Given the choice, I’d be Sleeping Beauty. An idyllic childhood living with ‘aunties’ in a forest, before a single slightly uncomfortable encounter with a spinning wheel and a sleep for 100 years. Awakened by the kiss of the prince, to live happily ever after. Got to be better than being a skivvy for years on end for ugly stepsisters or having to live in a cabin with 7 small, strange men.
In the days before DVD and Netflix, a child’s choice of television viewing was dependent on the four channels available and things that your mum had taped onto VHS over Christmas. These tapes would be hidden inside cases that looked like antique book volumes, and unless someone was canny enough to label them, you spent more time opening the box to find the tape you wanted, than watching the film itself. You had to remember to rewind the tape when you had finished watching, and hope that the end hadn’t been chopped off by trying to fit a 3 hour film onto a 2 hour tape.
Inside the leatherette cases you were likely to find:
Mary Poppins, Sound of Music, Bed knobs and Broomsticks, Annie, Oliver and anything else that had a feel good factor and a catchy tune. Watched time after time, fast-forwarding through the adverts if mum hadn’t sat and taken them out at time of recording. This led to my sister and I being able to recite large portions of dialogue as well as singing along to the music which must have driven our parents batty. I loved Mary Poppins and just wanted to be her, so magical and so many adventures – whilst so properly turned out, I even considered being a nanny at one point in my teens.
These films were great, but also were long. Most of them were over 2 hours long, which except in times of inclement weather, or on the Saturday afternoons where we just needed to be out of the way just couldn’t be squeezed in to your average day. This being that like most people we had only one TV and by default kids watched what the parents wanted to watch. So this left just enough room for:
Disney Cartoon films
Back when it was a choice between Winnie the Pooh, Jungle Book, or various Princess options ( Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White etc.) there was no technical wizardry or CGI to keep your attention. It was all down to the magic of the story, with something for adults and children and usually some sort of moral message thrown in. Most of the films follow a similar pattern:
- Meet main (hero) character and set scene
- Bad thing happens – usually instigated by another character with a grudge (the baddie)
- Problem is resolved – a prince appears and removes the baddie (or takes away their power)
- They all live Happily ever after.
Sounds great, and just like real life.
You get your life (or business) just ticking along nicely, and then something happens to throw a spanner in the works – along comes the baddie.
Suddenly you have a problem, and the worst thing is that often the baddie, is you. We can be our own worst enemies, sometimes sub-consciously sabotaging our hard work. Maybe, because in a typically British way, we are frightened of being too successful.
So what happens then?
We need a prince to come in and save the day? Maybe. If you’re lucky. But when that might be, who knows? Do you want to have to wait and see? No. We need to find a way to solve our own problems – and ideally a strategy that we can learn from, so that you don’t get caught out again.
Then it can all tick along nicely again, until the next time a baddie raises its head.
How to fight off your own baddies
Try to identify in your life and your business all the possible problems you could have. Things that could prevent you being successful make a massive list, of everything you think of, no matter how weird or remote the possibility. Next try to grade them according to the following, write the corresponding letter code next to each.
H – High impact if this happens
m – minimal impact
L – Likely to happen
u –unlikely to happen.
Some people like to put the info into a quadrant diagram, but personally I think that re-writing it all on the diagram is time you could have spent actually dealing with one of the issues on your list!
So for a shop selling artisan sun cream, your list could look like this:
Stock lorry does not arrive on time: H / L
It is raining today and looks like it will continue all week: H / L
Newspapers report sun cream does not work / gives you spots / gives you diabetes: H / u
Customer asks for a refund and your staff don’t know what to do: m / u
Shelves collapse, stock falling to the ground, maybe causing injury to someone: H / u
Shoplifters clear shelves of stock: H / L
Staff do not come in to work on time or are off sick: H / u etc.
Next you need to look at providing a contingency plan, for those that will have the most impact and are most likely to happen. Concentrate on the H/L ones first, as by preparing for or avoiding these is a good way of managing risk.
You may want to use a stock management system so that missing one delivery is not catastrophic to your supply.
You may need to sort out an alarm / tagging system, or a security camera – or just put out one of each product and keep the rest in a drawer out of sight.
You may even choose to sell umbrellas too!
Being prepared is not just a motto for Boy Scouts!
The same goes for your personal life.
Do you have contingency plans in place for childcare if you’re working and they can’t go to school? Self-employed people cannot necessarily work from home, and losing a day working in your business at short notice could have a massive impact.
What about emergency savings for car repairs or a new washing machine? Or to tide you over and pay your bills if you have a quiet time of year, or if you lose your job?
What happens if you get seriously ill and cannot work? Do you have the correct insurance in place to ensure that your home is safe and you have money to live on whilst you recuperate?
The list goes on.
If you need a hand with your list, you know where I am…
…and for those of you who are still thinking about Disney princesses, I’ll leave you with one question.
If I’m Sleeping Beauty, then the name of my prince is?