Realistic Optimist

WARNING: IF YOU READ THE FOLLOWING, YOU MAY BE BRANDED A NON TEAM PLAYER!

Photo Courtesy of NY Daily News

Photo Courtesy of NY Daily News

I don’t like blind optimism.  It seems phony to me, boarding on “cultish”.  It’s great to be optimistic,  I just need it to be based on something tangible.  I can be the most optimistic person in the world and it’s not going to help me dunk a basketball at 58 (or any age for that matter).

Unfortunately this attitude, no matter how logical, can get you in trouble in both your personal and professional lives.

Photo Courtesy of Amazon 

Photo Courtesy of Amazon 

We live in a society that doesn’t usually have the patience or desire to deeply understand anything.  We elected a guy President of the United States based on “Make America Great Again”.  What does that even mean?  When questioned on how America was going to be great again, there was precious little detail and a lot of “It will be beautiful, you will love it” in response to any request for details.  I am pretty sure the people that voted for Trump were optimistic that the “beautiful” would be provided once he was in the office.  I am 100% certain there was nothing tangible to support that optimism. 

Can you possibly imagine the peril you would have been in at a Trump campaign rally stop, if you were able to ask for tangible reasons how he was going to Make America Great Again?  Yikes.  Talk about being branded a non team player.  You probably would have been tarred and feathered by the rally attendees and run over by the Trump Train of Optimism.   So much for critical thought.

Photo Courtesy of AMC 

Photo Courtesy of AMC 

Although more subtle, company’s participate in the blind optimism game also.  If you have worked for any length of time, you have had a few experiences at companies that ask the employees for optimism based on nothing more than what the owner or senior management wants to be true.  Much like a Trump rally, if you ask for tangible reasons why an idea will work, you will be singled out.  You won’t be run over by an Optimism train, but you will be whispered about as a non team player.  Someone who can’t get behind an idea or program.  The irony is that the idea or program should have been challenged, debated and vetted before it was rolled out to the entire company.

Photo Courtesy of BetMinded

Photo Courtesy of BetMinded

As I said, it’s good and even necessary to be an optimist.  However I don’t want to waste my optimism on blind faith.  I want some reality injected into my optimism in the form of facts.  And if you think that is actually a form of pessimism, you would be wrong.  Even with all the facts you can acquire, there are things in life and business that simply require optimism.  You will still have to push “all chips in” at some point with relentless optimism.  I want my optimism applied to worthy projects. That’s my definition of a “Realistic Optimist”.

 

SOND

SOND

Photo Courtesy of Tails from the Barstool

Photo Courtesy of Tails from the Barstool

Everyone enjoys summer.  Long days, vacations, easy living.  However, most people in the wine business secretly love it when summer ends and we enter SOND.  SOND is the acronym for September, October, November, December.  It’s not as if there is no wine sold during the summer months, but let’s face it, summer belongs to the beer and cocktail drinkers. We in the wine world will graciously give the summer to our beer and spirits brothers and sisters, while we secretly hope that rosé continues to grow and become a summer drink of choice.

Jerry Lewis, Photo Courtesy of Pinterest

Jerry Lewis, Photo Courtesy of Pinterest

Back to SOND….Labor Day weekend officially ends summer.  Most of the kids are back at school (I mourn the death of Jerry Lewis.  I always knew summer was over when I would watch his telethon as he smoked 20 packs of cigarettes, while wearing a tuxedo he looked like he slept in....Did anyone else have this childhood experience, or am I just a freak?), people are beginning to nest for the fall and the weather has just a hint of coolness.

All of these events mean sales are going to kick back into gear for wine.  Average monthly case shipments in SOND can be double what they were in the month of July. OMG I loathe July.  God created July to torture people in the wine industry.  I could go on vacation the entire month of July and I don’t think it would make any difference to the business.  You can only yell at your sales team so many times, and then you have to accept the fact that July is July (do you think they want me to go away for the entire month of July? Yes they do).  The first two weeks of August seem like an extension of July, and you wonder if anyone will ever order wine again.  Then magically, the last two weeks of August show life!  Distributors come out of hibernation, orders come in and Labor Day sounds the bell for SOND.

Photo Courtesy of Shipping Davis

Photo Courtesy of Shipping Davis

The last four months of the year (SOND), are simultaneously the most exciting and terrifying months of the year.  Typically you have spent the first six months of the year building accounts, expanding channel distribution and planning programming to position your brands for a successful SOND.  You survived July, although it rocked your belief in what you’re doing.  Now it’s game time.

SOND has approximately 75 shipping days.  75 days determine if you are running into the next year with momentum, or do you have to lick your wounds, go back to the drawing board and see what you need to correct or fine tune for the next year.

Photo Courtesy of Shutter Stock 

Photo Courtesy of Shutter Stock 

Someday when I am retired, I am going to take an extended vacation for those 75 days in SOND and wish the next generation good luck.  Never mind, I probably will always worry about sales right up to the time they wheel me out of the office…..wine is a glamorous business.