I love a parade

IMG_0696It is my privilege to attend an annual 4th of July parade that defines what small town celebrations are all about. Each year, we anticipate representatives from all modes of transportation – tractor, truck, car, horse. We cheer loudly for the bands and the veterans. We vie for the free water and hotdogs, and the kids risk life and limb to retrieve candy from the street.

I love this parade. Its main asset is that it changes little from year to year, and let me tell you, there is much comfort in predictability.

Here are some of this year’s highlights:

The mammoth is looking a little warm. He probably wasn’t meant for this weather.

IMG_0673 There is a lot of liberty going on here.

IMG_0694

All the emergency vehicles are in the parade, so don’t light the barbecue until it’s over.

IMG_0675

Not sure which I like best – the mariachi band or the polka band (I have an inherited love of mariachi music, but this is a Grammy-winning polka band, I kid you not!)

bands The guys in the little cars hope the parade never ends.

IMG_0685

At times, the pacing could have used a little attention.

IMG_0684

Nothing to say here.

bunny

I think I was this car in another life.

IMG_0695

The water ski team is taking no chances this year.

IMG_0681

Belated best wishes to those of you for whom the 4th is the holiday of the summer. Hope you celebrated in style!

Fostering independence

As my kids get older, they are testing some new-found independence. Going places on their own, making purchasing decisions, trying new things. It got me thinking about those of you venturing off into entrepreneurship for the first time. Nothing, in my experience, feels more independent! But the heady feeling that comes with having no one to tell you what to do can lead you down some pretty uncomfortable paths. There’s no lesson like one learned by experience, but some of those experiences can be pretty unpleasant. As we in the U.S. celebrate our collective independence, a gentle reminder:

  • With independence comes responsibility. Trust, once earned, is not a given. Demonstrate through your actions and words that you understand the trust that’s been extended to you. Your customers trust you – keep earning that trust.
  • Independence does not mean making your own rules. There are still conventions you must follow and basic fundamentals that you should adhere to. You can’t ignore your financial results (or the IRS).
  • Independence doesn’t mean toughing through everything yourself. Why not take advantage of the lessons learned by others? The best managers seek out people who know more than they do – not to tell them what to do, but to present them with options and ideas.

It’s nice that my kids are more independent, but I still lay down some rules:

  • At any given time, be where you are supposed to be and with the people you are supposed to be with.
  • If we didn’t let you do it last week when we were with you (ride your bike without a helmet, hang out with kids you don’t know, buy a 16 oz. Coke at the ballpark an hour before bed) we probably won’t be thrilled to find out you did it when we weren’t there.
  • If you need help, ask – I always tell my kids, “I can’t promise I won’t yell at you, but I can promise that when I’m done yelling , I’ll help you fix the problem.”

Enjoy your independence today – the pomp, the partying, and especially  the fireworks!