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!

Watch Out for Customers!

  • Breaking News: Customer tries to get freebie AGAIN!vintage newsboy
  • This just in: Reports say number of cranky customers on the rise.
  • Business Bulletin: Customers are clueless.
  • In the News:  Customers the highest cause of stress in service professionals.

As humans, we tend to focus on the ‘bad stuff and forget about the good stuff or the normal stuff.  When an anomaly happens, it makes the headlines. Big, bold letters and dramatic language sell papers, encourage clicks and create huddles around water coolers.  Just think of all the headlines and intense media coverage last month regarding the safety of air travel.  The loss of life is tragic.  I cannot begin to imagine the depths of pain and suffering felt around the globe because of that. Too often though, that’s where we get stuck. We forget about the millions of people who got on a plane and arrived safely at their final destination.

I see this same perspective in the service industry.  Sharing stories about unreasonable, cranky customers is common.  Some people go on and on about the cranky, rude, or “out to get a freebie” customer. After a while, they start to perceive all customers as cranky, rude and out-to-get something.  Their attitude towards customers tends to bring on more stress than the actual customer.

Yes some customers will lie to get freebies from you. Some are crankier than others.  As for clueless – the customer isn’t the expert. They’re not supposed to be, so don’t expect them to be.

Here’s an idea.  Instead of sharing stories about the “bad’ customers, share stories about the good to great ones. Count how many good to great customers you serve in a day instead of how many ‘bad’ customers.  Focus on the many positive customer interactions, instead of on the small percentage of cranky, rude and out-to-get something people.  You’ll be happier, and when you’re happier, your customers are happier.

Do this on a regular basis and in no time, you’ll be watching for the customer instead of watching out for the customer.


Feel Good Friday: This Granny Rocks!

The attitude we choose to put on in the morning has a huge impact on how our day is going to go.  When we choose to look at the bright side, when we choose to look for best in any situation, our day ends much better than when we choose to only see the negative.

Here in Manitoba, some of us are getting a little impatient waiting for spring to arrive.  This grandma from Brandon, Manitoba has decided to enjoy our very long winter instead of complain about it.  Imagine how much better our world would be if we all had her positive outlook on life.  Enjoy!

Will Stress Manage You or Will You Manage Stress?

The computer problems I thought had been resolved are back.  Ok, not all of them; just one.  For some reason, MS Outlook has once again decided that it’s only going to send emails, not receive them.  I am in a particularly busy time with work right now (that is not a complaint!) and there is a lot going on in my personal life as well.

Yesterday I realized I was allowing these external pressures to impact my well-being. Ironically,  I am facilitating a stress management session this morning.  The timing could not have been better as it forced me to once again reflect on the importance of managing my reaction to life’s hiccups.

In my workshop, we ask the following questions:

  1.  Is there something I can do to alter this situation to make it less stressful?
  2. Is this something that should even be on my plate or is it an activity I am doing just because it’s always been done?  Can someone else do it? (The caveat to that question is to make very sure that you are not putting undue stress on someone else by asking them to take on a task.)
  3. If I cannot alter the situation or get rid of it, what steps can I take to keep myself healthy while working through it?
  4. When does this really need to be done by?  Sometimes we place undue pressure on ourselves; we try and accomplish way too much in too short a time frame.
  5. What am I putting off or avoiding that is causing me to feel stressed out?

Maureen Killoran said “Stress is not what happens to us.  It’s our response TO what happens.  And RESPONSE is something we can choose.”

Today is Monday, either the beginning of another stressful week or the beginning of an another week full of opportunities.

You choose.


Related posts:

Stress and Bubble Wrap

What’s Your Happy Pill?

When my children were young, we always had happy pills on hand. If I’d had a tough day and wasn’t feeling my mommy best when I picked them up after work, I’d ask them for a happy pill before we got into the house.  Or if I noticed one of them wasn’t quite their exuberant self, I’d hand them a little happy pill to take on our way home.  Sometimes the pills were invisible; sometimes they were candy coated.

Of course, there isn’t a pill that magically takes away the bad and replaces it with goodness and light and as my two children grew up, we stopped playing the happy pill game.  Sometimes, I miss that silly little game.  It was such a great way to say “ I’ve had a bad day” or  “I see you’ve had a disappointing day.”  Our small happy pill ritual opened the door to hugs and further discussion.

I’ll admit that sometimes I think it would be nice to solve all the challenges, the disappointment of half successes or full on failures with a happy pill, but looking back on all those moments, I’m glad it wasn’t that easy.  If it was, I may never have learned I was strong enough to overcome challenges. I would not have learned how to pick myself up from failure and find a new or different way of achieving success.

Having said that, I believe that in some respects we do have happy pills available when we are feeling down, when things aren’t working our way, when we’re not sure we are on the right path.  My happy pills are memories that bring a smile to my face.  My happy pills are the many people in my life who bring me joy; my husband, my children and the rest of my family and family-in-law.  Instead of getting caught up in my problems, I choose to pop a happy thought into my mind.

 What do you do when you feel the world is against you? How do move your attitude from negative to can do?