Saturday, October 4, 2008

Just Say "Yes"

Today's post is dedicated to all the can-do people out there who's first instinct is to say, "yes," in stead of "no."

I'm not talking about taking on more than you can handle or saying, "yes" at the expense of life balance and sanity. I'm talking about one's natural reaction when presented with the idea of a new venture or with the opportunity to try something out of your norm.

A brief story on my part and then maybe a personal challenge for you this weekend.

Right now King Arthur Flour Company is at top of my list of favorite companies and the Container store is at the bottom. Yes, the Container Store.  The store to which I have been a faithful customer and advocate, is at the bottom. The reason? The Container Store has a well-developed "No-Reflex," while King Arthur Baking Company is still nimble enough to see possibility.

Months ago, in anticipation of an upcoming Highlowaha theme week, I mailed a representative at the Container Store a package. I'm talking a P-A-C-K-A-G-E! I'm no slouch when it comes to mailing treats. I derive pleasure from sending mail, so packaging is a skill I've developed over time. Not everything I mail is inspired, but this package was! I'm talking a pristine white Container Store box (of course) chock full of fun treats wrapped in bright Container Store tissue paper, with krinkle, a fun note, and of course a carefully selected treat for the recipient. I even went so far as to call the woman to whom I was sending the package to assure she was made aware (I didn't want her to be confused and to therefore dismiss the box once placed on her desk).

The entire gesture was designed to get a lunch date with someone from the Marketing department. I have a GREAT idea for the Container Store and I wanted to pitch it, in time for my upcoming theme week. I mailed the package, by the way, in August. The person to whom I sent the package didn't reply until I made two follow-up phone calls. Even then, she passed me off to someone else in the department. The woman I was pawned off on actually replied to my introductory email. She agreed to go to lunch at a future date, when the dust settled from a series of store openings in which she was involved. We tentatively planned on the last week in August or the first week of September. I have followed up a number of times, but to no avail. The woman at Container Store has never called me back to make good on her agreement and the realist in me knows she won't. Opportunity lost on the part of the Container Store. Too bad.

Juxtapose that with Rebecca from King Arthur's. In preparation of National Ice Cream Month, I contacted the company to see if they would donate an adorable ice cream cone cookie cutter that I saw advertised in their catalog. I couldn't track down the name of a particular person to whom I should address the letter, so I addressed it to, "To Whom It May Concern" - a cardinal sin when writing a letter of this sort. Months later... in fact, just two weeks ago, a representative of the company emailed me. She explained that the letter just worked its way to her desk and that she was sorry to have missed the event. She was quick to suggest that maybe there was another way we could work together.  Here's a woman with a strong "Yes Reflex."

Immediately, I told her of my plan to do a week focused on some of my favorite holiday items for kids. The focus of the items would be gifts that foster kids creativity. She told me of a series of new kids Cooking Kits that we being launched and offered to send me a sample. Deal made.

The difference? Woman "A" was intent on getting me, "off her back." In fact, so anxious was she to get out from under having to do something that she never returned my messages or formally told me she was not interested. Bad business etiquette! Person "B," on the other hand, knows Highlowaha is no big fish, but she was not so adverse to the unknown, that she was unwilling to let a in a new idea. Truth... 98% of our readership is women and many of us have kids. We will all probably all give at least one child a gift this holiday season - making the plug King Arthur's will get from Highlowaha worth every penny.

My plea to you is remain open to possibility.  Granted it's easier to say "no."  Saying, "no" assures you won't be any busier and that life will stay exactly as you know it.  Saying, "no" means you won't have to do anything more, learn anything more, visit someplace you've never been, or try something you've never tried.  But, it also means you might miss an opportunity.  Sure... going to lunch with someone you've never met to hear a "pitch" about something for which you are's unconventional, I know.  All the more reason why a marketing person - assigned to promote and advance the Container Store image - should have said, "yes," instead of "no."

How about it?  This weekend and into next week, try to say "yes" to the requests and opportunities that come your way.  Try to relax your "No-reflex" and see what happens when your first instinct is to say, "Yeah, sure."

You could shrug me off, pretend you didn't read this, or say, "no," but then you'd be proving my point.  So try saying "yes" and surrendering to the challenge.

Let us know if something cool comes from it... and I will too.

Believe it or not, I am off to facilitate training for the a group of Methodist student leaders!  A spiritual retreat, Bas Mitzvahs, and Blessing of the Animals all in one week!  And, on the seventh day I think I'll rest.  See you back here on Monday... 

Oops!... Announcements:
  • Congratulations, Lori!  You had a clean sweep yesterday.  You won the Pet Match AND your dog Jessie (#5) was voted the cutest.  Dog treats coming your way.  The pet owners, in order, were:
Tera and Treye
  • Today Halloween Activity: Today we will go on a Hayride.  The local Pumpkin Patch opened yesterday at 3:00, so we'll make our first visit of the year later on this afternoon.  Have I mentioned, I love this time of year?

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