In Chinese, there is a word pronounced ‘Se,’ that sounds a little like those war movies when someone says ‘Yes, suh!’ (Emphasis downwords on suh/se.)
‘Se’ refers to what happens in your mouth when you eat a piece of unripe fruit – a raspberry, banana or most famously an unripe persimmon. Even if you haven’t accidentally bitten into one of those lately, you can probably remember the last time you did, right?
There’s no word to describe this ‘taste’ in English, alas. The closest thing Wikipedia gets to it is the idea of something being ‘astringent.’ Apparently unripe fruits contain tannins that constrict organic tissue in a way that puckers your mouth.
In any case, all this talk about unripe fruit and the concept of something being ‘Se,’ is to bring home a point about ripeness in business.
Have you ever considered the ripeness factor of something – anything – in your business?
Far too often, I believe, things that aren’t going well (not fast enough, not profitable enough, etc.) in business are simply because the timing isn’t right. Translation: Whatever it is, just isn’t ripe yet, and yet you’re trying really hard to eat it.
Examples of these ‘things’ could include:
- A joint venture project. (Maybe it’s a great possible joint venture but the idea you’re presenting isn’t landing on receptive ears – the person just had a baby, or is taking the summer off, or is launching their own book this week…)
- Writing that article that’s overdue. (Perhaps it’s an article that needs to wait until you do something (live something) that’s in your schedule for tomorrow, so you have a cool new case study to kick it off with. Yes, ripeness plays a role even when you’re late on something.)
- Writing that book that everyone says you should write, for that matter. (Much that same as above.)
- Deciding to amp up your Public Relations efforts. (Are you sure the work you’re doing right now is true, for you? Could you be just warming up, and actually the next iteration or clarity around your service offering, niche, or marketing statement is the one you should be trying to get onto Oprah with?)
I talk more about this in the chapter called “Picking the Ripe Apples” in Money, Meaning & Beyond, but here is an excerpt from the footnotes for that chapter. (I just know footnotes rarely get read, and this one is too good not to highlight a bit.)
excerpted from page 301, “Footnotes for Chapter 13: Picking the Ripe Apples”
The concept of the ripe apples first came up during individual coaching sessions in winter 2005, and I use it regularly when working with clients on the issue of ‘struggle.’ During the writing of this book, I’ve been reading a Canadian novel by Gail Anderson-Dargatz called “The Cure for Death by Lightning” which contains a section that beautifully evokes the sensibility and intended message in ‘Picking the Ripe Apples’ [...]
“If a raspberry is ripe, caressing it with your fingertips will bring the berry rolling into your hand. But wait for that ripeness. A berry plucked too early has no sweetness, only a coarse flavor that will pucker your lips up tight. When a berry is ready you’ll know by its softness, the deep purple-red color, and the ease with which it gives itself to you.”
Let that last phrase sink in a bit, would you? “When a berry is ready, you’ll know by [...] the ease with which it gives itself to you.”
As we pursue money, meaning and beyond together, I invite you to embrace the fact that ripeness is important in business. I do, at least I try to, every day. (Example self-talk, and language coaching clients learn to use: “What’s ripe today…what’s fresh and ready?” “This feels seriously green…”)
As you apply the idea of ‘ripeness’ to your own business (or life, for that matter), here are a few things to consider:
What, if anything, are you working on that just isn’t working? It feels like you’re pushing it uphill each day, only to have it roll backwards during the night?
Suspending your desire to complete these ‘things’ for just a moment, is it possible that the best solution may be to let it go, at least for now?
Certainly some people will use this concept to justify procrastinating or laziness on their part. But I believe you know the difference and using your discretion, can distinguish between something that you aren’t doing that is right to do right now, and something that needs to be left alone to ripen.
In my experience, people who are bright, especially, can find solace in the idea that there is such a thing as ‘ripeness’ in your business. All of a sudden things become a lot less complicated and effortfull.
Final points to ponder:
Would you knowingly eat an unripe raspberry?
What (income, client, delightful project, much-hoped-for result) has already fallen – nice and ripe – at your feet, and you can pick up without struggle? I guarantee there’s some there.
Ripeness in business. Does this apply to you?