Why should you always have a YES in your lips

Have you ever had the feeling that your day to day has become a routine?

Have you wished for new opportunities, situations and experiences?

200524590-001

Here is the good news: its in your hands!

Some time ago, I was exactly in that situation. There was absolutely no way to get into changes with everyday tasks simply sucking the time.

Until I decided that had to change.

Poste de señales

So I set an appointment with myself during one hour (more on time management in another post), sat at a terrace sipping a coffe and outlined what I needed:

– New experiences: the only way to know about things is to dip your toe (or maybe jump into it!)

– Free or very low cost activities: it was not possible to devote much money to the initiative

– With people: wanted to make it a social project. Hint: this came after thinking “I don’t get so see my friends as often as I would like”…does that ring a bell?

So with this 3 simple and driven ideas, I tunned my radar for opportunities.

BU005352

And not many days after, I started finding associations, websites, newsletters for my city, quarter and area.

You would be AMAZED about how many people start projects to help people out.

grupo con señal

Great, now we have the what and the price (most for free).

Now I needed to engage people…how do I that?

By surprising them.

niña sorprendida

E-mail, whatsapp, phone, text messages…we live in the era of communication!

So I started contacting people that I knew and wanted to catch up with them, things like:

“Hey, haven’t heard from you in a long time! Are you free this [insert the day the activity happens]. If you are, lets meet at [easy location] at [convenient time]”.

You know what happened?

100% of the time answered saying “But to do what?”

See? The first concern was not availability…but the contents.

“Its a surprise. If you’re free, I’d love you’d follow along”.

And in most cases, people would agree.

Where did I take them?

Well, I took into account what I knew of these people:

– A friend is very much into the social arts, so I took her to a Modern Art Museum. I know NOTHING about modern art. And it happens she knows quite a bit… So I got to not only spend quality time with a friend but also learned a lot about art and how to look at things.

modern art

– Another, I took to Barcelona’s Picasso Museum. Neither of us are much into this kind of painting, but it so happened neither had ever been there and we found a really nice coffe place near by and probably enjoyed more the coffee than the actual visit.

200483817-001

What learning do you think I got from this experience?

Don’t sit back and wait for life to happen: take a step forward and do things

So next time you feel like you don’t like a situation:

  • make an appointment with yourself
  • figure the couple essential things you want
  • Start NOW. No day like today!

boton start

Lets us know how your projects go by leaving a comment or tweeting @growthhunter

Personal Tour Guide

Have you ever encountered a person that went above and beyond their duty?

It happened to me a Christmas, whilst on vacation in a Center European country with my family.

200286128-001

Since those days are prone to museums and similar being closed, we booked a tour in a near by location to go and visit a historical site.

The tour included transport and tour guide for the whole trip.

Have you ever come across a person who is really really passionate about their work?

This guide is.

turista en el tejado

Most of us would not be able to go to the same places day in day out and continue to convey that passion, knowledge and magical atmosphere just like the first day.

Historical dates, famous names and remarcable locations are a matter of memory.

Having the eye to give everybody a personalized snip, pointing out what seems to interest most of the group and actually cutting some things short in order to have more time for demanded explanations…that is a virtue.

One this guide is VERY good at.

turista señalando

Not only did she provide a unique experience to her customers but she was tremendously helpful suggesting ideas for the next days.

A few months later I took up her offer that if I ever went back ring her up and she would show me around the capital: it was a blast again!

Just a few weeks ago she happened to be over at Barcelona, let me know and I tried to return the favour: she promises it was a great tour and that she learned many things she didn’t expect.

What started as a traditional tour turned out into an opportunity to share a passion: learning more of people, cultures and cities abroad.

200402665-001

Has this happened to you? Do you also share the passion of learning new things?

Let us know in the comments or twitter!

The right house in the right time

We’ve all been through it.

It’s one of those nasty habits we have: we like food, sleep and… shelter. Yeah, such vice ridden people, aren’t we?

200437082-001

So lets presume you’ve looked or are looking for a house/flat/apartment/basement…whatever you think suits your needs.

Most people (surprisingly EVEN when having experience) think that once you decide you want/need to move, its a chicken run to find the best deal possible.

For the record: I’ve also done that…guilty as pleaded.

So you start hitting the internet, the newspapers, ads in local press, bumper stickers and basically keep an eye open for every single opportunity.

Boy…is that TIRING! Time consuming and usually fruitless.

So here is my sugestion…sharing what happened the last time I had to look for a house.

I set a per month top mark I would not go beyond FOR ANY reason. It was below what I could actually go to…but decided that if my budget was X, take 10-15% off that for “just in case”.

With that number fixed, I worked out how many months deposit + agency fees + [insert your local partice]… and that gives you another number.

THAT is the number you need to work for in the first place. Let’s call it entry fee.

Doesn’t matter if I find the Taj Majal for the montly fee I fixed…if you haven’t yet saved the entry fee, you’re going to be in a TOUGH situation right from the start.

While working for the entry fee…define properly your criteria. It doesn’t have to get too specific (unless you’re a feng shui follower), but you do need to know:

  1. How many rooms (kids? hobby space? At house office?)
  2. Location (need to park a car? two? Need metro or bus to commute?)
  3. Aditional restrictions (pets? elevator mandatory?)

So, now we have a budget, an entry fee, a pretty good idea of what we need…and you can probably work most of this out in a couple hours if you are REALLY picky about details ( disclosure: I really like Excel and spreadsheets!).

Pick up a piece of paper and draw something like this:

Price Rooms Location Aditional Others
House 1 400 1 Good Pets water included
House 2 500 2 Good Pets none
House 3 600 3 Excellent No pets none

If you put the places you find in this matrix it will be a no brainer to decide.

And here is where you can actually take it a step further: have a positive attitude. Don’t rush it, don’t push your self-defined boundaries.

You’ve thought out your plan nicely and with calm…don’t change your criteria just because the circumstances push you to a rash decision. Stick to your guns!

Resist temptation

In my case…location was very important.

So when I had managed to get my entry fee, I spent a few hours crunching the internet and preparing a matrix like the one above.

All of the 15 items I had prepared to call on monday morning belonged to agencies…except 1. It had a cell number…which I decided to ring up on that Sunday afternoon.

Guess what…he picked up.

I saw the flat on Monday.

Closed the deal on Tuesday.

Started moving on Wednesday.

Know your plan, stick to it, focus and if it fits to your most relevant criteria…jump to it with a smile and an attitude!

What do you think? Have you had similar experiences? Leave a comment or tweet and let us know 🙂

I’ll be glad to share my time

Turistas en Barcelona triIf you live in a city which the tourists visit regularly you will probably relate to this situation: individuals or small groups staring into their folded maps, checking the bus stops or trying to decifer the Underground charts.

Most of us don’t pay much attention to them, since we’re rushing somewhere or think they will figure their way around or…its simply not our business.

Wrong.

It is.

Not only does it improve the tourist’s experience of our city (which means they will probably suggest their friends to come over and visit…hence starting a virtuous circle) but most importantly…

When you’re helping people, you’re opening up yourself for opportunities, usually unforseen.

Let me share an experience.

Some years ago I was taking a train within Barcelona from work to my Supply Chain Management Master’s Degree. June, nice weather, finally Friday and simply staring through the window.

A couple of seats away, this young guy was studying his map…and from the look of his face he wasn’t happy.

Knowing the final station was approaching and commute from there is pretty bad, I walked up to him as asked if I could help. At first he refused politely but when he saw my big smile and that the offer was honest…he confessed: he knew how to get to the place but had plenty of time and wanted to enjoy a walk.

To keep it short, I offered he walked with me a bit and from where I left him he would have a straight easy path along one of the best beaches in Barcelona:

barceloneta

Along the 20 minute walk we shared about job market in Europe (him being German) and common situations our generations face. I left him with my phone number in case he needed something and didn’t think back: it had been a very pleasant time and simply enjoyed it.

To my surprise, the next day I got a text message thanking me for the tour and directions…and an invitation to a football match that evening!

Myself I’m not a great football fun, but my partner at the moment is…so I asked if both of us could go. It turned out we could and had a blast both at the game and in the dinner after, where I got to meet more German people friends of his.

Think about it: is there something in the story that you think is really odd? Something bizarre or uncommon?

Or do you see yourself nodding, feeling its just common sense and going with the natural flow of sharing and helping?

How many opportunities can you actually spot? Can you actually name who benefitted from the whole situation or is it just common growth for everybody?

Share your thoughts in the comments below, tweet them and follow the blog if youre interested in more Growth!