“If the customer comes first, there is a good chance the customer will come back.”

“If the customer comes first, there is a good chance the customer will come back.”

—Author Unknown

My very favorite place to shop for groceries is Trader Joe’s. On average, they receive over 80% of my food dollars. They probably would receive 100% if their store carried everything I wanted.

Despite their small geographic footprint compared to other supermarkets, they do a great job.

The quality and variety of their offerings and their logistics are brilliant. Even beyond that is their extraordinarily kind, engaging, and helpful staff, and their almost unbelievable return policy.

If you have not shopped there, imagine returning an item you ate but did not enjoy, without the packaging or a receipt, and receiving a refund, no questions asked.

EXERCISE:

Where and how could you step up your game by making an even greater effort to put your customers and those you serve first?

“Children are the living message we send to a time we will not see.”

“Children are the living message we send to a time we will not see.”

—Neil Postman, 20th Century media theorist

Image from nasa.gov

How familiar are you with the 1977 Voyager interstellar Missions to the planets of the outer solar system?

One of the unique aspects of these pioneering space probes was the inclusion of a 12-inch gold plated copper disk containing sounds and messages selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, should some other intelligent beings discover it.

Voyager 1 moved into interstellar space in August 2012, Voyager 2 in November 2018. Today, they are far beyond the boundaries of our solar system, speeding through interstellar space into unknown parts of our Milky Way Galaxy, still sending scientific information about their surroundings back to Earth.

EXERCISE:

Take a few minutes to consider children and grandchildren—whether your own or part of your extended family—as golden discs you are sending out into the world. What living messages can and will you teach and share with them to take into a time you may never see?

“It is difficult to find happiness within oneself, but it is impossible to find it anywhere else.”

“It is difficult to find happiness within oneself, but it is impossible to find it anywhere else.”

—Arthur Schopenhauer, 19th Century German Philosopher

Image from Amazon.com

Can you recall any of the words from Madonna’s song, Material Girl? If you do remember a few words, I bet you can also recall the melody.

We do live in a material world in which dealing with our day-to-day physical environment is essential. For most people, life is filled with highs and lows, with varying levels of happiness along the way.

A surprising thing happens when we periodically move beyond or perhaps better said, within, to examine, discover, and explore our spiritual and soulful selves.

EXERCISE:

Beyond deepening your own spiritual practices, consider exploring the journey toward greater happiness within by reading, and studying the book, Toward a Meaningful Life. Perhaps discuss it with others in your life who are also ready for a deeper look around.

Friday Review: Responsibility

FRIDAY REVIEW: RESPONSIBILITY

How willingly do you take on responsibility? Here are three responsibility-related posts you may have missed.

 

“I have an existential map. It has ‘you are here’ written all over it.”

 

 

 

“If you want your children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.”

 

 

 

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”

 

 

 

“You own an army if you know how to win people’s trust and support.”

“You own an army if you know how to win people’s trust and support.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Amazon.com

Social capitalism and masterful networking are cornerstone skills of many successful people. Take a moment to examine the variety of people who have trusted and supported your personal and professional efforts up to this point in your life.

In his book, Achieving Success Through Social Capital, Dr. Wayne Baker documents the fundamentally understood concept that relationships are valuable not just qualitatively, but also quantifiably. When others help us, we tend to reciprocate by making efforts to help them.

With this giving and supportive perspective in mind, we can all build and foster our own armies to support our personal and professional objectives. We can also act as foot soldiers in the armies of our supporters.

EXERCISE:

Consider checking out Wayne Baker’s book, or email me and I will send you a PDF copy of my Masterful Networking Workbook, which can be read in 15-20 minutes.

“You cannot antagonize and influence at the same time.”

“You cannot antagonize and influence at the same time.”

—J.S. Knox, Associate Professor of Sociology, Liberty University

Image from Unsplash by Josh Calabrese

Have you ever participated in a team building session with your professional colleagues? One of the goals of such exercises is to gain a greater understanding of each other, and to provide constructive input toward one another’s leadership styles and effectiveness.

The assessment I use for team building sessions categorizes individuals into one of four potential styles, depending on the situation. The four styles are:

  1. The Team Leader, who focuses on both people and results
  2. The Taskmaster, who focuses solely on results
  3. The Social Worker, who focuses solely on people
  4. The Benchsitter, who focuses on neither

EXERCISE:

How would you—or better yet, your associates—describe your leadership style? How might you and your colleagues—maybe even your family members—rate each other as it relates to being an influencer versus an antagonist?

“There’s something in everybody that longs for that awakening to be more true to yourself.”

“There’s something in everybody that longs for that awakening to be more true to yourself.”

—Eckhart Tolle, Canadian spiritual teacher

Image from Unsplash by Alex Mares

Imagine you are about to take four separate road trips in your car:

The first is to your neighborhood shopping center.

The second is to a new part of town you have yet to visit.

The third is in a foreign country with a foreign language and road signs that are not in English.

Finally, you dare to take a road trip in a country where you need to drive on the opposite side of the road.

How alert would you be on each of these journeys? How awake would you need to be to arrive safely?

EXERCISE:

How can and will you journey far more deeply into your true self and awaken more fully to what awaits you there?

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.”

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.”

—Nido Qubein, President of High Point University

Image from Unsplash by Branden Collum

In one or two sentences, please describe your present circumstances in the following areas:

  • Your health
  • Your relationships at home
  • Your relationships at work
  • Your personal finances
  • Your level of happiness
  • Your emotional well-being

Feel free to add a few more priority categories that come to mind. Based on your description, which of these areas would you rate as Poor, OK, Good, Great, or Outstanding?

EXERCISE:

Select the one area in which you most wish to progress. Note that your current circumstances are simply the place where you will begin. Consider developing an action plan for the next week or month that will take you toward your desired objectives.

Feel free to send me a copy of your plan and I will be happy to look it over.

Friday Review: Silence

FRIDAY REVIEW: SILENCE

How often do you experience regular periods of silence? Here are three silence-related posts you may have missed.

 

“A smart person knows what to say. A wise person knows whether or not to say it.”

 

 

 

“Fools live to regret their words, wise men to regret their silence.”

 

 

 

“Speak your truth even if your voice shakes.”

 

 

 

 

“I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.”

“I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.”

—Eartha Kitt, 20th Century American singer, actress, dancer

Image from Barry Demp Coaching

Have you ever done a values clarification exercise? You know – the ones that ask you deep, probing questions such as:

At the end of your life, what would you like people to say about you?

Beyond the usual thoughts of family and making a difference in the lives of others, I would include being a student, a teacher, and of course, a coach, supporting the growth and development of others.

EXERCISE:

How important is the process of learning in your life?

What current and future developmental efforts and contributions will you have shared with others when you move on from this world?