Monday, March 2, 2015

Let your belly be your business guide

As I have mentioned before, I work for MorphoTrak. While there is a rather involved hierarchy of parent and child corporations, when you trace to the top, MorphoTrak is part of a worldwide conglomerate called Safran.

I recently needed to find the address for Safran USA's DC area office, so I went to a trusty search engine (in this case, Bing) and entered some search terms.

What is a search engine? Search engines are designed not to find the information that you REQUEST, but the information that you WANT. People are not perfect, and sometimes they misspell a word when typing it in the search engine - or they don't know how to spell the word in the first place. Frankly, we'll probably come to the point where dictionaries will be obsolete - people will just type a word in a browser, and the browser will self-correct. (My "qualtiy" mistake will never happen again!)

But what happens when you type a word correctly, but the web page thinks that you misspelled it?

My employer "Safran" has a distinct name, but there are often cases in which Bing or Google or whoever is convinced that I obviously meant to type "saffron" instead.

This is what happened when I conducted my search. Rather than providing me with the address of Safran USA's office in the Washington DC area, here was the first result in the search listings.

Now my employer Safran IS a worldwide conglomerate that is involved in a number of businesses, but belly dance is not one of them.

However, this search engine mistake led me to a valuable business lesson - one in which Colleen Jolly is involved. I've mentioned Jolly in this blog several times (twice in 2014 alone, in September and November). Jolly's company, the 24 Hour Company, has done business with my own, and Jolly has also been personally inspirational (I'll talk more about that at a later time).

But she, like anyone else, also needs to be inspired, as she detailed - not in her own blog (although she's probably discussed it here), but in Todd Nielsen's International Leadership Blogathon. She started with a story.

[T]hree years passion for my business and life in general was at an all time low....

I am a leader in my primary business, and serve as a leader for multiple non-profit organizations. Losing my “mojo” was not just bad for business—it was making me physically ill and emotionally depressed. A leader needs to always know where they are going, or at least be happy and positive trudging through the difficult jungles of economic uncertainty. I was neither happy nor positive and it was starting to show, affecting the morale of my team and our ability to provide true value to our customers. I had to do something to dramatically change my outlook.

So what did Jolly choose to do? Pole dancing!

(Before we go further, it's appropriate to remind people that there is a movement trumpeting competitive pole dancing, and these competitions do NOT involve dudes thrusting dollar bills toward you.)

For Jolly's explanation of how pole dancing benefited her personally, read the post. But how did her business and nonprofit activities benefit?

[M]y outlook has [gotten much rosier] and my passion for providing excellent service wearing all my many professional “hats” has improved dramatically. I’m bothered less by the little things that used to easily derail my optimism and I’m not afraid of what others think about how I live my life and run my businesses. If I could swing my entire body upside down, I could do anything!

So there's possible benefits in removing yourself from your comfort zone, facing a brand new challenge, and then extrapolating that experience to your day-to-day affairs.

But I don't think I'll be flying to Arlington, Virginia for belly dance classes just yet.
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