Three Spooky, Magical Lessons For Life And Business!

For those of you who may not know me that well, I have a confession to make. I have an addiction. It’s an addiction I have had for many years now, and it is not getting any easier to deal with. In fact it seems to have gotten a lot worse.

It’s not that I have not tried to ignore it. It is that I just can’t. And to make matters worse it seems my daughter is starting to develop the same addiction. It is an addiction to·

Halloween! Yes ever year when October rolls around my pulse increases and a ghoulish grin appears on my face. I find myself more and more fantasizing about Halloween night and the trick and treaters that will venture into my Haunted Backyard.

It started out fifteen plus years ago as a couple of mannequins with scary masks on my front lawn. Now it’s a month long preparatory process that stretches out over a quarter of an acre in our backyard, high up on the Niagara escarpment. It could only be described as Walt Disney meets the Blair Witch!

There are now dozens of different spooky, Halloween scenes featuring dozens of full size monsters, skeletons, ghouls and goblins. Here smoke machines, industrial lighting, robotics, live actors and special effects combine with a natural, eerie forest setting, theatrics and “twentieth century sorcery” to create a unique, magical experience.

And now my ten-year old daughter Jacqueline, who helps me in the set up, is so hooked on this that she would rather be home scaring others than out trick and treating. Well almost.

And as much as I enjoy the real fun and theatrics of this “SPOOKTACULAR event”, it has reinforced some powerful lessons about people, life and business.

The first lesson is that of the power and careful creation of the WOW experience!

One of the greatest emotions a magician can experience is when their magic makes an audience go “WOW” or “Oh My God”! It is an amazing feeling that one cannot describe, only experience.

And every year this is WOW experience is something that I work very hard to create for my Haunted Backyard guests.

But best of all, this WOW experience is a strategic technique that once learned and mastered can be applied to anything and any business.

The three-part magical formula is this, “give your audience much more than they ever expected, in a completely unexpected way, and without any extra effort on their part”!

So how can you apply this to what you do?

What add on to what you do and your service would make your customers really go “WOW” or “I DON’T BELIEVE IT”! Take it to the next level. And really take your audience by surprise with it. Do your phenomenal “great service” but then add even more. Make it in no way predictable or expectant on their part.

Then make this happen without any extra effort on your audience’s part. Let your audience truly enjoy this experience in a completely unrestrictive way and without any associated hassles, decision or worries.

But be warned! What is WOW the first time can quickly become THAT’S NICE the next time. Thus an incredible “add on” becomes “the expected”. The only way around this is to constantly be aware of the process, and constantly be seeking more ways to add value. And the rewards are worth it.

In my case, it’s more and different Halloween vignettes each and every year. I make it unpredictable and keep everyone guessing as to what might happen.

The second lesson I have learned is the incredible power of asking the magic question “HOW CAN I USE THIS IN WHAT I DO?” This applies both on the creative side and the practical side.

On the creative side, I am always constantly searching the web, watching horror and sci-fi shows, and life in general for ways to add scary effects to my backyard. When I see some piece of visual magic or an emotional frightening reaction that really stands out, I immediately ask myself how can I use this in my backyard? Almost always the answer is pure gold.

On the practical side, I am always on the look out for machines, technology and “things” that might be applied in the actual construction of my Halloween set up. And strangely enough usually the purpose that I use these devices for, is not the original purpose they were designed for.

So how can you apply this creativity to your business? Well only you can answer that.

But the next time you use a zip lock bag realize the creativity magic involved. The concept of a “zipper in clothing” reborn in the food freshness industry was pure magic. Prior to that it was all twist ties. All because someone asked “how can I use this in my business”?

Yes there is real magic in asking and learning from “how can I use this?”

And finally, don’t forget the basics. Don’t get so caught up in the day-to-day grind that you lose sight of the real magic of what you do. Or even worse, don’t go so over board in the bells and whistles that you lose sight of what you are supposed to do.

Every year I end up constructing only a small fraction of the Halloween effects I dream up. I just run out of time and resources. And that’s fine, because it is not the number of effects I produce but the quality. And that’s what truly makes it memorable.

And I also learned the important lessons years ago that nothing beats an actor with a mask jumping out of the blue and yelling “BOO”, and that the point of my Haunted Backyard was to create “good fun” in a scary, but not terrified way. After all my audience will not come back if they do not enjoy themselves.

So there you have it, some magical insights that I use not just in my job, but in my Haunted Backyard as well!

Apply these magical lessons to what you do and you will soon hear your audience go “WOW” and will be well on your way to creating a powerful experience, a magical memory, a phenomenal referral, a life long friend and customer, and making Real Magic happen!

Remember Real Magic can happen only when people believe in themselves and are passionate about making a difference in their own life and the lives of others! Have focus! Be passionate about what you do! Create your own real magic!

PS: If you are in the area on Halloween night please drop in! You might just be in for an entertaining scare.