An exasperated sigh. The dull thunk of a pen tossed onto a thick stack of paper.
My head snapped up as I watched fingers dart through the meticulously combed rills of Mikey’s dark brown hair, then his head leaned backward and out of sight.
His office chair creaked as I stood up to see better.
“What’s happening?” I quizzed my engineering mentor across the orange cubicle wall.
“Lynn, these numbers are swimming in front of my eyes. I can’t make sense of why this trajectory keeps crashing. I think I need a break.”
I nodded in agreement.
It felt good to stand and stretch. We were putting in long hours preparing a proposal for a new satellite launch, so Mikey was under some pressure to make the mission succeed. As an engineering intern, I was assigned to prepare some of the graphs that would be included in the overhead projector slides.
“With these stacks of papers and the sea of numbers, I’ve lost all perspective of exactly what the vehicle looks like. Let’s go to the high bay assembly building and take a look at the so-called “point mass” we are flying.”
I grinned at the engineering joke. The flight-path-planning computer program pretends the 156 foot (47 m) tall vehicle is a VERY heavy ball that is smaller than your clenched fist. It makes the flight-planning equations easier to calculate, and another department analyzes the flexibility of the true-sized vehicle.
Mikey got a gleam in his eye. “Do you have some close-toed shoes?”
I pointed toward the floor. “Under the desk, just like Tish suggested.”
Mikey smiled and replied, “OK, co-op, put on your tennis shoes and let’s go make an official visit to see the real thing.”
We were chatting animatedly as Mikey swung the heavy doors open and the warm dry slap of air announced yet another perfect sunny day in San Diego.
Working with an intangible concept can be hard on the primal human brain.
Brains are more comfortable with something to touch than with numbers written on a computer screen. If I can pinch it, sniff it, and see it, I can understand what it is. I can assign a monetary value. It becomes “real” to me. And I feel a lot more relaxed.
Does your network marketing, party plan, or direct sales company have products that your clients don’t physically touch? Financial services and computer-generated physical greeting cards are two examples.
Or does the client who purchases it rarely sees the final product, because it is shipped to a third party?
If your situation fits either general case, I strongly recommend you send or give a tangible item directly to the person who’s buying your product. A product sample, a physical card of thanks, or treating them to coffee are some ideas.
You’ll be the refreshing break in the midst of an increasingly-intangible world.
–LYnn Selwa, “The Rocket Science Coach” ™
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