zen and the art of small business

Daruma dolls have their genesis with the father of Zen Buddhism...

daruma dolls are a tangible reminder of the enlightement achieved by the father of zen buddhism. (photo credit :: american express open)

as this recent article on goal setting astutely pointed out, "it's not that people don't know how to set a goal.   it's that they have a hard time keeping it."

i was drawn to this article because of its title (referring to "zen luck"),  and was especially pleased to learn about the significance of the daruma doll in japanese culture.  apparently, daruma dolls are  given to individuals taking on a new challenge or direction (which can include starting a new venture or setting a significant goal).    at the start of this journey, the recipient of the doll makes a wish and paints in one eye (usually the left).  the other eye is painted when the goal is achieved.

Children of the 1970's, do you remember "weebles" ("weebles wobble but they won't fall down")?  the creator of the weeble must have been a zen practitioner, as weebles are just like a well-made daruma doll -- "bouncing back to regain its balance, and symbolizing an undaunted spirit and recovery from misfortune."

We have a quotation hanging in the zen bungalow that reads "failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again.  -- henry ford."   i guess ford was a zen practitioner, too.    whether you're a successful capitalist or enlightened buddhist monk, however, the lesson remains the same.

in pursuit of our goals, we will be knocked over.  many times.  the key to achieving our goals lies in reminding ourselves to emulate daruma.   happy 2011!

scenes from december's lunchtime office hours :: how to make small brands more profitable

december lunchtime office hours with the main street mentors (sm)

this month's lunchtime presentation added a bit of seasonal flair (click on the picture above to see more photos)

a capacity crowd for today's lunchtime office hours...  fellow zenster tom lanen, brand storyteller, held our attention by providing an excellent overview on the essential elements of a good brand, and how his company has helped many businesses become more profitable by re-focusing on what matters most.

the icing on the cake (so to speak), were the wonderful shortbread cookies provided by quebrada baking (tom's client)...  not only were they "fresh, fresh, fresh," but also among some of the most decadently delicious desserts ever to pass these lips.  too bad all of the main street mentors don't have clients with such tasty treats...  (does anyone out there work with lamborghini?  if so, we need to talk...)

does your business have any employees besides yourself?  if so, you should plan on joining us for next month's lunchtime office hours.  pattie sinacole of first beacon group will demystify the "alphabet soup" of regulations around employment.  more info and registration is available on-line at :: http://msv.eventbrite.com

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