zone and into that of our customers.
3.a. The solution: Practice seeing more clearly, into our shared, universal problems, passions, and purpose.
It’s dangerous to have that much laser-focus on your business that you miss the big picture. Sure, I’m only one customer. But I bought lunch at that cafe and spent $20 on it. If something makes me mad, I write about it. If the emperor has no clothes, I’m going to be the first to post those pictures on Facebook. And (unfortunately or not) people like me are legion.
It’s wonderful to have a strong, excited belief in your products and their value. But without a humor focus, you are selling the wrong benefits to the wrong people. They suddenly stop seeing how great your product is, because their overall experience has chinks dented into it. All because you weren’t able to laugh……..
What’s for sale in your world? How funny is THAT?
unicycle class action
“Uni”-eed to Unicycle By Dr. Trina Hess’ www.HumorAcademy.com
Tomorrow I’ll go to unicycle class. My 3rd class. I still can’t balance or ride without holding on to the wall. But the experience of unicycling shows that in order to learn something new, we have to have these factors in place. Factors that our class morphed into quite naturally.
1. Risk it. Be willing to be a beginner, be laughed at, be hurt, be aware that you made a wrong choice. Be willing to take a chance and do something waaay out of your comfort zone. This is possible when we….
2. Expect nothing. Not success, not failure, not fame, glory, or injury. This frees us to enjoy the topic, the experience, the other learners’ ideas and experiences. When we do this we….
3. Experiment freely. Without being judged, graded, or even observed, I step up onto the uni after each fall. No one else cares, they are involved in their own learning, falling, and getting-back-up-again. We are able to keep going because we…
4. Lead ourselves. Our teachers don’t lecture. They merely gave some simple tips to get on the uni. Then, we experiment on our own uni in our own time. The teachers are only a resource if we have questions, have accomplishments, have had enough. When we lead our own learning, we…
5. Pace ourselves. We rest when we need to, we get back up to the wall when we’re ready. We learn to trust our pace of learning, our style of acquiring knowledge, and the speed at which we can comprehend. When all these facets are in place we can…
understand what our teacher told us: ”Your body knows what to do. You just have to get on the unicycle.”
Funny how this can apply to ANY learning—when we keep our sense of humor, we strip away the comparisons, the pressure, the focus on being perfect, the spectre of being judged and graded.
And then we can naturally and in our own time, leave the wall and balance through life, sometimes falling, sometimes staying upright. But always having fun because we know we’ve taken the steps to trust ourselves.
What are YOU willing to risk to learn to have fun? How funny is THAT?
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Want to kill terrorists in Yemen, while you’re against abortion?
Think Postal employees wanting their pensions is selfish, but also resent “sharing the wealth?”
Paradoxes leave us steaming and confounded. Like Homer Simpson’s exasperated, “T-oh!” of powerlessness.
We feel like we should have a solution. Or at least a way to resolve our uneasiness.
But we know we don’t.
We know that situations, feelings, and people are not neat and tidy.
How funny is THAT? Not at all. So how can we—-without going as far as writing a “joke”—-deal with these ambiguities, loose ends, and frustrations? How do we chip away at the cinder blocks lining our side and our mind?
1. We admit that our side, our way, our opinion isn’t the only one “right” way.
2. We pause enough to get ourselves to observe, look, and say, “isn’t that interesting.”
3. We see that these polar opposites are simply ”sides” of the same circle.
Taking sides is like making an egg-shaped wheel: ”It’s clumsy, ineffective and hurts the driver.”
Is it time to get new wheels? How funny is THAT?