The Power of Ritual in Seven Simple Steps

As I prepared my first cup of tea this morning, the ritual of it all made me pause.

I prefer Japanese Matcha, the preparation of which was developed ages ago as a transformative ritual incorporating the principles of wabi and sabi. Wabi represents the inner, or spiritual, experiences and sabi the outer, or material side. While you always have the choice to throw a solely sabi-esque Lipton tea bag into hot water and call that tea, it takes both wabi and sabi to make an amazing cup of tea.

And Aren’t We Here To Be Amazing?

The Japanese embrace ritual; they embrace imperfection, cherishing their unpolished selves and others (gracias Wikipedia), repairing life’s cracks with gold-metaphorically and actually. For them, life is not about tossing things aside for something new because they understand new is not better; it’s just new. And new brings with it no useful lesson.

So What Does That have To Do With Tea?

My tea ritual is based on history, trial, error and acceptance. That, in itself, is a lesson. Don’t think that this always turned out perfectly. Many times I ended up with imperfect, unpolished, chunky, undrinkable green drek. It took practice, but I cared enough to keep going. And I never lost sight of my desired end result: an amazing cup of tea that would fill me with warmth, satisfaction, peace, and moments of contemplation.

Here’s what I do:

  1. I declare my intention to have an amazing cup of tea.
  2. I select the components, using the perfect amounts of a gorgeous green matcha powder and filtered water.
  3. I blend these compatible ingredients into its distinctive froth, using a wonderful wooden whisk, a tool mandatory to my achieving my goal.
  4. I taste. Is this what I want? It is mine to determine.
  5. I enhance the sweetness or temperature and make other adjustments to achieve a mixture that is pleasing, relaxing and sustaining.
  6. I savor what I have created.
  7. I repeat it all that afternoon. The next day. And the day after. And so on. As required.

Why This Matters

This ritual is no different than the unconscious rituals we employ to eat, brush our teeth, drive and so on. We also employ ritual to choose and either sustain or reject friendships and other relationships. We have created ways to be successful in all these endeavors

Life is a ritual. Business is part of life, so therefore, business is a ritual. Yet how many businesses run on whim? How many are of the throw-something-against-the-wall-and-hope-it-sticks variety? How many businesses do not start with the end result in mind (goals and a desire to be amazing) and then create a ritual (strategy) to achieve that result?

Yes, Ritual Is Strategy

It takes strategy to achieve anything. Try and drive across town without it. Find a job. Get your kid into college. Secure the best table in a restaurant. Buy a house. Do the laundry. And so it goes. Like life, rituals develop from trial and error. If we are wise, we learn from our mistakes and emerge stronger, with better strategies.

Without a strategy, your result will be akin to a mediocre-to-bad cup of tea.

Create Your Strategy

Designing a business strategy is no more complicated than making an amazing cup of tea. Keep it simple and soulful, using these same 7 steps.

  1. Declare your intention: Why are you in this business? For what purpose? To what end?
  2. Select the vessel: What business are you in? Where? With whom? For whom?
  3. Blend components, using a mix of people, tools, tactics, patience, commitment, passion, compassion and heart. Don’t get caught up in the material side; embrace the inner, because whether you know it or not, business is a spiritual game.
  4. Sample constantly. Is this the business you want? Are you serving? Are you living your dream? Are you grateful? Accountable? Responsible? Do you understand that people are not perfect, business is not perfect and that imperfection will teach the biggest lessons? If yes to all, then adjust as necessary and keep going. If no to any, go back to Step 1 and start again.
  5. Enhance with whatever it takes to maintain a business that is pleasing and sustainable. Balance wabi with sabi and repair cracks with gold. They’ll be stronger for it.
  6. Savor what you have created.
  7. Repeat. Hourly, daily, constantly, as required.

Never Lose Sight Of Your End Result

Never stop the ritual. Improve it. If you get lazy and start taking shortcuts, at worst you could lose your business. At best, you’ll get Lipton when what you said you wanted was amazing. And that is just not worth the effort.


The Right Kind of Goals Ensures Workplace Learning Success

Employees are more likely to successfully meet workplace training goals that they have an active role in setting. But the presence of a goal and the learners’ involvement in setting it is not enough–if a learner fixes on the wrong type of goal, it can actually be counterproductive. Knowing about the types of goals and their pros and cons can be very helpful when setting up training for employees in the workplace.

According to researcher Carol Dweck, most people will set goals in one of these five ways:

Winning: It is very common for goals to be externally competitive. Winning a race, or having more sales than anyone else in the company are both instances of competitive goals.

Normative, or personal best: This type of goal places one in competition with oneself, or with an objective standard: Running an eight-minute mile, improving on one’s own best time, or beating one’s personal sales record.

Ability-linked: Evaluating one’s improvement by one’s abilities–wanting to have perfect running form and a certain level of strength and endurance, or to be a more skilled negotiator.

Outcome: Finishing a 5K race or clinching an important sale are goals based on achieving a certain outcome for a specific, isolated situation.

Learning: Focus on developing skills; on growing and understanding. This type of goal looks to gain the form, strength and endurance it takes to achieve desirable running times, or to understand how to manage and engage with people more effectively in order to improve one’s negotiations and sales.

After doing a meta-analysis of many studies, Dweck did follow-up research and found that some of these goal-types were more effective than others. Applying the right kind of goal for the particular employee or situation can make a big difference in the successfulness of the training.

Dweck found that “learning” goals are the most effective. Employees who placed their focus on learning; on developing skills and understanding, were more persistent and motivated, even when they felt challenged or had to face failure. Because they had a broader view of what they were trying to accomplish, they were less easily discouraged.

“Ability-linked” goals are the least effective, simply because the desired abilities may not develop as quickly as one would like. Without clear, short-term improvement, people often feel that they are failing and both motivation and, consequently, performance, declines. Even experienced workers may be disconcerted by what they perceive as failure to achieve an “ability-linked” goal.

While “winning” and “outcome” goals can result in success, they are ultimately less effective, because once the “outcome” is achieved the learner has no motivation to remain engaged. For a competitive learner who has already “won,” there is no reason to continue improving. Employees who work only to achieve a specific outcome tend not to process assignments as thoroughly as those with “learning” oriented goals. Competitive learners may become more thoroughly, or lastingly engaged, if they compete against personal bests rather than simply completing assignments, or besting others.

Using Office Space Effectively

When you’re investing in office space, it’s important to figure out exactly how much space you’ll need and how much operating cost your company can afford. Companies that are investing in their first location are going to want to save as much money as possible, ensuring that their investment money is spent wisely. There are a few ways you can use space effectively and design work spaces that make the most out of any budget.

One of the first mistakes most start-up companies make is that they forget that common areas can be versatile. Rather than focusing your design efforts on creating individual workspaces, find ways of creating common areas. They can be used as a place to hold meetings, to meet with clients and customers, or take breaks. When there is a central hub, more ideas can be shared. It also helps build the right kind of atmosphere in the workplace.

Speaking of meetings, do you really need that conference room in your office space? Small businesses often invest in a conference room because they feel like they will use it. Long structured meetings around a table may not be the best idea when you’re trying to keep motivation and productivity up. Consider having stand-up meetings. They can often shorten the overall time of the meeting and help people literally think on their feet, resulting in more creative ideas.

When it comes to work surfaces, forget about the large sprawling desks. Often they are unnecessary and they do take up a lot of room. Consider small workstations or shared workstations that allow multiple people to share work surfaces. All you really need is your computer, right? And with precious few square feet, encourage your staff to keep desk clutter to a minimum. Discourage too much clutter at desks so that your employees have plenty of space to spread out and do the work. A cubicle should not be a place where you live, it’s a place where you work. That being said, it’s not unheard of to have a picture of the family or visuals that help you stay focused and creative.

Not many people looking at prospective office space options really consider lighting. You should have lighting that illuminates the office well. With today’s LED technology, you can get a lot of light and use less energy. If you need lighting in addition to overhead lighting, avoid floor lamps and invest in smart desk fixtures.

Need a lot of storage? Make the most of the office space that you have by building cabinetry vertically. This allows you to store the most files in the smallest square foot area possible. You can even consider using the walls to hang coats and sweaters, eliminating the need for a closet.

There are plenty more ways to think about using what you have efficiently and effectively while still feeling comfortable and able to work well. You might even try asking your staff what ideas they may have to make the workplace as comfortable and productive as possible so that you can all enjoy coming into work.


Residential Garbage Pick Up Companies Offer A Lot of Valuable Services

Have you ever stopped to think how hard your residential garbage pick up team works every day? They are off and moving before the average person has even had their morning coffee, and they handle materials that most people would shudder to think about touching. Those are just a couple of the reasons why those trash collectors deserve the utmost respect. Imagine how your street would look if there wasn’t anyone to take care of all that garbage! It would probably be quite a mess.

One fantastic thing that a lot of residential garbage pick up services do is collect and sort all of the different recyclable materials. When curbside recycling programs are in place, homeowners really have no excuse not to do their best to separate cans, bottles, and newspapers from the rest of the stuff that goes in the trash. Plus, this effort saves energy and keeps valuable materials from filling precious space in landfills. Have you ever been to the local dump or landfill? Well, your residential garbage pick up people have probably been there hundreds of times. They can tell you firsthand that recycling makes a huge difference.

Many larger cities are now starting to adopt food waste recycling programs. This is a way to keep perfectly good organic materials from being tossed into a pit to rot. Instead, these scraps can be used to feed gardens and renew the landscape. The composted materials become nutrient-rich soil. This initiative also saves homeowners and businesses hundreds of dollars a year on disposal costs. Who wouldn’t approve of such a project? At this point, participating cities are asking residents to join these programs on a voluntary basis. If you are interested in having someone collect your food waste, contact your local waste management outfit and request a special bin to use for the storage of these materials.

If you have just moved into a new town, you may need to contact the residential garbage pick up office in order to let them know that your house is now occupied. The representative you talk to will establish an account for your household right away. Once that is done, the trash collectors will know to stop in front of your residence whenever trash day rolls around. This is also a good time to ask about the various recycling programs the company offers. You’ll want to have someone drop off the appropriate bins if you are interested in participating.

When Business Owners Should Utilize Them

Are you looking for an effective way to help your business grow? You may benefit from the use of a call center. No matter the size or nature of your business, your business may greatly benefit from such a service. Whether you want to spread your message, you need remote customer support, or you need voice mail services for your business, there are a variety of services that can be provided for all types of businesses. There are many benefits to hiring this service for businesses of virtually every size.

While handling many telephone matters in-house will provide your business with an array of benefits, some matters simply require hiring. That is when hiring a call center may become ideal or even necessary for your business. Rather than spending all of your valuable time on the phone, let a team of professionals handle the bulk of the communications for you.

For small business and medium sized business owners, there are a variety of reasons as to why it is important to save money where you can. For many business owners, taking advantage of services provided by a call center can help you to keep costs down significantly. They can also help you achieve the goal of growing your business. Hiring this service can save you the costs of hiring more full-time employees. Most quality providers of this service are available all of the time, so you won’t have to worry about operating in a way that may discourage customers who would otherwise get a voice message.

Many businesses, specifically smaller businesses simply need help with building communications needs. Call center services provide business owners with peace of mind by taking care of communicating with customers, delivering reminder services, and offering live service. Every business is unique and has it own individual communications needs. The right call center will evaluate all of your needs and encapsulate your business’s goals and standards when communicating with customers and potential customers on your behalf.

It is essential that you hire a company that understands your business’s goals and is willing to work closely with you to cater to customers in a patient and openly communicative manner. Whether you want the peace of mind of knowing that your customers can access your business’s customer service at any time of the day or night, or you just cannot handle all of your business’s communications in house any longer, this service may be the solution that you need.