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Zen and the Art of Lawn Maintenance


In the past few weeks, we’ve worked on some challenging projects at Farris — helping people make tough decisions and get their messages out.
An Austintown healthcare pioneer retired from a business he had built and loved. In doing so, six beloved employees had to be laid off. A former hospital CEO was close to witnessing a turnaround, when he was forced out by Wall Street bankers who felt he was blocking their plans to cash out of the Valley healthcare market.
On the flip side, we’ve been having a lot of fun helping market high-demand products in the solar energy field. We’ve had the chance to help local non-profit organizations get their messages out. We’re working on exciting levy issues and helping clients sell lighting products on the internet.

Our business is happy, sad, exciting and challenging — all at once. In one day we can go through more emotions than a therapist sees all week. So how do we keep sane? And under all this stress, how do we come up with breakthrough ideas for clients?
Everyone is different, but for me when I need answers I seek an action; when I need peace, I seek a place.

When I need an answer I have to move around. I can’t sit in front of a computer and think about it. I put the problem in my mind then go to the gym and lift weights, go to Mill Creek Park and ride my bike, or just cut the grass.

That’s right, cut the grass. I’ve used a lawn service since I was first married. But then not long ago, I realized there was something relaxing about cutting those neat rows of fresh-smelling grass. I find Zen with my 6.5 hp Toro.

I love putting my ball cap on backwards, putting my iPod in my ears and singing “Rock and Roll Pain Train” along with Kid Rock as I watch those green pillars fall. My family claims I also get some fiendish thrill from embarrassing them by singing loudly on the front lawn as our neighbors stare and laugh.

Later, when I am in the shower, without especially thinking about it, the answer to the problem often comes to me. Days later, if the client asks where I got the idea, I simply reply, “research” — with a wink.

When I feel stressed or agitated, I often head for the Library or a bookstore. There is something about being around books that has always made me feel better. It calms me down and helps me focus — even if I don’t read the books! It may sound funny, but it works for me.

I believe most of the ideas and answers already exist in our brains. We can’t force them out, but we can let them reveal themselves when we are relaxed and provide a healthy atmosphere for them.

I know it sounds crazy, but the great marketing idea you got from Farris might have started with a Personal Pace mower and a can of gas.
Stay tuned and stay smart!

About The Author

  • Author | George Farris
George Farris is CEO and Senior Brand Coach at Farris Marketing. Connect with George on LinkedIn using the icons above.

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