It’s Complex…But It Doesn’t Have to Be

Yesterday, I learned that my younger kids knew about the incident at school earlier this week…and were not in any way harmed by that knowledge.

Here I was, worrying and mulling and it turns out it was simply a piece of information that they possessed, and we discussed it and then they just got silly because it was time to move on to another topic.

Sometimes it’s that easy.

Sometimes the burden is something we create in our own heads.

Sometimes, in business, it’s harder than it has to be. A lot of the time, actually.


Yesterday, I spoke to the Non-Profit Network, a division of the Troy Chamber of Commerce. A room filled with lovely, eager people looking for insight and relationships to grow their nonprofit work.

And the question became, “What does your organization do?” Give me a quick sentence or two. Give me specific words. Tell me who you help and how.

And the thing is, many people can’t do it.

One lovely woman talked about the high-quality services her organization offers. I still need specifics. Another person spoke about academic excellence. Can we include humans in the equation?

And we talked as a group about how people do business with people and who you help matters. Telling the story as it is. Getting to the core, cutting to the quick. Simple language. Focused. No glorifying words. Just call it like it is.

Yes, it is simply that easy.

Most things in life are, actually. Yesterday, a colleague and I discussed an element of a client’s TV campaign. When you struggle to make a little sub-segment  happen and it’s just so hard, the answer is to look at it differently. Perhaps that sub-segment isn’t meant to be. Find another way to tell the story.

And the minute we did, the stress disappeared and everything worked out. Because we were in flow, not swimming upstream.

There is an amazing vivid scene in the movie Salmon Fishing in the  Yemen, where the camera captures a scene of fish swimming in the water and one turns against the direction of the pack and begins to swim upstream.

It is a pivotal moment because that’s what they’ve been waiting for throughout the entire movie.

It’s also a metaphor for doing things differently, going against the way you’ve always taken things, trying something new.

I’m all for it.

But that doesn’t mean that we have to always take the tough road. Sometimes we can just describe it as it is. And often, that’s all we need.

After dance last night, Shaya sat at the table, eating his second dinner and said, very matter-of-factly, “A kid jumped out a window at school yesterday.”

Shoot. I’d been shielding him from this information. I thought he didn’t know anything. But he said it so matter-of-factly. It didn’t scare him. It was just information. Turns out he heard it from two friends who have older siblings in Asher’s grade.

I asked him what he thought of that and he said, “Why would he do that?” With a silly grin on his face. Like, he didn’t even know how to process the information. Thank God.

Turns out Eliana knew too. Friends told her the day after it happened. And she also didn’t give it much credence.

I got all serious and prepared to talk with them about it but ended up just asking them questions about their understanding of it. It was such a non-issue. They just aren’t at an age to process it.

So I don’t need to complicate it.

We never do, really. Whether it’s business or personal, complicating the message only bogs us down. It’s like teaching kids about sex: answer only the questions that are asked. Don’t give additional information until they’re ready to hear it.

It seems so simple because it is. And it’s wise advice for business in pretty much every field.

Think about it. Why would we make things tougher than they have to be?

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