I recently saw a picture in which there was two women’s photographs side by side. One had a woman with an oxygen bottle with the hose running to her nose, she was standing in her walker, wearing a house dress her gray hair all frazzled and looking like a 100+-year-old woman just waiting for death. Next to this photo was a picture of a gray-haired older woman with a bathing suit on, smiling vibrantly, looking like she had just gotten out of a pool, chest uplifted very much alive. The caption below these two photos said, “These women are about the same age.” The article that followed was titled: “Attitude is Everything.”
I was impressed because you can actually see the attitude of one woman engaged in living and the other woman with the attitude of waiting for death juxtaposed in the photos. So, while the word they used was “attitude,” I think “perception” has the larger part to play in this, because we perceive the inherent joy in life or we perceive the fear or pain.
With open perception, that is being neutral about what we are looking at, not judging it, we can see the reality of what is before us while others may still be wondering what is going on.
We can also see this lack of open perception causing much chaos in the world. It can also cause chaos in our personal or business worlds. That would be when our perceptions do not match that of another.
Often times we get excited about business prospects with great potential. We have a vision for where we want to take our business or how a proposed alliance may be mutually beneficial. Or we have a client who seems to have all of the qualifications of being the perfect fit for one of our products or services. We can tend to get swept away in the adrenaline of the possibilities. Sometimes what happens is that our perception becomes so focused on the potential that we can tend to miss the signals that reality is showing us.
I once had a client who told me of a vision she had to open up her own business. It was her first venture. She and her family were very excited to find a retail space in an ideal location and signed a lease, knowing they would have to make improvements to make the building work for her. They hired an architect and contractors so the construction could begin. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a good contract with either of them, so the work did not end up getting done in a timely manner and went way over budget. Issue after issue arose.
This was a case of a good-hearted person believing that people are going to do what you think they said they would do. This is where perception comes into play. You might believe that a person or company is going to do exactly what you have hired them to do. However, maybe your understanding of what they said they would do is different from what they actually said they would do. It is common for miscommunications or misunderstandings to occur. And sometimes unethical business practices can take place, even with the best of intentions. In business, that’s what contracts are for. They take everyone’s different perceptions and synthesize them into a clear document that everyone agrees upon.
Very simply put, a contract states: Who is doing what … for who … when … and for how much.
There are other things you can add to a contract to make it much more specific, but those are the basics. (Please contact a qualified attorney for more details.)
If you are considering entering into an agreement with any person or business, please do be sure to have a contract. Even just a Memorandum of Understanding will suffice. Whether you are preparing the contract yourself or signing one of theirs, be sure to read it over carefully and have it reviewed by a qualified attorney. And, if you are finding that someone you want to do business with is not willing or able for some reason to sign a contract prior to starting work, be very wary. In many circumstances, over my many years as an attorney, I have found that if they can’t sign the contract, there is often a bad ending to the story of the relationship.
When you shift your perception to creating a mutually beneficial result that all parties agree upon, via a solid plan like a contract, you end up with the power of all parties aiming toward the same result … success! Everyone knows what is expected of them and it makes it much easier to spend your time and energy making that vision happen, rather than wondering what happened.
As always, stay aware and alert to your perceptions. Attitude is everything, and your perceptions create your attitude.