Benny and his friend Griffin at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

A FranklinCovey Fairy Tale

[This entry appeared as a column in the Business Review newspapers.]

Ah, autumn. Time for that annual source of hilarity: The Fall FranklinCovey catalogue. This thin volume holds a fairy tale more magical than any sleeping beauty or enchanted frog.

Everyone dreams of a wonderful, rewarding, well-organized life. And if you lack the imagination to design your own, FranklinCovey will do it for you. Just flip through its pages and choose your perfect life.

After all, says the cover, “Right now belongs to you. Be proactive.”

Inside you read such gems as:

“Today is always present”


“You live right now.”

The catalogue begins with “Simplicity Girl” on page six. Simplicity heads to the gym at 5:30 a.m., where she tweaks her cardio routine and wonders “Do I need new shoes?” She researches Gore-Tex fabric and picks up birthday treats for the office. Hey, you cheapskates paying only $34.95 – this is your life.

For five more dollars you can be a “Seven Habits Guy” on page 8. He has 6:30 a.m. yoga class, an 8:30 zoning commission meeting and a 10 a.m. partner meeting. He doesn’t run out for grocery store cupcakes; he sets up birthday lunches at Bistro 31 – reservations for nine. After an afternoon of mentoring flunkies, he dines at Don Miguel’s at 7 p.m.

But perhaps you’re a woman with a family. Well, then, you need a kicky, spiral-bound planner that patronizes you on every page. Meet “Collages,” with its daily sketches of purses, shoes and wooden benches. The Collages Lady jogs in the park, schedules a manicure and reviews notes for cooking class. In her spare time, she plans her husband’s birthday dinner, Kira’s baby shower and the Collins’ anniversary party.

Other planners may quote Emerson: “The man of genius inspires us with boundless confidence in our own powers.” The Collages planner says, “A little of what you fancy does you good.” By the way, it comes with a free purse.

But hey, we’re wasting time here. Time to shake hands with “The Leader.” This mighty man swims at 7 a.m., builds parking structures until lunch and then runs his firm’s capital improvement board. Leader doesn't waste his time with birthdays or anniversaries. He’s gotta buy swim goggles.

His planner tells us that if you want to build a ship, don’t gather the men to actually build it. Instead, “Teach them the desire for the sea.”

So go, go and seek your planner self. And when you find it, write … write the detritus of your daily life, the stupid branding meeting, the shopping list (nose drops, corn pads, Swanson’s Frozen Chicken Delite) and the aerobics class you haven’t attended in months.

And remember, if you want to heat a frozen dinner, don’t ask your spouse to turn the oven on. Read him a fairy tale about the Prince and the Enchanted Chicken Wing.


No comments: