Special Projects is the most popular of the services I offer. People call me to fill in where the demands of their business don’t quite meet their resources (time, energy, money, etc) available. Fitting I was an Economics major in college. They often ask:
- “Can you pick this up for me?”
- “Can you be with this person for a couple hours?”
- “Can you attend this trade show to help promote my product?”
- “Can you work my Farmer’s Market booth this afternoon?”
I once heard a doctor who said: “It is much more powerful when someone asks for help as opposed to giving them something or telling them what to do.” Not to say that I don’t offer help or just do it. In fact, the business development service I provide is often commission based. I spend a lot of time that isn’t ever reimbursed. Furthermore, many of the tasks are straightforward. However, the most satisfaction is gained by both parties when I am asked to do something and I do it. I don’t always do it or even do it the way they want it. As Pat Benatar said in her 2010 autobiography, “I am living a fantasy on stage and hope to bring people along for it, but I do it on my terms”. For me, I hope to pull a rabbit out of a hat and hope my clients are there to see it and gain from it.
I am not sure where Special Projects came from in my line of work, but one of my earliest memories came when I was 12. Now, you may have heard me speak of the exercise that Michael Ray of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business used in his Creativity in Business course (the most popular course at the time). It recommends one look back into one’s childhood for a spiritual event that happened which give clue(s) into what profession would be suitable for you. The Native Americans looked for clues from their young and it usually happens pre-puberty age. Well, when I was 12, I was told I was going to stay with my Grandmother on Cape Cod, all the way from California. It seemed ok at the time. When I arrived, I became increasingly homesick. Looking back, was I going for me or for my Grandmother or to appease my Mother or what? I had never been away from my family, let alone the wonderful property I grew up on. It didn't matter that I was on another wonderful property. I would call my Mom begging her to send me home. My Uncles would visit as well as my cousins. They took me lobster'ing and fishing.
To cope, I began to run into the forest past the studio that was on the property all the way to the freeway. It was healing and a relief, although I didn’t know it at the time. When I am on a special project, I have a habit of becoming enmeshed which serves a purpose of seeing what works and what doesn’t work. It is what separates me from the competition, in my opinion, and I do it hopefully with some experience, knowledge and know-how, along with seeking guidance when necessary. However, to protect myself and not get caught up into another’s process, I work on ways to heal. I do it “on my own terms” and more and more with focus, so to speak, and hopefully be a model since business owners can use their own experiences to grow and heal. I made it through the trip with my Grandmother and have fond memories of it. My Aunt also helped by modeling hard work, although I resisted it at the time. Manual tasks like raking leaves are something I did a lot of growing up on a property with Oak Trees. The trip might have been cut short a bit, but it was a learning experience. I did other odd projects like that, including taking care of an elderly man who suffered a stroke. Maybe these times are where the special projects began. Plus, my Mother gave me lists to do. I asked for lists so I knew exactly what was expected. Clients want something tangible such as a website or a product sold. Hence, special projects are a way to receive something tangible. Plus, it helps me learn more about the business, which often leads to valuable information in case Consulting is needed.