Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Goals For 2013 -- It's That Time Again!

Last year around this time, I was on TV with Small Business Television host Susan Solovic talking about goal setting and expectations of 2012.  While some goals were met, others weren't.  It happens -- it's called Life.

As I posted in my The Monday Morning Memo of 1/2/2012, here were my goals for 2012.  I think it's fun to look back and see what I had planned.  I'll put a "Y" or "N" next to each one.

1. To be better at returning phone calls.  - N (goal for 2013)
2. To get my NEW website up and running. - Y (looks great Pam/Kristen!)
3. To reply faster to my emails! - Y (That's a YES)
4. To shoot more video of what we do and what we can do for you! - Y (not enough)
5. To be more interactive online (see #2) - Y (Pinterest!)
6. To keep the shop more tidy (Kirt's goal too)! - N (My wife screams)
7. To take better care of my personal health and well being. - Y (Do more!)
8. To be involved in more parades and community events. - Y
9. To be more active in the communities I serve. - N (More chamber events)
10. To exceed expectations of what customers expect from us! - Y (More Now!)
For 2013, some of the same goals, but now that I'm running things at home, a bit of a different perspective.
1.  Better turnaround time on computers.
2.  Reply to phone calls faster.
3.  Participate in more chamber events - Hampton, Waverly, Mason City
4.  Get a new video camera and justify it.
5.  Speak at more events.  I've got stories to tell!!
6.  Organize my shop.
7.  Organize my finances.
8.  Get healthy personally.
9.  Teach more computer classes.
10. Book more remote repair jobs!
I'm sure you have goals -- if you don't, set some!  You may be surprised on how it will change your outlook!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bottom Line -- 2012 Wasn't That Great

Well, I have to say that 2012 had it's high points, but a lot of low points.  I lost relatives, friends, customers, celebrities, switched gears on my business and our country went through a crippling election cycle that hurt us as a country and put a bigger wedge between us as humans.  The events of the past year are ranked more to importance, than chronological.  You'll understand why...
First, my mom of 48 years died in October.  This was a major blow as up to around Mid August, she was doing so well -- considering her 35 year battle with Multiple Sclerosis.  She had fallen in her apartment and hit her head and sort of "reactivated" the MS symptoms and never really recovered or got her strength back.  She was a fighter til the very end, as always.  She was 75.  Her funeral was one of the best funerals (if you can rate them) that I had ever been to.  I'd put it right up there with my Dad's funeral.  I have to give props to Pastor Corby Johnson of the Methodist Church.  What a great send off, with an emotional message, laced with funny stories and meaningful events of her life.
Second, Becky's Grandfather Harvey Krassin passed away in March.  I'd only known Harvey for about 8 years or so, but what a guy.  Always a smile on his face and I could always get him to laugh, especially if I had some Hostess Snowballs for him.  He lived such a full life, he was 91.  At 90, he "decided" to quit farming.  Also at age 90 we had a huge party for him.  I bet he's still smiling, what a tribute.  He will be missed at Christmastime this year.
Third, I lost some good friends.  My heart stopped and I was filled with sadness when my karaoke buddy and Kozy Korner friend John Fransen passed away.  Not a night goes by when I grab the microphone that I don't think about "John R," as we called him.  You really don't know much about a person until you go to their funeral.  For me, I always thought John was a bit of a loner, doing things his way, and not much connection with friends or family -- just on the corner bar stool singing with the jukebox.  I was mistaken.  He had a family that cared deeply for him and I still chat with them now and then and also consider them my friends.  Every now and then, when I sing a Neil Diamond song, I reflect back on John and how he helped me during a couple of Main Street events in Hampton.  He was the darling of the crowd.  I wish more people would have gotten to know him like I ended up knowing him.

Also, anyone involved in Cub Scouts, Webelos or Boy Scout in the mid 70's or early 80's probably had popcorn at Helmut & Dora Neuhaus' home.  If you drank coffee, the pot was always on with some lively conversation in the kitchen.  Dora passed away in August and it was like losing my third mom.  After my Mom and Step Mom, she was it.  Her son Dale was in my class and there's nothing she wouldn't do for him.  From 10th grade until my senior year, she would pick me up for school with Dale in the car as well.  She'd been in the nursing home for several years and so I lost contact with her.  I was saddened when I heard she passed away, yet a smile came to my face when I remembered all those times of eating popcorn at her house.  Scouting lost a good friend in Dora.
Fourth, I lost some good customer/friends.  I think back to the many times I stopped by Judy Winfrey's house to fix this or that on the computer, but ended up staying an extra half hour to listen to HER SIDE of what was going on in Hampton.  A one of a kind person who I always wanted make sure I was on the good side of.  2012 started out with her passing away, but I know that she's not forgotten.  I sat beside her at many council meetings and always had time to lend an ear.
Mary Towne was another great person who we lost in 2012.  I was also friends with her late husband Larry, who was quite a guy in his own right.  Like Judy, Mary was never shy about where she stood on the issues in Hampton and I found myself staying at her place a little longer because I think she just needed to vent.  I was shocked when I heard that she passed away, as I had been to her house the week before.
Hampton Superintendent James Alexander of Hampton passed away.  I wrote a couple of blogs about him.  A gentleman's gentleman and the definition of a class act.  To the end, always Mr. Alexander to me.
Ray Drew of Hampton passed away as well.  A Democrat and proud of it.  A fan of the library and a bigger fan of flying.  Our community lost a great friend in Ray Drew.
Roger Birdsall of Sheffield was someone who I wasn't as close to as I should have been, but always waved and chatted whenever I saw him.  He was my Dad's boss at Weldin's Ready Mix back in the late 70's and 80's.  I had a lot of respect for him.  Anyone who could corral my father and keep him in line on the job was a person you had to tip your hat to.  I saw Rog about 2 weeks before he passed away, and I'm glad I did.
Fifth, I think that as a society we get attached to some celebrities more than others.  Yes, I am sad that Whitney Houston died, but I grew up with Phyliss Diller, was held in suspense of "Who Killed JR?" with Larry Hagman, brought in every New Year with Dick Clark and weren't we all standing a just little taller when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon?   We lost the homespun humor of Andy Griffith, the abrasiveness of Sherman Hemsley as George Jefferson and who can forget the phrase "Survey Says......" of Richard Dawson?!  We lost some biggies in 2012....we really did.

A lesson I learned... Don't use "I Love You" as a deathbed confession.  Say it more often.
Next in October, I transitioned my business back to my home.  I was wise enough to know that some of the customer base was counting on Home Service and I'm all about customer service.  We had a good run downtown, but happier that I can still provide the same service at home than in the downtown environment. 
Finally, no matter which way you voted, I think our country didn't come out as well as it could have.  I'm not stating that because President Obama won that this occurred, it was just the mudslinging before the election that hurt us as a people.  No one respects the office anymore and we all lose.
2013, you HAVE to be better.  I have my wife, family and friends. More importantly, I have faith -- and I hope others do as well.  I welcome you with open arms 2013.....if we make it past 12/21/2012.