The Art of Being Stood Up

By Jennifer E. Goldman, President of Resonance, LLC

I realize I’m not normal, but I’ve never minded getting stood up for business meetings. In fact, I relish it, especially if the meeting was set in a public place like a coffee shop or restaurant. While last-minute cancellations and no-shows reveal a lot to me about people I probably shouldn’t waste my time with anyway, they also provide me with an unexpected break in my otherwise hectic schedule.

Instead of huffing off back to the office if I get stood up, I will typically give myself the amount of time I was planning on spending in the meeting. Since I’d already scheduled myself to be away from the office for an hour or two, why not?

I never consider it time wasted. It’s time I can use to soak up new ideas in a new environment. I’m always amazed by how different surroundings can take your brain in new directions, inspire you with thoughts, ideas and solutions you’d have never come up with in your office.

That hour that I was planning on spending with someone else, who is either having a really ‘off’ day or who has time management issues, is now an hour that I can spend taking a break, unwinding, people-watching, catching up on reading business publications, planning next month’s social media posts, or reaching out to a colleague I haven’t seen in way to long and scheduling a meeting I KNOW I won’t be alone for.

Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t that I think people are ineffective in their offices, but the temporary change of scenery can do wonders for a person. That unexpected one hour that you find yourself alone and out-of-office for shouldn’t be time wasted in anger and frustration.

If nothing else, I recommend using that time to take a walk; discover new businesses, mull over your business challenges, reflect on your recent successes, mentally admire or admonish people’s fashion choices.

Even if you don’t do anything business-y in the one hour you unintentionally gave yourself, you might just find that you are better equipped to deal with the rest of your office day upon your return. And who knows, maybe you’ll find it so beneficial that you’ll begin scheduling fake meetings and unchaining yourself from your desk on a regular basis.

Too Many Hats

By Jennifer E. Goldman, President

As business people (or as human beings in general) we often wear “many hats”. Sometimes we wear too many hats. It just “is what it is” in our fast-paced Age of Information.

I can remember when my children were little, I thought I’d topple over from the sheer weight of all the hats I wore. I was the cook, the maid, the chauffeur, the scheduler, the shopper, the tutor, the disciplinarian, the nurse, and the organizer. And I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few hats; selective memory at this point, I’m sure.

I willingly wore all those hats because I was sure that I HAD to wear all those hats. No one else would take those responsibilities. No one else was as good at handling those responsibilities. There wasn’t enough money to pay someone to handle any of the responsibilities.

As I formed a small business, I took on the same attitude. There isn’t enough money and no one who can do things quite like I do.

It didn’t take me long to realize I didn’t want my eternal business card to read “Chief Cook and Bottle Washer”. I didn’t have enough hours in a day to accomplish all that I wanted my business to do, if I handled every task on my own. I also realized that I’m not the most capable person for certain tasks. (Shocking self-realization!)

As I began planning how my business would grow, and the best methods for guiding it in that direction, several things became clear:

  1. I have BIG plans for my company and I can’t do it alone. No woman is an island, right?
  2. I have a few, very distinct specialties; the areas that aren’t my specialty ARE someone else’s.
  3. If I want people to value and pay me for what I specialize in, I need to return the favor.
  4. In order to grow a business, you have to learn to trust the capability and integrity in others.

I also realized that I never intended to be my own worst boss; working myself 24/7 just wasn’t good for anyone. Me, myself and I considered going on strike for the long, insufferable hours without overtime pay or additional benefits.

I quickly started shedding hats. Paying a graphic artist to design my logo. Hiring a web designer to create my web site. Allowing a social media specialist to handle my growing number of accounts. Contracting a part-time person to help identify new marketing opportunities and more modern apps and platforms the business should be utilizing.

Was I spending more money? Without a doubt, yes. A lot more money. Did it offer me additional benefits? Absolutely! I was no longer working round the clock. I was no longer doing things that weren’t really my forte. In the end I started making more money since my time was being spent strictly servicing my clients and seeking out new ones. And the ultimate benefit: my limited number of hats and I have a lot more time to enjoy ourselves and participate in life –  and THAT’S why I went into business for myself.