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The First Time versus the Insider’s Advantage

The First Time versus the Insider’s Advantage

After you get over your initial surprise that these people actually do exist, there is something very cool about watching someone who has never been in a Starbucks before, come in to one for the very first time.

It is easy to pick them out, for they are the only ones who walk in front of the overhead menu board, step back a few paces to take the whole thing in, and actually begin to read it.

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Everyone else who is already in line waiting, or who might be seated at a nearby table, looks at them and smiles to themselves knowingly. It’s that smile of understanding, of recognition, and in remembrance of their own first time.

Next, this insider’s smugness slowly but surely replaces those looks of understanding and recognition on the faces of all the bystanders. They love the thought that they are now veterans and in the know, and that their own rite of passage is over. They feel they’ve paid their dues and have arrived, and it’s a feeling they like way more than that first-timer’s memory.

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It is very rare to see anyone help the newcomer with a suggestion. On the contrary, sometimes you actually see the ranks close, and the line gets tighter, so the newcomer can be left with no doubt where that line begins and ends. People actually start to anticipate that funny moment the newcomer will approach the barista and order, saying they want “the medium size I guess” instead of the grande.

Starbucks is but one example. If you are a road warrior, think about those airlines you now frequent and those you don’t, and how class distinction is taken to a whole new level with premier lines and those for “everyone else.” There’s a whole slew of businesses where being the veteran with the insider’s advantage is definitely part of the reason you continue to patronize them. In fact, to not be part of a frequent-something club is considered to be downright foolhardy consumer behavior.

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However if you are a business owner, leader, or manager, what I propose to you is this: Capitalizing on making the first-timer’s experience your competitive advantage, because it is as good as it can possibly be, is where you might be missing the boat for both kinds of business potential.

To continue with the Starbucks example, imagine if the barista doing their turn at wiping down tables were focused on those newcomers first, and the dirty tables second. Imagine if they walked up to that newcomer and asked if they needed some help making a choice, and offered to explain some of the coffee lingo. Imagine how the bystanders would now feel, seeing that newcomer get a level of service they don’t recall they’d received their first time. Imagine everyone craning their necks to hear about offerings they’ve never tried because they had on veteran’s blinders, and they now realize that there’s a lot of things offered at Starbucks that they’ve never bothered to try because they’ve just been too comfortable, and they’ve been too accepting of the level of service they no longer get now that they have been trained so well by the coffeehouse’s so-called “insider’s advantage.”

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Interesting to imagine all that, isn’t it?

Rosa Say is the author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business and the Talking Story blog. She is also the founder and head coach of Say Leadership Coaching, a company dedicated to bringing nobility to the working arts of management and leadership.

Rosa’s Previous Thursday Column was: A Reinvention Revolution; 3 Sacred Cows to Start With.

More by this author

Rosa Say

Rosa is an author and blogger who dedicates to helping people thrive in the work and live with purpose.

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Last Updated on August 12, 2020

How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them

How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them

Where do you want to be 5 years from now, 10 years from now, or even this time next year? These places are your goal destinations and although you might know that you don’t want to be standing still in the same place as you are now, it’s not always easy to identify what your real goals are.

Many people think that setting a goal destination is having a dream that is there in the far distant future but will never be attained. This proves to be a self-fulfilling prophesy because of two things:

Firstly, that the goal isn’t specifically defined enough in the first place; and secondly, it remains a remote dream waiting for action which is never taken.

Defining your goal destination is something that you need to take some time to think carefully about. The following steps on how to plan your life goals should get you started on a journey to your destination.

1. Make a List of Your Goal Destinations

Goal destinations are the things that are important to you. Another word for them would be ambitions, but ambitions sound like something which outside of your grasp, whereas goal destinations are certainly achievable if you are willing to put in the effort working towards them.

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So what do you really want to do with your life? What are the main things that you would like to accomplish with your life? What is it that you would really regret not doing if you suddenly found you had a limited amount of time left on the earth?

Each of these things is a goal. Define each goal destination in one sentence.

If any of these goals is a stepping stone to another one of the goals, take it off this list as it isn’t a goal destination.

2. Think About the Time Frame to Have the Goal Accomplished

This is where the 5 year, 10 year, next year plan comes into it.

Learn the differences between a short term goal and a long term goal. Some goals will have a “shelf life” because of age, health, finance, etc, whereas others will be up to you as to when you would like to achieve them by.

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3. Write Down Your Goals Clearly

Write each goal destination at the top of a new piece of paper.

For each goal, write down what is it that you need and don’t have now that will allow you achieve that goal. This could be some kind of education, career change, finance, a new skill, etc. Any “stepping stone” goals you removed will fit into this exercise. If any of these smaller “goals” have sub-goals, go through the same process with these so that you have precise action points to work with.

4. Write Down What You Need to Do for Each Goal

Under each item listed, write down the things that you will need to do in order to complete each of the steps required to complete the goal. 

These items will become a check-list. They are a tangible way of checking how you are progressing towards reaching your goal destinations. A record of your success!

5. Write Down Your Timeframe With Specific and Realistic Dates

Using the time frames you created, on each goal destination sheet write down the year in which you will complete the goal by.

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For any goal which has no fixed completion date, think about when you would like to have accomplished it by and use that as your destination date.

Work within the time frames for each goal destination, make a note of realistic dates by which you will complete each of the small steps.

6. Schedule Your To-Dos

Now take an overview of all your goal destinations and make a schedule of what you need to do this week, this month, this year – in order to progress along the road towards your goal destinations.

Write these action points on a schedule, you have definite dates on which to do things.

7. Use Your Reticular Activating System to Get Your Goal

Learn in this Lifehack’s vlog how you can hack your brain with the Reticular Activation System (RAS) and reach your goal more efficiently:

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8. Review Your Progress

At the end of the year, review what you have done this year, mark things off the check-lists for each goal destination and write up the schedule with the action points you need for the next year.

Although it may take you several years to, for example, get the promotion you desire because you first need to get the MBA which means getting a job with more money to allow you to finance a part-time degree course, you will ultimately be successful in achieving your goal destination because you have planned out not only what you want, but how to get it, and have been pro-active towards achieving it.

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Featured photo credit: Debby Hudson via unsplash.com

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