Customer Service Gone Astray

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

It was a night to celebrate.  My dear friend just became a grandfather for the first time and he wanted to treat us to our beverage of choice.  Since he is Irish, we headed to the nearest Irish Pub and he ordered Guinness for everyone.   We were all laughing, toasting and enjoying our friendship, when suddenly the lights that were strung above our heads came crashing down – broken glass and sparks flying everywhere.  The strand landed between my two friends and it was truly a miracle, kismet, or whatever you want to call it that no one was hurt. 

What amazed me, though, was the reaction of the owner.  We were the only group sitting on the patio at this point, so the server calmly walked into the restaurant and called the owner.  When she saw what happened, she quietly asked “are you ok?”  Then, without even waiting for an answer, she started rearranging the chairs on the patio.

Wait!  That’s it!!!  As one friend was holding her hand to see if any glass had wedged itself under her skin, and another friend was brushing broken glass from her purse and from of her dress, the owner was moving chairs around???  Her lack of emotion and compassion still astounds me.

I wanted to scream: “Can I see your manager?  I want to talk to someone who cares!” but there she was –  the boss, the owner, the person in charge – and she couldn’t care less. 

So this morning, as I think about how lucky we all were that no one got hurt, I find myself confused and annoyed at the lack of customer service and overall consideration that we received.  Because of that, I’d like to share with you the three techniques I feature in my customer service presentation:

                                                                                 Clarity          Character          Cultivate

Understanding and practicing each of these will guarantee that your clients or customers will never suffer the lack of consideration that we did.  Stay tuned next week and I’ll give you more information on each.  It’s good stuff and something you can start using immediately even at home with your family.  

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Grateful Memories in Spite of…

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Have you ever dreamed of something –  hoped for it, saved for it, imagined it – only to find out it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be?   That’s what happened to me on my recent trip to Italy.

You see, years ago I heard about an area called Cinque Terra.  It was described as a rugged portion of the coast on the Italian Riviera with five villages built into the cliffs.   It sounded so romantic, and any photo I saw of the area was breathtaking.  I just had to go and experience it for myself. 

So I saved and waited and saved some more.  And when I arrived, this is what I saw!  Hordes and hordes of tourists – so many that you could hardly move.  I learned later that each of the five towns has about 400 residents each, yet every year they have 1.2 billion visitors.  That’s billions with a capital B.  You had to fight your way to get on the trains, and sometimes the hiking trails were so crowded you were at a total standstill.

So much for my vision of sitting at a local cafe, sipping a cappuccino with the Italian residents. 

Now, don’t get me wrong.  It was still beautiful – just not the way I had imagined it.  So what do you do?  How do you handle a situation like this?

For me, I made a conscious choice to see the beauty that surrounded me.  I remembered the words of Mary Engelbreit:  “If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” 

I knew I would probably never be in this part of Italy again.  So I embraced the craziness and started conversations with visitors that surrounded me.  And then I ordered a bottle of wine – the local wine that you can’t get anywhere else.  I began to embrace the uniqueness of this area.  It didn’t happen immediately, but every time I found myself getting annoyed with the crowds, I simply said: “I am grateful for ________________.”

Now it’s your turn to fill in the blank.  No matter what is happening around you, good or bad, there is always something to be grateful for.  What memories will you choose to make?

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I Can’t Believe I Did It!

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

I thought it was impossible!  I didn’t think I could do it!!  But I did!!!

For two weeks – that’s 14 full days – I totally unplugged.  That means no phone, no emails, no text, no social media.  The reason?  I was traveling in Italy on a vacation and I wanted to have some real time off.   

Before I left, several friends told me to just spend a couple of minutes every morning checking my messages, and I agree that I was tempted, but I knew that those “couple of minutes” would turn into hours.  So I made a conscious decision to unplug.  I didn’t take my laptop or iPad or iPhone with me.  Well actually, I did take my iPhone but only used it to take photos.

It wasn’t easy, though, and I would offer three suggestions if you should ever decide to do the same, even if it’s only for a day or two: 

1.    Prepare.  Before you pull that plug, contact everyone who might need you or your services and tell them you will not be available – then give them specific dates.  I strongly suggest that you say you are leaving one day earlier than you actually are because I guarantee that everyone will want to talk to you as you are ready to walk out the door. 

2.       Don’t be tempted.  Make your decision and stick to it.  As I walked out my hotel room in Venice, there in the hallway was a computer set up for guests to use.  At first I thought: “Oh, what difference will one hour make.”  Then I walked past that computer, headed to the local coffee shop and sipped a cappuccino while chatting with other travelers.  A much better option!

3.       Never doubt yourself.  Once you return home to hundreds of emails waiting for you and more messages on social media than you can handle, it’s easy to ask yourself: “Was it worth it?”  And the answer is YES.  Every time you look at your photos you will remember why it was the best decision you could have made.

You know, I may never be in Italy again.  I can always catch up on Facebook and all my other messages once I return.  Just take a look at the photo I posted on this blog. It was much better to experience my own adventure than to read about others.

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Discover Your Adventure

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

I walked into a sporting goods store the other day and saw this poster.  It stopped me in my tracks.  Not because of the picture – my idea of camping is spending the night at my friend’s house instead of in my own bed.  But the words “Never Stop Exploring” really hit a chord with me.

What a great concept!  Can you imagine waking up every morning with the attitude that every  day is an adventure and something to be discovered, explored and experienced.

The good, the bad and the ugly.  No matter what is waiting for you.  Reach out to taste it, feel it, and learn from it.  I wonder if this would have made a difference when I was going through a really dark time in my life.  I wonder if it would have made it easier to get up and look for that new job, search for a new home or sit across that desk from the bankruptcy judge.   I wonder if thinking of the day as a new adventure, no matter what it was, would have made that journey of my life a little easier.   

I’ll never know, but you can be sure that there are more challenges yet to come.  Life is a roller coaster and you never know what’s around the next curve.   So all we can do is hold on tight and


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Smiles for Sale

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

How do you keep going, day after day?  How do you pump yourself up when you don’t even want to get out of bed some mornings?  It’s hard.  It’s really, really hard, but on those days when you just don’t think you can face another challenge, try this:

Choose to smile!

I’m not kidding; this really works.  And on those days when you just can’t muster up a smile of your own,  here’s a couple of helpful hints:

Mimic some sounds that force a smile, like making the long “e” sound.  It causes you to stretch the corners of your mouth and it comes close to the real thing.  This concept was actually proven by Robert Zajonc who did a study on how smiling can affect your mood.

Another trick is to look at pictures that amuse you, touch your heart, and make you smile no matter how crummy you feel.  What would it be for you?  Pictures of babies?  Pictures of puppies?  Pictures of shoes?  It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it warms your heart.  This video just may help get you started:

Choosing to smile – it sounds so simple and even a little bit hokey, but the key word here is CHOOSE.  There is only one person who can truly make a difference in your life and you already know the answer to that one – YOU.  So make a choice – will you choose to be miserable today or will you choose to take one step towards happiness.  It’s all up to you.

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Beauty in Your Own Back Yard

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Bigger houses, faster cars, more exotic vacations.  Sometimes it seems like we’re constantly looking for what’s next; always racing to find something better.

WHEW!  It can be exhausting!

That’s why I was so surprised when I looked out my window and saw this in my own back yard.  A little Japanese garden my husband planted a couple of years ago, and it’s finally arrived.  The beautiful flowering trees framed by the bright blue sky was breathtaking – and it is just steps away from my kitchen window.

It made me wonder how many other treasures have passed me by.  What other precious moments have I missed with my friends or family because I’m too busy with what I HAVE to do right now.

A good friend once asked me: “Can you remember what happened in your life six months ago that was so important you couldn’t take the time to enjoy the people around you?” 

And most of the time, my answer is “no.”  I can’t remember which email or text or meeting was so crucial that I had to drop everything to be there.  Now this doesn’t mean that you can blow off your responsibilities, but neither should you dismiss what is right in front of you in search of something you perceive to be better. 

So take a deep breath, look around, and tell me what you see.  What makes you stop for a moment and say: “Ah, now that’s lovely.”  In this world of instant everything, take a break and just BE.

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The Impact of Only Three Letters

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

What if you could become a stronger leader, better listener and awesome parent, spouse and friend – all by changing one word?  Yep, that’s right.  All it takes is one word.

Here’s a quick example of how only three letters can change someone’s perspective and attitude.  This example can be used with a team member, friend, and even your teen-age kids:

           “Julie, you did a great job on the project, but…”

What happens when you hear the word “but.”  First of all, it discounts everything that was said before it.  Julie no longer remembers that you said she did a great job, instead she’s waiting to hear the negative comment that follows.  She may even get her feathers all ruffled up, getting ready to defend whatever it is you’re going to say next.

What if you replaced the word “but” with “and?”  How would that sound???

           “Julie, you did a great job on that project, and…”

Now she’s open to hear what you have to say next.  No matter what your ending statement is, Julie is more receptive. 

So the lesson is – change the word “but” to “and.”  It sounds simple, but it’s not.  You see, I just broke my own rule and used the word “but” in the previous sentence.  It takes some work, and it is well worth the time and the effort.  You will get more of what you want, have happier employees and family members, and people will want to hang around you because of your positive attitude.

It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

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Pop the Bubbly

Development-Positive Attitude

I simply can’t believe it!  Today I post my 100th blog  and it’s a huge reason to celebrate. 

For those of you who truly know me, you’ve already noticed that technology has been a challenge for me.  I’m getting better every day but I really have to work at it.  You see, I was raised at a time when we used typewriters – the kind with a return handle.  And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you’ll understand how I feel about technology – many times I don’t know what YOU are talking about.

So starting my first blog was a HUGE learning curve.

It all started when a good friend of mine asked me to help him with his blog.  My answer was quick: “Sure, as long as you realize I’ve never read one or written one.”  Then I went home and googled: What is a blog.

He then emailed me a blog about writing blogs.  I found this interesting and began to read it, and I really liked her writing style:

A few weeks later, I visited my brother and he had a book about writing blogs on his desk.  I asked: “Are you thinking of writing blogs?”  His answer was: “No, my daughter gave it to me.  Take it if you want.”  (Blog inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho)

So there it was.  The third time the idea of blogs came to me, and since I believe in the rule of three, I had to take a serious look at it. So I wrote my first blog on September 22, 2016. 

And, as they say, the rest is history.  So today, 100 weeks later, I celebrate taking that first step into the unknown, into feeling uncomfortable, and not knowing what was going to happen next.  Because of that, I have grown from this experience in ways I never imagined possible.

So now I’m curious.  What leap of faith have you taken?  Anything you’d like to share that took you from “What the hell am I doing here?” to “Man, I’m really proud of myself?”  I’d love to hear about it.

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One Cupcake Too Many

Professional Speaker, Positive Attitude, Personal Development

Here I go again!  The Easter holiday just passed and I couldn’t keep myself from reaching for the jelly beans, cupcakes and chocolate bunnies.  Now they’re showing up on my hips, waistline and thighs.  UGH!!!  It was a lot of fun putting on the weight – not so much fun taking it off.

That’s why I came up with three new tricks to help me shed those extra pounds – AGAIN!!!  Maybe a few of them can help you as well:

First: I’m trying to look at this whole weight loss thing a little differently.  Instead of telling myself “no,” I simply do a review at the end of the day and see how I could improve.  What did I eat?  What could I have changed?  What would make tomorrow a better day?  For some reason, asking these questions makes me feel less deprived.  It’s a subtle shift in words and a shift in my attitude. I look at how I can be better instead of beating myself up over the choices I made.

Second: I wear my clothes that are a little tight on me.  It’s a gentle nudge telling me I need to lose some weight.  So as I reach for that dessert after dinner, and it feels like my button is going to pop off and fly across the room, it’s a reminder that maybe I can pass on that chocolate chip cookie this time.

Third: When I have a craving, and for me it’s usually chocolate, I do something to keep my hands busy.  Sometimes I call a friend or I do the laundry or anything that takes my mind off a snack.  It helps me to think about something other than food.

So what do you think?  Give some of these ideas a try.  And the next time you’re tempted to go on a Chocolate Bunny Binge, they just may help you recover from your cravings a little quicker. 

Do you have any other ideas to share?  I’d love to hear them.

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Remembering Traditions My Way

Professional Speaker-Positive Attitude-Personal Development

I am not a creature of habit, I never have been.  However, as the Easter holiday approaches I am reminded of the traditions I grew up with – traditions that I have never forgotten.  And they still bring a smile to my face more than 50 years later. 

Growing up, my family didn’t celebrate Easter in the typical way.  I don’t remember any baskets filled with candy, nor were there any Easter egg hunts.  Instead, my mom would fill a huge wicker basket with all the food she was going to prepare for our holiday dinner.  Our basket was overflowing with a huge ham leg, a loaf of bread with a cross baked into the crust, a cake in the shape of a lamb, a jar of horseradish, and I’m sure a few other items I’ve forgotten.

My brother and I would lug this heavy basket to the church parking lot and wait for the priest to come out and bless it, then haul it all the way back home. 

At seven years old, I never really understood the meaning behind all this, but now I realize that it created a bond between my brother and me that lives on today, and it has left me with so many special memories that will last a lifetime.

Hmmm, now I’m wondering if my brother has the same memory of those Easter holidays.  I wonder if he gets the same warm feeling when Easter comes around.  Maybe he doesn’t even remember them at all.  I’ll have to ask him the next time I see him.  OR maybe not. Maybe this is something I’ll keep to myself with my own images and my own emotions.  I don’t want to ruin this happy memory.  This one is just for me.

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