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Friday, February 01, 2013
Volume 18 | # 425
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Keep doing good deeds long enough and you'll probably turn out a good man in spite of yourself. » Louis Auchincloss

A Mood Alteration

We were the only customers in a small school uniform store on an early Saturday afternoon.

Yet, we had to search out one of the three employees there each time we needed to find something or ask a question. They were easy to find, grouped tightly and talking to each other behind the counter.

After 20 minutes of frustration, we left without finding pants in the size and color we wanted. When we got home, my wife found that very item we asked about using an online search.

It also showed that the store we had just left (15 miles away) had it. We called. Why lookie here, they did have it after all.

In a crunch and not able to wait for shipping, we jumped in the car and headed back. Surely, these folks would meet us at the door with apologies.

Not only was there no initial apology, no one offered one even after I pointed out while paying that it would have been nice not to have made two trips.

Frustrated, we walked out with a stack of pants that needed slight alterations. It was now late on a Saturday afternoon.

I doubted we’d make it home in time to find any alteration shops open. As it happened, there was a small alterations store in that same strip mall, so we took our chances.

The guy who greeted us was busy but upbeat and friendly. I explained what we needed and asked when was the soonest we could pick up the pants.

I figured he’d pull out a calendar and put a cherry on our frustrating day. Instead, he smiled, “You’d really like this for Monday, huh?” I mumbled, “Well, I know that’s probably not likely, but, yeah.”

He said, “Well, how about we measure your son now and I can have one pair of pants altered while you wait and the rest by Monday evening.”

I don’t remember the last time I felt like high-fiving a service provider. I told him, “You sir, are THE MAN!”

He smiled and said, “We appreciate your business.”

Good to his word, he took someone off of another job and had her alter my son’s pants. We walked out smiling 20 minutes later.

The contrast between a staff that acted like our business was guaranteed and a small business man who acted like our business was anything but certain was stark.

One left me dispirited. The other actually motivated me.

I drove home from that shop on Monday actually feeling inspired to exceed expectations on the jobs on my plate that week.

Will your service inspire others today?

Nerves of Iron

While traveling this week, I began passing the time listening to podcasts I’ve been meaning to get to. One that had me chuckling was an interview of Mike Tyson conducted by Adam Carolla.

During their funny and surprisingly revealing chat, Tyson made a comment that had me thinking of a new slide to include in a few future presentations.

Truth-be-told, it wouldn’t be the first quote I’ve used from the pugilistic sage.

One of my all-time favorite quotes is from Tyson. He was talking specifically about fighting, but the message is pretty universal.

When asked about an opponent’s comments about his plans for beating him, Tyson answered, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

Violent connotations aside, that’s a great quote. The folks who succeed in the long run are those willing and able to adjust when their Plan A’s don’t work.

(Oh, and by the way, most folks’ Plan A’s don’t work.)

This time around, Carolla asked Tyson about what it was like when he was the most feared boxer in the world. It seemed that many of his opponents walked into the ring terrified.

Tyson acknowledged that, but he shared something interesting.

He said that he was scared, also. Yes, Iron Mike, the “Baddest Man on the Planet”, was scared every time he stepped into the ring.

His quote was, “Any fighter who says he isn’t scared is a liar.”

That statement had me smiling and reflecting on how many times I’ve preached to everyone from my sons to youth teams to bank managers that there is no shame in being a little scared or nervous about a challenge.

Heck, being nervous about a new challenge is a sign that you may have enough common sense to actually meet that challenge.

There is a common misperception that successful folks somehow get over “nerves.” And sure, past successes have a tendency to calm your nerves when facing a new test.

But the most successful among us are continually taking on additional and increasing challenges. So, they are regularly still feeling (at least a little) nervous.

But they learn not to fear, well… fear. They accept that being nervous is par-for-the-course and keeps them on their toes, ready to perform.

Are you taking on any challenges that make you (at least a little) nervous this week?

We must travel in the direction of our fear. » John Berryman

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