Ice, ice baby

Never let it be said that you can’t get good advice from some early 90’s pop. On the way home tonight, Robert Matthew Van Winkle (you might know him better as Vanilla Ice) dropped a gem that made me think.

“Stop, collaborate and listen…”

In the context of business, it seems to me these three things are becoming more and more important.

Have you noticed that when you ask someone “how are you?” they often respond with “busy”. Whilst we accept the response, it’s not actually an answer to the question. We’re all busy. There are more things on the to-do list than we could actually ever do. We run from one meeting to another to the gym to home to a family thing to ballet and footy and back again… The art of thinking is being squished by the epidemic of busy. When was the last time you just sat, and pondered? We don’t often allow ourselves the time to think things through, slowly, calmly, without a deadline or email or our phone or a pressing task to attend to. Perhaps your business would benefit from some solid thinking time. More than likely, you would benefit from some time to just let your thoughts do their thing.

It’s a competitive business world. We all scramble for the next job, the next sale, the next client, the next payment… We keep a keen eye on our competitors but in doing so, we may miss one of the most important opportunities – the chance to collaborate. In a scarcity mindset, we guard our turf, are suspicious of anyone who wants to know too much about us and wonder what people are trying to “get” from us. If we switch to an abundance mindset, we realise that there are many more opportunities than we could possibly take advantage of. We can in fact gain more benefit and add more value by working cooperatively with others.

A discussion with a client today reminded me of the importance of listening to our instincts. We were debating the merits of a particular strategy and she said, “I’ve thought about it, and it just feels right”. I admire that; the ability to tune in and pay attention to that instinctual guidance system. We’re all so busy trying to make ourselves heard that sometimes we forget to listen – really listen – to ourselves, our team, our clients and our mentors.

So, thanks Vanilla Ice, and errr, sorry I can’t remember what the rest of the song was about.