I finally returned from 20 days of traveling the US, speaking, facilitating meetings, meeting with my board of directors and attending a marketing conference with over 3000 other entrepreneurs.
It was an amazing three weeks of ideas but, honestly, my best learning came in the last eight days while I was laid up with a cast on my leg.
A few days after I returned from travel, I headed to my local orthopedist’s office for some long-overdue surgery on my ankle. It was nothing big – just cleaning out some junk from an old injury.
The recovery period, though, requires 10 days in a cast with no weight bearing on the cast at all. That means crutches.
The thing about crutches is that you lose your ability to carry anything in your hands.
And, if your house is like mine, it means the steep stairs up to the second-floor bathroom look like Mt. Everest.
But here’s the thing.
Despite all the obstacles, I still have certain things that need to be done every day.
I have to eat so that means figuring out how to prepare food and transport it to a table where I can eat it. It also means figuring out how to clean up after meal prep.
I have to bathe so it means figuring out how to get up the stairs, into the tub (and back out!) and into clean clothes that are in the room down the hall.
I have to take care of the dogs so it means figuring out how to leap up to open the door for my geriatric dog who, when she asks, really needs to go out right away. It also means figuring out feeding and watering them as well.
I have to work so it means solving the problem of transporting computer, cords, phone, pillows and other gear from place to place in the house.
In short, life is very, very different this week. Every thing I took for granted with two good legs and two available arms is now something I have to think about doing.
But, you know what? It has been an amazing week.
All week long I have been forced to re-evaluate the way I eat, sleep, work and live. I have had to get creative and discover new ways to do old things.
For example, the biggest challenge I faced right off the bat was – how do I make coffee and then get it over to the couch where I want to work?
My first bit of inspiration came when I realized I could get my wheeled office chair into the kitchen and scoot around on the tile floor with ease. Now I can whiz back and forth through the kitchen, collecting all my coffee supplies!
Once I figured out how to prepare the coffee, the next challenge was how to get a cup of steaming hot liquid across the twelve-foot expanse of carpet that lies between my tiled kitchen floor and the couch.
After a little bit of puzzling, I grabbed my travel mug out of the cabinet, filled it with delicious coffee and rolled to the edge of the carpet. Then I slid down onto my knees, grabbed the cup in my hand and GI Joe crawled across the room to my sofa.
Effective? Hell yes.
Sometimes you just have to tap into your inner MacGyver and get the job done with whatever scraps you have laying around.
So, what on earth does all this have to do with business and making sales?
Actually, quite a lot.
You see, the forced creativity in my physical actions has lead to increased creativity in my business actions.
In the past week I have written one of the biggest and best proposals of my career. I have also written some of the best marketing copy of my life as well. On top of that, I’ve been a productivity machine.
There is something about being out of my routine that has jolted my brain into overdrive.
Not only that, but I was compelled to do something that I absolutely hate, hate, hate to do.
Even though is very, very, very good for me.
I had to ask for help.
I hate asking for help. I’m an independent entrepreneur and I am convinced I can handle it all on my own.
Except that I can’t always. So I have to ask others to step in and help me out.
One of my friends has been a dream, helping out when I got a nasty cold last week and couldn’t even get out of bed for a day. She cleaned up after the dogs, fed me, carried things for me and even changed and washed my bed linens.
Other friends called and got me out to dinner at a restaurant so I wasn’t stuck in the house going mad from cabin fever.
Other friends have gone grocery shopping for me and brought over delicious homemade meals.
Sometimes, you have to swallow your pride, check your ego at the door and just ask other people to give you a hand.
If your week is going along as usual and you need a little shakeup in your routine, I don’t suggest going so far as to grab crutches and see what happens. However, you can do little things to mix up your routines.
Here are a few ideas to get your brain in a new groove:
Do things with your non-dominant hand – Try brushing your teeth or eating or opening doors with your other hand. If you want a big challenge, try eating with chopsticks with your non-dominant hand!
Drive a new way to work – If you go to an office, take a completely different route tomorrow morning. Take back roads, go the long way around and take streets you have never been on before.
Flip-flop your desk – Move everything on the right side of your desk to the left and vice-versa. If you can, move all the stuff in your top drawers as well.
These little routine-busters will kick your brain into creativity mode. This translates into new ways of seeing just about everything from your prospecting to your selling skills and presentations.
Give it a try this week and let me know how it goes.