But regardless of your sci-fi affections, I think there is one universal truth that we can agree on – Yoda is one cool dude, and one who can teach us all a thing or two.
I remember seeing “The Empire Strikes Back” in the theater when I was 10. The anticipation mounted as our hero Luke Skywalker escaped the clutches of the evil Darth Vader and sought out the Jedi wisdom of the Jedi Master Yoda. “Wow,” I remember thinking to myself, “this Yoda guy is going to be one all-American space hero!”
The moment came when Yoda finally revealed himself to us and – wait a minute, Yoda is a little green muppet!!?? (With some serious subject/predicate sentence structure issues, I might add).
But as we got to know Yoda better through the remainder of the movie, and remaining sequels as well, we came to learn that indeed Yoda has a lot we all could learn from. If he’s not the original zen-master, he certainly at least ranks near the top.
And that’s kind of the point. Erase all preconceptions, erase what you think you know, observe and learn.
And when you think about it, isn’t that kind of what running a business is all about? Lets take a look at some of Yoda’s more famous quotes, and see how they relate to running a business.
"Try not. Do or do not. There is no try." This quote is perhaps my favorite. In current language it probably translates in to something along the lines of “Get’er done.” When my five-year-old gets frustrated at something he can’t do he always reverts to “Well I tried.” In business “tried” isn’t good enough. It’s the results that matter. Just because achieving sales goals may be difficult, or excavating into a stone hillside may seem a bit overwhelming doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It just means the methods need to be re-evaluated. Either it gets done, or it doesn’t. In the end, the effort doesn’t matter.
"Size matters not, ... Look at me. Judge me by size, do you?" As a small business owner I think we all can relate to this one. In today’s world of big box store chains and large corporations we are constantly bombarded with advertising and marketing telling us why we need the services of these chains (even if we often don’t). And as business owners I think sometimes we feel the need to grow to compete with the big boys. Personally, I like to think smaller is better. More responsive, more attention to detail, more levels of personal service. As long as we’re doing what we set out to do, does it really matter what the size is?
"Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering." Working backwards on this quote, as business owners we certainly don’t want to suffer. We certainly don’t want to hate what we do. And we certainly don’t want to get angry when things don’t go our way. We can’t be afraid to offer new services or new products, and we can’t be afraid that things won’t turn out the way we want them to. Be confident in what you do. If you’re not, then prepare or train more until the confidence is there.
"Always in motion is the future." I’m a big proponent of choices, in life and contracting. And I always say that the choices we make today will affect what happens to you tomorrow. The point of this quote is that we control the future through our actions, and what choices we make today. You shouldn’t choose one material or product over another strictly based on price, you need to be prepared to enjoy those materials well into the future. You shouldn’t increase your advertising budget if you’re not prepared for the additional business. You shouldn’t increase staffing if you’re not prepared for the additional payroll burden. Always in motion is the future, indeed. The good news is we have a say in that motion.
“[Luke:] I can’t believe it. [Yoda:] That is why you fail.” You never heard Steve Jobs say he couldn’t believe Apple was successful. You never hear Steven Spielberg act surprised when one of his movies cleans up at the Oscars. And you never hear Roy Halliday act surprised when he pitches a great game. Successful people and businesses expect to be successful. They’ve trained for it, they’ve worked at it, and they’ve prepared for it. Believe it.
For more Jedi wisdom, or simply to inquire about landscape construction services, please feel free to give us a call.
And if you’re looking for a quality landscape contractor, I might add one final Yoda pearl of wisdom: “Looking? Found someone you have…”