The Trend Report Podcast

Episode 126: Breaking the Rules and Coloring Outside the Lines with Sid Meadows

Sid Meadows


Sid: What could really happen if you decided to be brave and be yourself and color outside the lines. I really think it's time for us to step up. The answer to this question is you won't know until you try. When you think about our industry, where would we be and what would we be selling if those that had gone before us had not decided to be brave, challenged the status quo and color outside the lines? The list of those that have done this and impacted our industry is long.


Sid: Hey, friends, and welcome to the Trend Report Podcast, where we have real conversations with real people about all things contract interiors. My name is Sid Meadows and I'm your host. I'm a business strategist and certified professional coach and a longtime student of the office furniture industry, and I'm excited that you're joining us today, and my hope is that you will gain some insights, inspiration and motivation that will help you grow and your business grow. So let's dive into today's conversation.

Sid: Hey everybody, and welcome to this week's episode of the Trend Report. I'm glad you're joining me today for another conversation with just me and you. Today, I want to talk about breaking down barriers and coloring outside the lines. You know, when we were kids, we were all taught to color inside the lines, to use the guides that were provided by the coloring book publisher to create our greatest works of art. In doing so, we were developing hand strength and hand related fine motor skills. Certainly, this development is important for all of us, and even for kids today, but in reality we were being taught to conform. If we didn't color inside the lines, our parents and our teachers, even our peers, would make fun of us, and we would just keep working until we could master the art of coloring inside the lines.

Now, this trend has actually continued through our adult years. In fact, as you probably know, adult coloring books are all the rage. Just google it, you'll see it, better yet you can walk into a bookstore and you'll discover an entire section dedicated to adult coloring books. These books are amazing, full of beautifully detailed and complicated designs that challenge us to color inside the lines, to create the adult version of our greatest work of art. You know, in fact I'll tell you, coloring books as an adult can actually be really rewarding and relaxing. You know, there's a certain type of joy that we can find in doing something that we love to do as a kid. Now, no doubt I've done this and hopefully, maybe. I'm sure you have too, whether you admit it or not. Okay, but adult coloring books are really popular. In fact, not too long ago, the New York Magazine published a list of the 20 best adult coloring books, and they're really all the rage. But this got me thinking about this, which is why do we conform? The truth is, coloring is basically conforming and following what someone else says that we should do. It's taking the easy path and only doing what is absolutely necessary to get by or to get the job done. It's sometimes based on our confidence, or maybe our lack thereof, and our fear. Conforming with what others want, as you know, is the path of least resistance. But why? Why do we conform? Well, for most people, including me at times, it's, honestly, it's easier, right? It's easier to conform than to challenge the status quo or be singled out for not doing what everyone else is doing. It's also possible that your company or your organization strongly encourages you to conform and follow the rules.

As you well know, it's pretty much ingrained in our DNA to conform and color inside the lines, and we were taught this from a very, very young age. If you conform with what others want, then life will be easier and to some degree, I agree that that is true, right. However, does it mean that it's the right choice? I'm curious, have you ever stopped and asked yourself why? What would happen if you didn't conform? Think about that for a minute. What could really happen if you decided to be brave and be yourself and color outside the lines? I really think it's time for us to step up. The answer to this question is you won't know until you try. When you think about our industry, where would we be and what would we be selling if those that had gone before us had not decided to be brave, challenged status quo and color outside the lines? The list of those that have done this and impacted our industry by not conforming to what others think is long.

Think about people like Florence Knoll, or maybe Charles and Ray Eames, or Mario Bellini or Miles Vandero, just to name a few that have changed the face of our industry and the products that we sell to some degree and the way we design spaces. They had a vision, a courage to step up and color outside the line, and today I really believe they're an amazing group of people and companies doing the same thing. They're disrupting our industry in a very positive way. Think about this podcast, for example. It is, to some degree, sharing thoughts and ideas of other people and what they're doing to make our industry better. You can also look to people like Alexandra Steffos, who was on the podcast recently with what she's doing with the design pop. You can look at magazines like Office Insights or Viewpoint and what they're doing to share their voice and to share information that helps our industry get better and to disrupt. You can think about speakers like Kay Sergeant at HOK. What an amazing job she does in highlighting the future of work, neurodiversity and equity and inclusion.

There's so many people leading the way that have stood up and said I'm going to be brave and I'm going to color outside the lines. And all of these companies and individuals I guarantee you they experienced challenges along the way. But one thing is for sure, as I said, they are all coloring outside the lines and thank goodness that they are, because we need them and we need you. Think back to my episode with Aaron Estabrook, where we talked about standing up and sharing your voice. So I'm curious why aren't you embracing the opportunity to make an impact on our industry? It really is time for you to step up and step into your greatness. Do something today that will challenge the status quo. Find the courage within you to have an impact on yourself, a colleague, a client, a friend or even your business. And don't be afraid to fail, because, as most of you have heard me say before, I actually don't believe in failure. I believe in learning and growing. The bottom line is we need you.

As you all know, our industry is facing an unprecedented amount of issues and challenges, from the complicated sales cycle to the age-old distribution model, to pricing pressures, to the constantly changing work styles and habits, the hybrid work environment I mean the list goes on. The challenges are everywhere and you know, I'm sure that you could start making a list of some of the challenges that are in our industry. But we need people with big visions and big ideas and the courage to stand up and share your voice, share your idea, because you never know how one idea that you might have could impact the company that you work for, maybe your career, your life, your business, if you just share it. And we need those big ideas, we need you to color outside the lights. So will it be you or will it be the person sitting next to you.

Listen, I get it. I know this is scary, guys. I am living this right now, literally right now. Every time I grab this microphone or every time I open up a blank piece of paper and start writing a column, I'm sharing my thoughts and sharing my ideas about how I can help challenge our industry so that our industry will move forward. We'll move forward, we'll grow, we'll adapt and we'll change. And if I can help one person listening to this do something that helps them color outside the lines, that helps your business grow, then I feel like, at the end of the day, I've done exactly what I set out to do with my podcast and with my writing.

But here's the thing I truly believe it's your time. We need you. We need you to rise up, to stand up and color outside the lines. You have the power to impact and change our industry. Don't let it pass you by because you're scared of your own greatness. Hey, thanks for joining me today. Folks, go out there and make today great. We'll see you again in a couple of weeks. Take care everyone.


Thanks for joining me today on this episode of the Trend Report Podcast. I'm glad that you're here and I hope that you got some amazing value out of today's conversation. For more about our podcast and this episode and our other episodes, please visit my website at SidMeadowscom. We look forward to seeing you next week and go out there and make today great



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