Thanks to Those Who Love to Serve


There are some people who simply exude welcome, joy and friendliness. They look for and find opportunities to do what they can to make the people around them feel valued and special.  To them, service is not a job they put on when they walk into work and then take off again at the end of they day.  It simply is who they are.

Have you met any of these amazing people lately?  I have and am lucky enough to have some of these people on my team.  The positive energy, the willingness to get done what needs to get done, the ability to see beyond the problem to potential solutions are not common traits. Too often, the good they do is taken for granted. Today, I want to say thanks to the many people who serve, who love to serve and who consider it a privilege to serve.

Service is not what you do, but who you are. It is a way of living that you need to bring to everything you do, if you are to bring it to your customer interactions.       – Betsy Sanders

When your nose is to the grindstone, all you see is the grindstone.

It’s too easy to get caught up on all the things we need to do or all the things making us unhappy.  But when we focus only on work or only on the negative, we miss making connections with the people around us.  We miss seeing new opportunities.  So look up. Look into someone eyes.  Start a conversation.  Enjoy a moment of silence. Take time to reflect and refocus.  You’ll be glad you did.

Make the most of this long weekend … rain or shine!

Are you happy?

Are you happy?  Are your employees happy?

Happy is a fluffy word.   It’s not a word that is used very often in business settings. In business, we like to use important sounding words like engagement, return on investment, bottom line revenues, core competencies, best practices, leverage and buy-in.

Happy is for children.  Happy is for kindergarten, although even that seems to be disappearing in our continuous quest to maximize all learning opportunities.  Play time and nap time are wasted time.

Many companies don’t measure happy, which is unfortunate, because corporate sounding or not, happy matters.

Happy employees = happy customers

Think about someone you know who is perpetually unhappy.  Now think of someone you know who is happy.  Who accomplishes more on any given day?  Who comes up with innovative ideas more often?   Who looks at challenges as opportunities to explore as opposed to something to avoid?  Who do you spend more time with? Who would you like to spend more time with?

Your customers also like to be around happy people.   Unhappy employees drive customer away.  Happy employees bring them back.

So how can you increase the happiness quotient at work?  It’s not all about the money.  Margaret Heffernan says “Recent research into happiness demonstrates that the happiest people aren’t those with the most money but those with a sense of purpose – a sense that they are contributing to something bigger than themselves.”

Happiness and purpose:  How can you make work about more than work?  What purpose does your business serve?  Is it only about making money or is it about making the lives of your customer better in some way?  Does each individual on your team know how they contribute to that purpose?

“Have fun, do good and the money will come.” – Richard Branson

Happiness and play:  Bring play back to work!  Work should be fun.  Opportunities for play bring your individual team members together.  It helps them get to know each other.  It provides an opportunity to laugh together.  Those opportunities create connections and connections create community, something bigger than just us.

Happiness and accountability:  Those two words really don’t seem to go together, do they? And yet, when everyone understands your company’s purpose, their individual purpose and the purpose of those around them, they are more willing to hold themselves and those around them accountable.  That increases the chance that your company’s purpose will be met.

Happiness and kindness:  What if you made it a habit to do or say something kind to someone on your team every day? Perhaps that will start a chain reaction of random acts of kindness.  When people start looking for ways to be kind to each other, increased happiness is sure to follow.

Happiness is important.  Is there something you are doing to increase the happiness levels at your business? If so, please share.

A Lesson from The Voice

Today, a friend shared a clip from Italy’s ‘The Voice’ where a nun absolutely rocks the crowd with her version of Alicia Keys “No One.”   She nails it and the look on the judges faces when they turned around and realized this amazing voice and talent was coming from a young woman in a habit, instead of sexy clothing was priceless.

What I like about The Voice is that the judges can’t see the contestant. They base their decision on the voice alone, not the package it is wrapped up in.

A friend said recently “Life gives you what you need when you need it” and strange as it may seem, this video clip is exactly what I needed right now. To me it was a reminder that we are all more than we seem on the outside. We are so much more than our actions, our appearance, our past or our present.

Someone near and dear has made some poor life decisions lately. Those decisions are not the full sum of who he is or who he can be. There are some people who will not be able to see past his protective barriers or his negative behaviours.  They won’t see the potential, the talent or the possibility for a better future.

Sometimes the appearance or behaviour of others is not negative or off-putting.  Sometimes people get lost or missed because they have perfected the art of hiding in public. We glance over them but we don’t really see them.

Chances are there are talents, skills, possibilities and opportunities hiding in plain view where you work, where you go to school, where you socialize or where you worship.  They are hiding behind insecure, perhaps sometimes inappropriate behaviour, odd or unique clothing choices.  They could be hiding behind seemingly successful people who are not pursuing a talent or passion because it doesn’t fit the plan someone else laid out for them.

It is Friday. The end of an interesting week.  The video is below. Enjoy it.  Then I encourage you to make a special effort to look for talents and possibilities you may have overlooked in the past because the person didn’t look or sound quite right.

When hidden talents and possibilities are uncovered, our world becomes a better place.

Note: The video is in Italian, but you can translate using the cc tab.  

Who is Your Harshest Critic?

“I’m not smart enough.”  “Someone else can do it better.”  “I’m just going to fail.” “I am so stupid!” “What made me think I could do this?”

When we tell ourselves we can’t do something, we are usually right.  Not because we are not capable, but because we have convinced ourselves that we can’t.  We are usually our harshest critic.

My daughter was the victim of bullying in middle school.  I was shocked and appalled at the cruel things that some of the girls in her school were saying.  I did not understand how anyone could speak to another person that unkindly.  And then one day, I caught myself “being mean” to me.  I was struggling with a project, had missed a deadline and started berating myself for not being smart enough, driven enough, organized enough, blah, blah, blah.  Of course, once I started the negative self-talk it quickly spiralled out of control.  If only I was taller, younger, older prettier … well, you get the picture.

At that point I realized that I had spent way too much time and energy finding fault with myself and instead needed to start giving myself the pep talks I regularly gave my daughter.  I needed to learn how to shut off that negative voice and replace it with positive messaging.

Negative self-talk is by far a larger contributor to failure than lack of knowledge or experience.  The next time you find yourself doubting yourself, calling yourself down or focusing on the reasons why you think you can’t … stop …. and toot your own horn.

“What we think, we become.” –  Buddha


NOTE: This is a slightly revised re-post of one of my first blogs.  In the last week, the theme of positive self-talk has come up in so many conversations, with so many different people, that I thought I would bring this back up again.  I encourage you to shut that negative voice down, to be kind and gentle to yourself.  Go ahead and work hard to enhance skills, but don’t devalue the skills, the knowledge that  you have right now.