Growing Up with Brian – Tales of a Tormenting Little Brother!
I was recently asked to share some stories of my younger brother who will be 70 in February. We grew up in a small town in Iowa where our Dad was the postmaster and my mother was an art teacher. There were four of us – I was the oldest, then Bruce 16 months younger, Brian 5 years younger and Beth 10 years younger. We did not have a lot of money, but we never wanted for anything, so it was a pretty idyllic life – EXCEPT for Brian!
Though I love him dearly today, NO ONE made my life more miserable growing up than Brian! Being five years younger gave him the advantage of being “just a little kid” to my parents, and with his charm and mischievous giggle, he got by with murder (or so I thought at the time) in our house.
When he was about seven, my grandfather brought him a pet alligator from Florida. He kept it in his room in a tub, and as it grew, it could get out. Every single time, it would come to my bedroom because it was the southern most point in our house. I would yell and scream (which just absolutely delighted him!) and then make him wash the floor with Babo……YUK!!!! He held onto that thing until it got to be about two feet long, I think just to torment me.
After dinner we all had jobs – either carry out the dishes, wash the dishes, or dry the dishes. Conveniently, that was ALWAYS the time that Brian just HAD to go to the bathroom. He would stay in there grunting and singing until almost all the work was done and then suddenly graciously appear to do his part. My other brother, Bruce, and I would complain every night, but my Dad always said “Nature came first” – Ha!
When we were young, we only had a sedan car with a front seat and a back seat. There were six of us, so there were three in each seat. The rule was that Brian and I always had to be in the OPPOSITE seats, so if I was in the front with Mother and Dad, he had to be in the back. Almost every summer we would drive 8 hours to Colorado to see relatives. Of course we had no AC in those days, either, so it was uncomfortable to say the least. On those boring long drives Brian would do his best to drive me crazy! He made up the dumbest possible song about “Happy Anniversary, Farmer Alf, to Thee”” and would sing it over and over and over at the top of his lungs. When I would have hysterics and my Dad would finally tell him to “BE QUIET”, he would wait a little bit, and then he would start HUMMING the tune. Of course that started the whole scene over again! This would go on for the whole eight hours – it is amazing that my folks did not put him out of the car and drive on! 😉
When I was in Junior High, probably the worst time of a young girl’s life in terms of self-esteem. one day Brian and his friend, Larry. got up at 5:30 am, took chalk and wrote “ANNE IS FAT” (they called me Anne growing up since I had an Aunt Barbara) on EVERY SQUARE OF THE SIDEWALK FOR EIGHT BLOCKS to the school, I am sure giggling every moment of the way anticipating my reaction! Of course I was humiliated and they were delighted. That night my Dad made them go back and wash it all off, which caused even more attention. When it was time for his “punishment” amidst my wailing and tears, instead of staying mad, my folks got tickled with his giggles and ended up letting him off with a light sentence. I was FURIOUS! Can you imagine what they might have done with all that energy that could have been positive????
The year he was nine when Polaroid cameras were brand new, he got one for Christmas. The next week he proceeded to take pictures of me just getting up in the morning, in the bathroom, and even putting on my girdle (which girls wore when they dressed up in those days – a wicked version of “Spanks!”). Then the next week he took them to the high school where I was a Freshman and sold them to the highest bidder. Of course all the guys got to see them, so again he made me want to strangle him! I can just see him giggling today……..and all he got was a lecture and the camera taken away for a week.
One of my very first dates was with a guy in my sophomore class to a school dance. Brian knew how important it was to me, so of course he thought up a “plan.” The closet of his room had a window that opened onto our front porch, so when the young man came to pick me up, all dressed in his best suit, Brian dumped a bucket of water out the window on his head. Again, my parents tried to be mad but had to stifle their grins in light of Brian’s absolute delight. I still think of that poor date today.
The end result of all this (he thought good-natured) heckling was that when I was a senior in high school, I wrote a Humorous Declamation about Brian titled, “A Fly in my Ointment”……and I WON the entire State Conference! I so love the person he has become today, but it is a wonder that I did not KILL him growing up!
Now Brian has a gorgeous Executive Retreat Center in Chaing Mia, Thailand, where he coaches high level executives from all over the world. I wonder what they will think when they read about this mischievous younger brother! 😉
Here is a picture of the two of us on his visit to Florida last year.
Frank, Michael and I celebrating our arrival in Atlanta after a 9 hour drive Saturday night – feeling SAFE at last!
As I write this, I am sitting in Atlanta at the lovely home of my friend Frank’s daughter and son-in-law watching the storm as it approaches our area. Thank God, Hurricane Irma is now only a tropical storm, yet the wind and rain are still fierce.
Since I live on the beach on Siesta Key, a barrier island in Sarasota, Florida, we had a mandatory evacuation on Saturday. After about four different plans during the previous days, Frank and I finally decided to leave that morning to drive north to Atlanta rather than staying where what seemed was going to be the eye of the storm.
In all this preparation, anxiety, and decision making, here are some of the things I learned:
1. PREPARE FOR THE WORST AND HOPE FOR THE BEST. Like everyone else in the area, I began on Tuesday to pack precious things away, get water, canned food, candles and gas, fill water containers, clean out the refrigerator, go through important papers, get all my work clothes and materials ready, and generally plan for the possibility of being off the island and without power for several days or more.
2. BE FLEXIBLE. My first plan was to go to a girlfriend’s condo downtown while Frank was determined to stay on Longboat Key, the island where he lives. Then as the news looked worse, I convinced him to join me at a friend’s home inland. Finally, at the last minute we decided to leave – which seemed like the wisest decision at the time. Fortunately, we had a safe trip and found one gas station open on the way to ensure we could make it to Atlanta. From Tuesday on, however, I have had an upset stomach trying to determine the best course of action. Thanks goodness we kept all options open.
3. DETERMINE WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO YOU. As I was struggling with what to pack away, which rooms would likely survive windows blowing out, and which things to take with me, I really began to think about what I would miss if I lost everything. Of course, the first thing I did was to pack all my pictures in a plastic tub, cover the étagère with my doll collection and my grand piano, and move my desktop computer to the only room without windows. I packed my insurance policies, my checkbooks, my daytimer, my iphone, laptop and ipad as well as an overnight bag with toiletries and fresh clothes and underwear. Then came the decisions about what else to save. What really amazed me was how little I realized I would truly miss. After all, they are all just “things” that can probably be replaced, but lives cannot. (I even almost secretly hoped that all the piles of papers and books that I need to sort might just “happen” to get wet and I could simply dump them without any guilt! 😉
4. BE BLESSSED WITH HOW MANY PEOPLE CARE ABOUT YOU. I have been overwhelmed with all the calls, emails, and texts from friends and family all over the world who have shared their concern for our safety and the precious gift of their prayers. We have been deeply touched by the generosity of so many who offered us places to stay, their help in any way we might need, and even financial help if needed. The National Speakers Association has been calling every member in the affected area and offering help. One of my dear speaker friends knew I had a speaking event in Texas this Thursday and offered to be my standby if I could not fly out on Wednesday. Even when we stopped at the only station open for gas on our drive to Atlanta, the staff could not have been nicer. We are MOST grateful, however,l to Frank’s daughter and her husband and son who welcomed us so graciously at the last moment!
5. PRAY UNCEASINGLY FOR OTHERS. Even though Frank and I have been spared, how we all must keep praying for others who have been greatly impacted by this storm. Prayers DO count! I may still have water (won’t know for sure until I return on Friday night); however, that is a small inconvenience compared to so many, many others.
I will always remember these lessons and the GOODNESS of people and the way we can come together during a crisis. Our world desperately needs this hope right now. I am feeling so very BLESSED!
Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to you without coming away better and happier. ~ Mother Teresa
As we become more technologically advanced, busier. and more stressed than ever before, we often don’t even see the opportunities around us every day to be kind. Our workplaces, our cities, and our homes are in desperate need of more simple kindness and caring.
Can you imagine a world in which everyone is kind to everyone else? Think about the last kind thing someone did for you and then think about the last kind thing you did for someone else. What difference did that act make in each of your lives?
Ten easy creative ways to show kindness to others:
Make a short visit or take a small plant to an elderly neighbor, retired employee, widow, or person in your church or community who is alone.
Watch for your mailman, custodian or garbage collector and offer them a cold (or hot) drink.
Ask to speak to the manager of a store about an employee who has done a good job.
See if you can make eye contact and smile at everyone as you go down the hall or the street.
Graciously thank people who are cleaning the streets, the restrooms, and the offices in your community.
Buy a co-worker or any person in uniform a cup of coffee as a “thank you.”
Offer to help young mothers with children by holding doors, carrying packages or groceries, or entertaining the children for a moment.
Quietly slip some money into the pocket of a friend or co-worker who needs it.
Ask to take a picture of the couple or the whole group when you see someone taking a photo of others.
Call a fellow employee or person whom you know has been sick just to see how they are.
Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to you without coming away better and happier. ~ Mother Teresa
This thought from Mother Teresa has long been a philosophy of life for me. My desire is that no one ever leave my presence or my presentations without feeling a little better about themselves. That is a CHOICE each of us can make in every interaction we have, simply by being kind!
Let me share a simple story with you about how I apply kindness in my life:
“One snowy February day I walked into the Ladies washroom at O’Hare Airport. There was a woman there who was cleaning. She was all hunched over, glum-looking, and listlessly going through the motions of her job. I walked over, gently touched her on the arm, looked her directly in the eyes, and said, ‘Thank you so much for keeping this washroom clean. You’re really making a difference for all of us who travel.’
She stopped what she was doing, looked at me with wonder in her eyes, immediately straightened up, and began cleaning with a passion, a huge smile spreading across her face. By the time I left, she was passing out towels to all the women who were washing their hands!
I left that washroom with tears in my eyes because that interaction had cost me nothing. However, it changed her life, at least for a few moments. My appreciation of her and the value of her very important work gave her a purpose and a reason for being. SHE WAS MAKING A DIFFERENCE!”
(Reprinted with permission from “The Simple Truths of Appreciation”)
That kind act is one which any of us could repeat, and think what would happen in your home, your workplace, and your community if everyone chose to be kinder. Kindness raises morale. Wouldn’t you like to live and work in an environment where everyone was kind? It is simple!
I have been blessed to speak all over the world on Customer Service, Employee Engagement, Appreciation and Recognition, and Creating Workplaces of Joy. My focus is always on how one person can make a difference no matter what his or her station in life or job may be, and kindness is an integral part of that message.
In my presentations, I always use a model I created many years ago to help me understand the choices I have to be kind and make a difference every day. In every interaction we have, we have a CHOICE to create a minus, a zero or a plus for that other person. Each time we are kind and recognize them as a human being with value, we leave that person with a plus. Think about how I created a plus for the person in the restroom.
Your Choice in any Interaction
Can you imagine a world in which everyone is kind to everyone else? Think about the last kind thing someone did for you and then think about the last kind thing you did for someone else. What difference did that act make in each of your lives?
Let’s look at an acronym to help you remember how to be kind:
K = Kinesthetic
Touch enhances a sense of well-being. Just a simple handshake or touch of fingertips creates a connection between you and another person. So many people in our world today are desperate for the kindness of a gentle touch. In fact, research has shown that to be your healthiest, you need five hugs a day!
A friend’s husband tells about a manager he had who shook hands with each employee as they came in the door every morning. That simple act of kindness built trust, broke down barriers, and even the union members began to respect him as a kind man. After several years of working for him, when this manager thanked him for his good work, her husband came home and cried because it meant so much to him
Become aware, too, of your tone of voice, body language and facial expressions. Do you LOOK like a kind person? Remember that your words can make a huge difference. Mother Teresa says, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
I = Imaginative
Use your creativity to come up with ideas to be kinder to people. They will be surprised and you will have fun. Natalie Peace of Booster Juice Company started a “22 Days of Kiindness” program at three of the businesses she owned. She paid all 50 staff members to do shifts where their only duty was to perform creative acts of kindness : giving flowers to strangers, washing windows for neighboring businesses, and generally going out of their way to brighten someone’s day. She also ran a radio campaign to challenge others in the community. They even asked their customers to take a pledge to commit an act of kindness for the next 22 days.
She says, “There were so many wins from this creative initiative : free advertising for my businesses, more customers, increased loyalty among existing customers, and my staff became even more engaged and motivated. Did this make my businesses more profitable? You bet! But the truth is, I measure success on multiple bottom lines, including impact on my team and my community.”
N = Neighborly
Do you remember “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood”? He was one of the kindest men ever, and also think of State Farm Insurance’s motto: “Like a good neighbor, Sate Farm is there.” Even the Bible says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you think about someone who was a good neighbor, it was probably because they were kind and you could count on them. Look around your home, your workplace, and your community to find ways to be a better neighbor to those with whom you live and work.
D = Deliberate
Be purposeful and deliberate in planning ways to be kind. You need to have a strategy. One of the ways I encourage my audience members to be kinder is the following: In the morning put five pennies in your right hand pocket, and every time you do something kind for someone, move one penny to the other pocket, Don’t go home that night until all five pennies are in the other pocket. This is also a great strategy to use with your team or your family. At dinner or some chosen time during the day, each person share what they did to show kindness to others.
Finally, kindness IS contagious. By becoming aware of how you use your body, getting your creative juices going, thinking like a good neighbor, and planning a strategy to be kinder, you will spread that spirit throughout your workplace and your community, leading to business success and a far more caring world.
“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.”
BARBARA GLANZ BIOGRAPHY
A member of the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame and one of fewer than 700 Certified Speaking Professionals worldwide, Barbara Glanz, CSP, CPAE, works with organizations to improve morale, retention and service and with people who want to rediscover the joy in their work and in their lives. She is the first speaker on record to have spoken on all 7 continents and in all 50 states. Known as “the business speaker who speaks to your heart as well as to your head,” Barbara is the author of twelve books including The Simple Truths of Service Inspired by Johnny the Bagger®, CARE Packages for the Workplace, and180 Ways to Spread Contagious Enthusiasm™. Voted “best keynote presenter you have heard or used” by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, Barbara uses her Master’s degree in Adult Learning to design programs that cause behavior change. She lives and breathes her personal motto: “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™” and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.barbaraglanz.com.
Journal of Australia Trip
TRIP TO AUSTRALIA – September 28 – October 18
September 28 – I had the most difficult time ever packing for this trip – anyone who knows me well knows I NEVER travel light! 😉 We had five internal flights through the country where I could only have ONE BAG of 50 pounds. With such different weather conditions (cool in Sydney, cold in Melbourne and Adelaide, and VERY hot in Queensland), I really struggled with what to take and how to get it all in for 50 pounds. Thank goodness patient Frank had some extra room!;-)
Our flight to Atlanta left Sarasota late morning. Unfortunately, we had a 3 hour layover in Atlanta before the 5 hour flight to LA; however, thankfully Frank and I are both members of the wonderful Delta Sky Club, so we always have a nice place to wait. The long 16 hour flight to Sydney began about 11:00 pm from LA, so after dinner and a couple of movies, both Frank and I got a few hours’ sleep. Although we were in coach, we each had neck pillows and I took an ambien, so it wasn’t quite as bad as 16 hours on an airplane sounds! (The trip home, however, was another story……..)
September 29 – When we arrived in Sydney at 6:30 am after travelling through 15 time zones, we were met by a driver and taken immediately to our hotel, the Radisson Blu, which was just a few blocks from the Circular Harbor where all the action is. Sydney is the largest and the oldest city in Australia with 4 million people and is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is a very young country with the average age being 37. We were also intrigued that we were advised not to tip since the minimum wage is $17.40!
The children have school all year (40 weeks), there is a national curriculum, and they all wear uniforms for equality. Hats are compulsory any time they are out in the sun because they have the highest incidence of skin cancer. Residents are taxed only on the land value of their homes, not the building itself – and there is no capital gains tax. Good reasons to move there! 😉
It was raining and cool when we arrived (our only day of rain), but we decided to walk the few blocks to the Harbor and the Opera House. Right outside the Opera House was a huge celebration from Fox News for the Sydney Cup (the super bowl of rugby which they call “football”) with all the media, players, and lots of crowds, so that was a fun orientation to the culture. One of my dreams has always been to see something (anything!) at the Sydney Opera House. While there, we found that there was a Beethoven performance on our last night in Sydney, so I was thrilled when we purchased tickets!
Over the Christmas holidays in Portland, Oregon, one day I played “The Game of Life” with my precious nine year old grandson, Simon, for five hours. Not only did we have a delightful sharing time, but it also got me to thinking about the REAL game of life.
Like the board game, our lives are a journey with lots of choices along the way and special “paydays” as well as obstacles to overcome. However, when the board game ends, as John Ortberg wrote, “It all goes back in the box!” Not so with our lives, yet we can always have a new beginning whether it be each moment, each day, or especially each new year. Since this is the beginning of a new year, I have been pondering my “game” and how I want to “play” it this new season.
First of all, I always choose a theme for my year. This year I have decided my theme will be SIMPLIFY. Not only am I feeling bombarded with communications and media, but my home is overflowing with paper and “stuff.” I am struggling to find quiet time, exercise each day, and eat right. And I find I am spending so much time on things like email and sorting piles that I am neglecting relationships that enrich my life and uplift my soul. I need to change the rules of the game!
One of my books a few years ago is titled, “Balancing Acts – More Than 250 Guiltfree, Creative Ideas to BLEND your Work and your Life.” In it I talk about my belief that we will never in our lives be in perfect balance, so we need to let go of the guilt and think about ways we can blend areas of our lives into the place we may find ourselves at the moment.
Think about these six areas of your life: Work, Family, Friends, Health, Spirit and Service. Where are you spending the bulk of your time and energy today? For most of us, it is on our work, so how can we find ways to “blend” other areas into our work lives. And for me, at the same time, to SIMPLIFY my life so that I have time to enjoy each moment of the game.
Here is my game plan which I hope might encourage you, too:
WORK – I am going to do email ONLY three times a day and I am going to unsubscribe to most of the ongoing emails I receive daily. I am also going to commit to sorting one pile of papers each day for 15 minutes.
FAMILY – I am going to schedule a weekly facetime call with each of my children and grandchildren. Sometimes our calls are sporadic and I feel out of touch with their daily lives.
FRIENDS – I am going to call one person each day whom I miss or whom I would like to know better. These can be either work or personal relationships.
HEALTH – I am committing to forgoing wine with dinner ( at least until I lose 10 pounds! ;-), not eating things that taste good but are unhealthy, and at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.
SPIRIT – I am scheduling a quiet time each day, either morning or evening, and renewing my meditation practice to find more focus and peace in my life.
SERVICE – I am going to begin to sing in my church choir as well as writing one encouraging note or card to someone at least three times a week.
In the meantime, I am committed to giving many things away, books, clothes, knickknacks, and other things that have brought me joy so that someone else may have that experience, too.
Please wish me well with this project of simplifying as I am a very sentimental person, so letting go is hard for me. Yet I know the PEACE it will bring to my life when I do not feel burdened by things around me and time spent on frivolous pastimes. Truly, relationships are the most important gift we have in this precious game of life before it all REALLY goes back in the box.
It has been a year filled with high highs and low lows, yet God has been good and faithful through it all. After a very difficult holiday season last year, Frank and I have been together again since February and have shared some lovely experiences. I am grateful to have him in my life!
The most difficult of all this year, however, was when my precious grand daughter, Kinsey, age 15, was diagnosed with leukemia in July. The treatment is an intense two year process, so she will miss her entire sophomore year in high school, yet the good news is that the cure rate is very high. We are so grateful for all the prayer, cards and gifts of encouragement she and her family have received. This experience is a reminder of the fragility of life and the blessing of each day on this earth.
My work has been slower this year, but I have been blessed with some wonderful new clients and some amazing travel experiences. I treasure the privilege I have of sharing a message of hope with my audiences. I continue my work on the boards of Guideposts and Lead Like Jesus as well as being a part of a monthly book group, a monthly luncheon, and a Home Fellowship group which all help fill my emotional bank account and bring me lots of deep relationships and much joy.
Travel this year has been one of the greatest blessings, and in August I flew my MILLIONTH MILE with Delta! In February I was able to visit Garrett’s family in Seattle, and my good friend Shannon and my Aunt Joan and cousins in the San Diego area. Joan is 93 and in the last two years has gone both white water rafting and zip lining. She is my role model and heroine! In March Gretchen, Randy, Owen and Simon came for a week’s visit. As always. they love coming to the beach. Then Frank took me to Disneyworld in April for a long weekend where we both felt like kids again!
May was my first adventure for the year. My travel buddy. Nancy, and I spent two weeks on a tour of the Dalmatian Isles, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, and Venice. We visited the beautiful walled city of Dubrovnik and saw where “Game of Thrones” was filmed, and on to Korula, Hvar (named one of the world’s top 10 islands), Split, the Plitvice Lakes, Opatja, Ljubliana, and Bled Island with its gorgeous castle. The scenery was spectacular, the people were gracious, and I even got to dance on my birthday!. At one point the guide stopped the bus on the border of Slovenia and Bosnia so I could speak in two countries at the same time
Later in May Frank took me to the elegant Boca Raton Resort for three days for my birthday. In June I spoke to the Canadian Speakers chapter in Toronto and spent a special day with my dear friend, Laurie Flasko. June was also the annual Society for Human Resource Management convention where I presented two sessions for my 19th year in a row. I LOVE speaking to HR folks as they are the heart of any organization! Later that month I received a very special distinguished alumnae award called the “Pink Carnation Award” from my sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, in Atlanta. I was honored to speak to over 1000 young women.
In early July Garrett and his family came for several days. Then Frank took me for a fun few days to the Breakers in Palm Springs, a famous elegant old resort. I also attended the National Speakers Association convention in Phoenix where it was a delight to connect with speaker friends from around the world.
In August Frank took me to Las Vegas where we saw two shows and enjoyed wonderful shopping and dining. The end of the month we attended the Veteran Speakers Retreat in Washington, DC. One of the highlights for Frank was to go to the new Air and Space Museum and see John Glenn’s space capsule whose engine he worked on at the beginning of the space race
I spent a week in September in Portland visiting Gretchen’s family, and then Frank and I traveled to Australia for three wonderful weeks from September 28 to October 18. We visited Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, Cairns and Port Douglas as well as visiting my niece and her husband in Townesville. I got to hold a koala and feed kangaroos, we snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef, saw the Penguin Parade in Melbourne, and got to hear Beethoven at the Sydney Opera House. In each city we connected with some new speaker friends and even had dinner in one of their homes. We LOVED the people and the country!
In October we celebrated Frank’s birthday at his daughter’s in Atlanta with all his family. November was busy with the CSP/CPAE Summit at High Point University in High Point, NC, followed by Guideposts Board meetings in Scottsdale and a visit to Seattle to see Kinsey. Then Erin came for a week for Thanksgiving.
In December I will spend three days in New York City with a girlfriend, speak in Oklahoma City, and then spend Christmas in Portland and Seattle with all my family. How blessed I feel to have such great kids and grand kids!
GRETCHEN and Randy are still in Portland where Gretchen is operations manager for two boutiques and Randy does freelance website design. Owen is 11 and Simon is 9, and both are involved in soccer, skateboarding, Legos and Minecraft. They have a new puppy named Peanut. ERIN continues in fashion design in Portland and is a HUGE Timbers soccer fan. She adores her kitty, Cricket. GARRETT’s team at Microsoft in Redmond was dissolved, so he is currently job searching. Ashley is busy with their horse, and Gavin is in community college studying business and delivering pizzas while Kinsey is bravely fighting her battle with cancer. They love their new puppy named Tank.
I feel so blessed to have a deep faith, a beautiful family, a wonderful man in my life, many precious friends worldwide, clients that I love, good health and the opportunity to experience the beauty of our world. May God bless you in 2017.
To learn more about Barbara;s work, go to http://www.barbaraglanz.com
Customer Service in Croatia
I recently was blessed to experience an amazing trip to Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and the Dalmation Coast. I will eventually write a journal on this trip; however, one of the most impressive experiences for me occurred in Split, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the ruins of Diocletian’s Palace, the third-century “retirement home” of the Roman Emperor, sits on the waterfront .
Diocletian’s Palace in Split, Croatia
We had toured the ruins and then had some free time to shop which, of course, is one of my favorite things to do as I always want to bring back gifts for everyone. I have never liked backpacks because I always think they make you look “nerdy,” but my purse had gotten so heavy to carry that it was making my shoulder ache (and the strap eventually even broke), so I decided it was time to give in and find a backpack I could live with. Actually, my body ached so much I was desperate!
Just behind the castle we found a local outdoor market where they had all kinds of merchandise. In one of the first blocks of booths I saw a backpack with butterflies on it, so of course, that was the one! I had just gone to an ATM that morning and still was unfamiliar with Kunas and the exchange rate, so when the vendor told me it would be 100 kuna, I dutifully counted out five 20 dollar kunas.
I gathered up the backpack and began to walk down the street when the vendor came running out and shouted in broken English, “Miss, too much! Too much!” He showed me that instead of five 20 dollar kunas, I had given him five 200 dollar kunas! Oh, my, I had paid him TEN TIMES what the backpack cost!
I was astounded at his honesty. I thanked him profusely and gave him a tip, but I couldn’t help but think what might have happened in America. I had left, was walking away and probably could never have found that same booth again, there were no witnesses who saw how much I had given him, and it was, literally, my word, a foreign tourist, against his, a local small business owner. Sorry to say, but in most places in the world, I think I would have been the loser big time.
I left Croatia with a deep respect for the people, the culture, and their attitude about serving.
Oklahoma University Medical Systems Employees Appreciate One Another!
Several months ago I was privileged to speak to all the leaders of the Oklahoma University Medical Systems in Oklahoma City. Jed Liuzza, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at OUMS, recently sent me a copy of an email he shared with the leaders about a special way to appreciate one another:
Good afternoon everyone!
It’s a beautiful day and the sun is shining which reminded me about how we might bring some sunshine into the lives of our team.
We all know there’s always something happening here at OUMS…like saving lives…and we have a great team of individuals who are committed to doing that each and every day. It’s never too late to express how much you appreciate your team or individuals on your team. In fact, as leaders, we should practice showing appreciation every day.
So to help you, I thought I’d share an idea from Barbara Glanz’s book, “180 Ways to Spread Contagious Enthusiasm.” I hope you have found it helpful with so many great ideas on showing appreciation.
The idea I selected was one that spreads appreciation among all of your team members. The idea, as stated in the book, says, “Post a large poster page next to everyone’s office or cubicle door for a week. Ask other employees during the week to stop by and write something they appreciate about that person.”
Now for those of you already saying this won’t work because most or all of your employees don’t have an office or cubicle, I’d like to suggest that maybe you use your employee break room. For those of you with a very large number of employees, maybe do several employees a week over a period of time or group the posters by types of employees (i.e., administrative, clinical, support).
Let your team decide what the poster would look like – let them get creative!
Have a wonderful day everyone and know we appreciate the work you do for your teams and our patients!
It is so precious to me to see a client taking an idea and making it happen in their workplaces. Every one of us needs more appreciation, and this idea will work anywhere. If Jed and OUMS can do it, so can you and your team!
Another friend shared this photo with me from Illinois Toolworks. People are finding many creative ways to appreciate one another.
Another way to appreciate one another!
For more creative ideas on how to make your workplace more caring, creative, appreciative, and fun, go to www.barbaraglanz.com/ideas
Are You Kind?
Next week I have been asked to be part of an interview on the subject of Kindness, so I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be kind. In my work in customer service, I use a three column chart model that has a minus column (-), a zero column (0) and a plus column (+). Below, it says “Your Choice in Any Interaction.”
It refers to the impact we have on each person we meet. We can either discount them and make them feel invisible or less important than us or our organization (-). we can simply do the work at hand (0), or we can make what I call a human level connection (+), seeing them as a unique and special person in the midst of that interaction.
These interactions do not have to be long or involved. We can focus on another person simply by asking and remembering their name, giving them a compliment, asking something personal about them, or just sincerely thanking them for being there. I tell my audiences that I want them to leave with this simple 3 column model in their heads so that connecting with people on this level becomes part of their daily life. This, to me, is what kindness is all about!
I recently realized how much a part of my life this practice has become when Jed Liuzza, one of my clients, introduced me as the opening keynote speaker for the Oklahoma University Medical Systems Leadership Symposium this fall. After my formal introduction, he shared what had impressed him most was that I LIVED what I was going to talk to them about. He said the minute he picked me up for dinner the night before, I had begun asking him questions about his family, his goals, and his interests, focusing on him as a human being.
Then, when we entered the restaurant, there was a couple with a baby, and he noticed I stopped and talked to the little one and told the parents how blessed they were. Then, he shared, I immediately asked the server her name and gave her a compliment. Finally, when I was introduced to the rest of the team, I asked during dinner to have each of them tell about someone who had greatly impacted their lives. They all told touching stories, and this allowed for a much deeper level of sharing the rest of the meal. What he said he noticed most, however, was how each person simply “came alive” when someone truly connected with them.
I was deeply touched by his words as all of these things I had done unconsciously, simply wanting to acknowledge each person as a precious human being.
One of my beliefs is that every person who comes into our lives is a gift. We have the choice to either open that gift or pass it by. Sometimes, depending on time and circumstances, we may only be able to untie the ribbon, but other times we can dig down deeper to the true gift inside. However, if we ignore that gift, it is a loss for both us AND the other person.
Being kind to me is noticing and loving all those persons with whom you interact, and that day I realized I was modeling the message I was going to be sharing without even knowing it!
Mother Teresa said, “Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to you without coming away better and happier.” In this new year, we all have the choice to make this our philosophy of life. I hope you will choose KINDNESS.
“Barbara touches every soul she comes into contact with. She leaves you with a sense of joy and motivation to implement one or many of her simple, quick, and FREE ideas on showing appreciation for others. Our leaders knew they could immediately return to their work environment and raise the bar on recognition and appreciation of their staff. Thank you, Barbara, for spreading your contagious enthusiasm!”
Jed Liuzza, SVP/Chief Human Resources Officer
Oklahoma University Medical System
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The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose. Hope is as essential to your life as air and water. - Rick Warren -