In Circles

Are you running in circles? Going fast; but making only limited progress toward your goals?

Last weekend was the running of the annual "Turkey Trot" fund-raising 5K run. Maybe you had an event like this in your town too.

The lead group of about 15 runners missed the sign marking the race route because they were concentrating on each other, on their competitor's pace and position, and where they were ranked among the leaders.

As a group they "zigged" when they should have "zagged". After more than a mile detour loop, they met back up with the stragglers walking and limping toward the finish line. And as a group they wondered "what happened"?

How easy it is to be distracted! Distracted by the competition and heat of the race, only to lose your way with unhappy results. The detour in this year's "Turkey Trot" reminds us to daily ask these questions:

What Signs to Watch? Who do we Serve? Why do we Serve?

Stay alert to the Signs your business generates to avoid costly detours. What product lines are performing NOW? What lines can deliver NOW to meet your customer's needs? Today, what have you and your associates learned new about your customers that you can act on NOW?

Stay focused on Who We Serve. The signs your business generates gives you important indicators of PAST performance; and while useful for steering your business in the future, there's no better method of avoiding detours than by listening hard to your customers.

Serve them. Listen to them. Delight them with surprises. Look to the future WITH them. Special order for them. Ask them what they'd like to see.

Stay focused on Why We Serve. Do you remember why you got into this business in the first place? To express yourself? To create a safe place to enjoy with friends and new-found friends? To minister to your community with meaningful products for meaningful times in their lives? You make a difference in your community! Be encouraged by remembering your purpose and work hard to make more of your day "purposeful".

The "Turkey Trot" lesson rang clear for me this weekend: While watching the competition is important....don't let it be consuming. Don't let it detour you! Watch the signs, listen to your customers, and remember why you're in this business..... Act with purpose!

We selected this last snowflake pictured above, our best selling Fall/Winter item - "By Design", as a reinforcement to this month's "Inspire" message. The scripture reference associated with this item is Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope".