Simple =/= Easy [Day 23/365]

Sheralyn Pratt 23/365
SIMPLE is not the same as EASY. Simple things are often the most difficult things you'll ever do.

I was talking with a client today about the difference between simple and easy when it came to workflow systems. It got me thinking…

We often use the words “simple” and “easy” interchangeably, but they have different meanings.

For example, keeping a house clean is simple but that does not mean it is easy. Conversely, asking to clean their rooms is easy but might not be that simple.

Systems are amazing tools (in the workplace and anywhere else) because they work whether the people operating them know what they’re accomplishing, or not. All everyone has to do is play their part and the end-goal is achieved.

To this end, you need to simplify things to create a working system. This is not to say you are asking people to do things that are easy along the way, simply things that need to be done.

I know there is a lot that can be said on this topic, but I just wanted to make a note of this aspect as something that played a part in my day: Seeking ease to get things going in a moment is not always what your business needs.

Then again, sometimes a little momentum is what you need — especially when first starting out. There are all sorts of things to learn while finding easy ways to do things 😉

But, as a rule, simple is better than easy. Especially, if you have a system.

Finding Your Branding “I am” Statement [Day 21/365]

Insignia flower

A brand is more than a label. It’s a promise to everyone who invests in you. This is why it’s important to be clear about what you stand for as a company, and what people get every time they deal with you.

Some people are very good at defining themselves on this core level, while others find stepping into bold claims a little more slippery. (Hint: If you’re one of these people, chances are you’re smart and using your intelligence to engage in “what if”-isms that leave you paralyzed and uncertain, while people who are less thoughtful zoom past you with confidence. It takes the time that it takes to define yourself, but don’t “what if” yourself out of your own truth.)

Building a brand requires an “I am” statement on behalf of your company. When you put your uniform on, who are you? What do you do? How can people count on you?

If you can infuse all that into a symbol people remember, then you are on your way to leaving your mark in this world.

Finding Your Vintage [Day 20/365]

Day 20/365. Sheralyn Pratt
All who hang a shingle
bring a vintage to
their hometown

This post is going up a day late because yesterday was more of a Behind the Scenes day where there’s really nothing to share with the class … yet.

But I was thinking about all the towns I’ve driven into across the years and how many of them are just strip malls anymore. I’m always a little bummed when a small town turns out to be a franchise outpost, and more than a little amped when I find some quirky spot with well-loved stores.

So that’s where this thought comes from, along with a shout out to all of you who have ever hung a shingle out in this world.

Anyone who’s built a business can tell you that it is an emotional rollercoaster. Until you master the fine art of turning idealistic visions into budgeted business decisions, even small decisions can feel like a mountain of a molehill.

It takes a while to get your business legs and, truth be told, not everyone is built to turn their passion into a sustainable business. Most of us much prefer to deliver on an amateur’s schedule — choosing when and how we show up and limiting deliveries to audiences we are comfortable with.

This is one of the reasons banks prefer to provide business loans to people who are rather dispassionate about their product. Because they want to invest in businesses that are positioned to capitalize and profit, not passion projects with motivations that can cool based on mood.

Yet if you are truly hanging out a shingle and putting your name out there, it’s because you feel you can fill a niche in a market that currently isn’t hitting its mark. You can do it better, which makes you wonder if you can compete with what big business is churning out.

To compete, you’ll need to do new things at uncomfortable speeds and terrifying heights, while sharing a stage with polished professionals who don’t miss a trick. It’s intimidating. And it’s easy to buy into imposter syndrome — especially when learning how to deliver what you do on a scale when everyone around already seems to have everything nailed down.

You’ve always got to learn, observe, adjust, repeat — improving every day.

Building a brand a process of curation, as much so as making cheese or wine or developing a crop. It takes some time and the novice tries to invest too much up-front.

But to all those who make it through this daunting gauntlet to build your brand and establish your reputation, I salute you.

Keep being you and keep leaving your mark.

New Profile Pic and a “Thanks!” to ZuluSix [Day 19/365]

I have to thank Chris at ZuluSix for cleaning up my insignia. It’s SO much more fun to play with now that all the rough edges are off.

I made this picture while playing, and now I’m pretty sure I want it to be my profile picture until I can get a picture up on my wall. And if I want it my wall at home, might as well post it on my digital one, right?

Either way, enjoy my new profile pic!

Sheralyn Pratt insignia eye.

Procrastination and Unforced Errors [Day 18/365]

You know when you miss a deadline you didn’t need to miss?

When life hands you a chance to deliver and you don’t even swing and miss?

You just sit there … thinking. Then you put something off for later that could just as easily be done now.

I did that yesterday. I had plenty of things to do and plenty of options for thoughts I could post to stay on track in my goals, but I got up in my head on other things on my To-Do List and got a bit overwhelmed.

And posted nothing.

And, as I fell asleep last night, this phrase spun in my head as the thought to post first as I play catch up today:

Procrastination is fear saving itself for later.
Day 18 of 365. Sheralyn Pratt

I now need to put the work of 2 days into one to stay on schedule, and I did it to myself because I chose to be overwhelmed instead of doing what needed to be done yesterday.

Isn’t that fun?

(Spoiler alert: It’s not. And that’s why I post this thought for both of us — in case it helps the next procrastination raises its hand like it has a good idea. Just bit the bullet in the moment and don’t let it dogpile stress into the future.)

So I share this thought with you, in case it helps, and wish you the best in whatever you’ve got going. My advice? Do what you can do now, and stay away from the Snooze button.

P.S.: Those of you with sharp eyes may have noticed that Chris at ZuluSix has cleaned up my insignia. I’ll post a larger, clearer image of it in the future, but just wanted to give a shout out to him now and validate any of you who can see the difference even at its current size. So. Much. Better! Thank you, Chris!!!

Growing Pains [Day 17/365]

The first time I say things, it can take an hour. Sometimes, longer.

To make for this, I like to find ways to say things simply the next time around and that’s where thoughts like this come from.

Day 17/365: Sheralyn Pratt
To grow is to leave an old form behind to embrace the shape of something new.

Whether you’re growing as a person or decluttering your home, or trying a new hobby, or doing anything that requires growth, I think it’s good to remember that you need to shed habits, thoughts, and even physical things on the path to getting where you’re going. And there’s nothing sad about that.

It’s all just part of the process of revealing the authentic you.

Merry-Go-Round in Time [Day 16/365]

A critique I get from editors is that I can be a bit too economical when dishing out words. Today’s meme is an example of where I feel I might be guilty of that.

So let me explain.

Based on my life’s experience so far, I’ve always felt that there was a merry-go-round aspect to accepting different challenges in life. If you really need to learn something, you don’t get to dodge it like a bullet and be done with it forever.

No. The universe doesn’t work that way.

If you need to learn something and dodge the lesson like a ninja, that lesson is going to start orbiting until you figure out how to stop attracting it. So, like a merry-go-round, lessons start circling around and keep giving us more riding opportunities.

Sometimes, we learn things quickly. Other times, it takes a couple of tries — or maybe our whole lives — before wisdom kicks in. And, once it does, it’s easy to bemoan that things didn’t happen sooner in retrospect. But the truth is that it took exactly how long it needed for you to accept something new, and nobody knows that better than you … even if you’d wish to alter your learning curve in retrospect.

After all, it’s easy to critique a race when you’re standing on the finish line; it’s quite another to tell someone who’s mid-race to just be done already.

We all like to hurry progress, but it takes the time that it takes to get on and back off the merry-go-round. It just does. Because it takes the time that it takes because everything is learned in time.

Beacons & Harbors [Day 15/365]

Today’s thought is not new by any stretch of the imagination. It’s pretty much evergreen across generations:

Stand tall and shine bright in ways that make it easy to find you.

It’s literally what you’re here to do. It’s what everyone is here to do. We’re supposed to combine our individual glories and work together to find magical ways to build a world we want to live in.

Or … not. We can also be petty, point fingers, hide our beauty behind a wall of defensive tactics, and weaponize our shadows.

It’s amazing how often humanity chooses the latter. It really is. Yet to leave the darkness behind, all we need to do is start shining our light and, like a lighthouse in a storm, be a beacon.

It’s that simple. Now if only it were just as easy 😉

Snow Drops in Red [Day 14/365]

Drawing of snow drops by Sheralyn Pratt. Day 14 of 365

In all my life, this might be my favorite thing I’ve ever drawn — not because it’s oh-so-great that I won’t be revisiting it later in a second draft.

Because I’ll definitely be doing that.

The reason I love this picture is for all the things I learned while drawing it. I won’t lecture you on what that is because what I need to learn and what you need to learn may be different. And the only way to learn and improve is to do the thing and keep doing it.

Just like writing, art takes the time that it takes and there often aren’t shortcuts, just better tools and techniques. And I currently have terrible tools (for what I need) and rudimentary techniques.

Let’s see how much of that changes in the next year, shall we?

If you have any recommendations, feel free to share!