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By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016
Moncton Times & Transcript
There’s an old adage that goes something like this: ‘People who fail to plan end up planning to fail.’
I used to be pretty good at planning and visualizing how I wanted things to go. As a consultant who works for myself, I’m part of the wonderful world of business feast or famine. You’re either too busy to sleep or left wondering if the local hamburger joint has uniforms in your size – and hoping that you’ll like your new manager, Tiffany, who just turned 16 and spends her entire shift fighting with her boyfriend via text messaging and crying about how much she hates her parents.
No matter how large or small your business is, it’s important to plan and just not leave things up to fate. Personally, I’ve been very lucky to have been so fortunate as to run my business mostly on referrals. I don’t normally have to chase new clients. People usually call me. How lucky am I, eh?
Regardless of how you tend to normally get your business, it’s still essential to plan. In the past few months, admittedly, I’ve been neglecting the planning part of things and leaving things up to fate. There’s a funny thing about fate, though, sometimes you have to make good fate happen.
This week, I’d had enough of the leaving things up to questionable fate and hoping things would magically appear out of nowhere. I kind of felt like I wasn’t in control of many aspects. Of course, I still had work to do, but it wasn’t all-out crazy like it’s been in the past. My planning muscle got lazy and had started to atrophy. You have to set goals and put things in motion for so-called ‘fate’ to chart a course to your liking.
So, I went to a coffee shop with my day planner a few days ago and sat there for two hours filling up my book with to-do lists and goals. I can’t tell you the last time I’d done that – perhaps months ago? I’d really fallen out of the habit. Staring at the telephone isn’t planning – it’s hoping. It’s also lazy. I know better.
I’m a big believer in visualization. I’d often joke to friends and associates that if things were a bit slow businesswise, all I had to do was close my eyes and visualize money falling from the sky. I know that sounds odd, but almost every time after I did that visualization the telephone would ring or an email would arrive with an unexpected project. It was kind of spooky, actually – but it worked nearly every time!
Of course, lately I’ve realized that I’d also been meeting people and doing a bunch of other things to help the visualization come into being. Regardless, however, it was still pretty amazing. Setting goals, meeting people and making things happen sure as heck help goals come to fruition! Wishing and hoping aren’t synonyms for planning.
Setting goals to paper makes them real. It gives them life. You can think about them and imagine them, but putting pen to paper makes them tangible. A goal that’s only in your head is only there until the next big sneeze.
Goals are for everyone. You can be a student. You can be a stay-at-home parent. You can be looking for a life partner. You can be a consultant. You can be an employee. You can be an athlete. Everyone wants to achieve something.
I know one woman who wrote down the qualities she wanted in a husband after going through a few unsuccessful relationships. Lo and behold, she looked at the piece of paper afterwards only to realize that a mutual friend was the man of her dreams. Guess what? He agreed with that conclusion, too. They’ve been happily married for more than 20 years now.
I haven’t done myself any favours by getting away from goal-setting. In fact, quite the opposite. If you don’t know where you’re going, the currents created by others will carry you along to the wrong shore. If you want to avoid the rocks, you have to row your own boat.
It’s also a lot better psychologically to know where you’re going rather than just accepting that the winds of fate will crash your boat onto those rocks at any given moment. No, that’s not the way things work when you set goals. You’re the one rowing. You’re in control. You’re the one who knows to veer away from danger. You’re the one who knows in which port you want to dock.
Goal-setting coffee shop sessions are good for the soul. I highly recommend them to anyone.
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016
Moncton Times & Transcript
Nearly every time I go to a local bulk food store, the clerk mistypes one of the code numbers of an item I’m buying. I watch them like a hawk. Of course, the errors are not on purpose, but I don’t want to pay more than what I should. Who does, eh?
The problem with good ol’ Honest Abe Cormier here is that I’m often too saintly for my own good. Almost every time I correct the clerk, the real price of the item ends up being more – sometimes much, much more. ‘Sir?’ I’d say, most certain that my attempt at good karma will send me to heaven without the mandatory entrance test, ‘You typed in the wrong code.’ Always grateful, the clerk would correct the error and the price would be adjusted.
The problem is that this only seems to happen when I’m buying some rare tea from Mongolia. ‘Oh, that’s better,’ the clerk would say. ‘I charged you for common baking soda. The tea is about 50 billion times more expensive.’ ‘Yeah, don’t remind me,’ I’d mutter to myself.
All I know is that St. Peter had better be writing this all down for when I arrive at the Pearly Gates when I die at the age of 118. ‘Brian, we just called up your Google search history and we really need to talk!’ good ol’ St. Peter would say. ‘But, but remember when I corrected the clerk at the bulk food store 66 years ago and I ended up paying 50 billion times more than I would have had I not said anything?’
‘Oh, come on in! I was just kidding! If Google search histories were one of the qualifying factors for getting into heaven, we’d only have about 37 people here,’ the guardian of the afterlife would chuckle. At least that’s what the nice voices in my head tell me would happen.
Sometimes, being a self-righteous, sanctimonious, morally upright member of society’s upper crust is a burden to bear. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. The other day, however, I broke my own rule and didn’t correct the clerk. Since I always end up paying more, I just let it go, although karma would dictate that I probably did pay more – which would explain why a small 100-gram bag of bulk peppermints cost $345. But I wasn’t going to say anything – although in hindsight, maybe I should have. It did seem a bit pricey.
It drives me crazy to see people practically having seven-course meals out of the bins in the bulk stores or the produce section at the grocery store. I’ve literally seen people eat half a bag of grapes while strolling through the aisles. What’s a cashier supposed to do after being presented with a branch full of missing grapes? Charge you for the twig?
I seem to remember doing that as a kid when getting groceries with my parents. I guess I thought it was normal since everyone seemed to be doing it. I know my father certainly did. Even when I brought him to the grocery store in his later years, he’d try to eat half the grapes in the cart before we reached the cashier. I’d tell him to stop, but all I’d get is the evil eye, then he’d swear at me and keep eating.
Then, I’d tell myself, ‘If you love me, Baby Jesus, just send me an aneurysm right now – yes, right here in the feminine hygiene products aisle. I don’t care. I’m not embarrassed. Just make it quick.’ Something tells me my dear old father would have taken the opportunity to finish the grapes during the ensuing hubbub.
I suppose we all try to justify mildly bad behaviour from time to time. We eat a few grapes at the grocery store and ask ourselves, “Who’s it gonna hurt?”
Or we park somewhere downtown we know we shouldn’t and get ticketed or booted – and then claim we didn’t see the multitude of signs or even believe Queen Elizabeth herself when she knocked on our car window to warn us not to park there.
And when we’re asked not to eat the grapes (the ones that still belong to the grocery store) or freak out after getting a parking ticket or booted (after stealing a parking spot to which we had no right), then I suppose we’re guilty of selective morality.
We need to remember that we’re only one of hundreds of people eating ‘free’ grapes or ‘borrowing’ someone else’s parking spot. We can’t just ignore the rights of others like we’re a conquering Viking. Long live sanctimony, I say! Heaven, here I come!