Word-Of-the-Week #893: Sublime

September 16, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Sublime – 1) something majestic, impressive, or intellectually valuable. 2) of such excellence, grandeur, or beauty as to inspire great admiration or awe. 

Have you ever wondered how some words have so many meanings?

I had the most exquisite piece of halibut and my first thought was that it was sublime. So then I looked up the word and I am including several quotes that came up on my web search. As you can see there are a multitude of different meanings!

“An example of sublime is a beautifully presented, formal six course meal.” 

“One of the most beautiful things in the world is seeing a mommy with her kids. There’s nothing more beautiful, nothing more sublime.” – Johnny Depp

“The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related, that it is difficult to class them separately. One step above the sublime, makes the ridiculous; and one step above the ridiculous, makes the sublime again” [Thomas Paine The Age of Reason]

“For sheer majestic geography and sublime scale, nothing beats Alaska and the Yukon. For culture, Japan. And for all-around affection, Australia.” – Sam Abell

“Happiness is the sublime moment when you get out of your corsets at night.” – Joyce Grenfell – Do you think she might have meant it was ahhh inspiring?

“Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is the most sublime noise that has ever penetrated into the ear of man.” – E. M. Forster

“Bradley Nowell, lead singer for the alternative band Sublime, died of an apparent drug overdose in a San Francisco motel just hours before the group was to perform a sold-out concert.

The band’s drummer found Nowell, 28, dead in his room at the Ocean View Motel shortly after noon Saturday following a night of partying, said Jon Phillips, a manager of the group. 

Cause of death had not been determined, pending laboratory results, but when asked if Nowell had died of a heroin overdose as reported, Phillips said it was “probably the most distinct possibility.” Do you think Nowell would have said the heroin was sublime?” Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself.

This week’s focus is what you find sublime. Would it be a great gastronomic experience? Would it be marveling majestic geography? Would it be taking in a superb symphony?

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Word-Of-the-Week #892: Luck

September 9, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Luck – to prosper or succeed especially through chance or good fortune.

How open are you to opportunities that come your way? Do you get mired in negative thoughts about the possibility of failure?

This week comes from Forbes, “What Is Luck, And Does It Affect Your Chances Of Success?”  by David Kleinhandler.

“I can’t count how many successful people I’ve known who, when asked how they got to where they are today, have simply said they were “lucky.” It’s true that a little modesty never hurt anyone, but luck isn’t what separates those who get what they want in life from those who don’t. What most people choose to call luck is the result of being open to opportunity — something that comes down to attitude, not happy accidents.

Though he may not have had the business world in mind, per se, the poet John Milton is often credited as describing luck as the residue of design. I think there’s a lot of truth to this, even if it’s not possible to design a blueprint for success in business. What you can do — on purpose and by design — is choose how to perceive good opportunities coming your way. No one would argue that a chance encounter can’t alter the course of a career, but it’s easy to discount how much goes into making an opportunity out of an encounter. You can call meeting a random stranger luck if you want, but what follows is anything but.

Psychologist and author Richard Wiseman has spent his career studying luck and our perception of it. What he found after years of investigation is that luck is completely a matter of how we choose to look at our lives. The people who consider themselves lucky are the ones who recognize their own good fortune wherever it happens and look at the world through that lens. What they aren’t are people onto whom amazing things shower down from above.

Wiseman’s work spans decades of interviews and experiments in which he has sought to prove that good fortune comes from within. The people who grab onto opportunities when they arise, expect the best, minimize their setbacks and weather difficulties are the so-called lucky ones. His research demonstrates that luck comes down to attitude, often in surprising ways.

One such experiment separated people who considered themselves lucky from those who characterized themselves as unlucky. Both groups were asked to read through a newspaper and count the photographs, reporting to him how many they found. The “lucky” people were much more frequently the ones who found the not-so-hidden message on page two that said, in bold letters, “Stop counting — There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.”

Those people were open-minded, rather than mired in negative thoughts about the possibility of failure. Considering yourself a perpetual victim of bad luck is the worst possible way to live life and do business, not only because you’re going to miss out on the great opportunities that do come your way, but because that negativity will inevitably become a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Pessimism about your own situation, especially, puts you at a disadvantage in what might be the single most important luck-booster in business: networking — which is to say, leveraging your existing position to increase the likelihood of new encounters working in your favor.

To return to our random stranger example — perhaps at the expense of saying something obvious — people get less random the more of them you know. Growing your network is probably the most important external thing you can do in order to consistently get yourself in front of opportunity. In fact, it’s been proven that having a large, varied network of contacts is the single best predictor of career success. So many opportunities come from knowing someone in a position to help you and being open to new connections. Your attitude, in the end, will be the most valuable asset you have in getting those lucky opportunities.

The truth is, probability doesn’t care how lucky or unlucky you’ve been in the past when your next $10 million deal is on the table any more than it does how many ladders you didn’t walk under on the way to the office. Neither should you. If you’re looking for success (as most of us are), then what you need first and foremost is the right attitude. There are no guarantees, but what most people call good luck is the ability to notice great opportunities and take advantage of them. Open hands are a start, but an open mind is where luck is made.”

This week’s focus is on luck. Are you open-minded? Do you grab onto opportunities when they arise? Have you actively worked at growing a varied network of contacts? And how’s your attitude these days?

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Word-Of-the-Week #891: Unacceptable

September 2, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Unacceptable – intolerable.

Have you been subjected to bad behavior from customers or guests at work? How about from complete strangers?

BIG thanks goes to Bill Marvin “The Restaurant Doctor” for this week’s feature “Cape Cod restaurant shuts down for ‘day of kindness’ after customers’ bad behavior,” by Kerry Breen at Today.

“This is an unacceptable way to treat any human,” the owners wrote on Facebook.

The owners said they wanted to “spread a message of kindness and change the culture that restaurant workers should just have to take abuse because of the job they chose.” Courtesy Regina Felt Castellano

A Massachusetts restaurant is garnering national attention after closing for a “day of kindness” following an increase in “unacceptable” behavior from customers.

Brandi Felt Castellano and her spouse, Regina Felt Castellano, the owners of Apt Cape Cod, a local establishment in Brewster, Massachusetts, wrote on Facebook July 8 that they would be closed for breakfast that day and wouldn’t open until 5:00 p.m., when they began serving dinner.

The decision was made after last Thursday, “when a man berated one of the restaurant’s young employees for telling him that they could not take his breakfast takeout order because the restaurant had not opened yet,” reported The New York Times.

“As many of our guests and patrons treat us with kindness and understanding, there have been an astronomical influx daily of those that do not, swearing at us, threatening to sue, arguing and yelling at my staff, making team members cry,” wrote the owners on Facebook. “This is an unacceptable way to treat any human.”

The Castellanos wrote they had decided to “take the day” and give restaurant employees “time (to) deep clean the restaurant, train, and treat my staff to a day of kindness.”

“Please remember that many of my staff are young, this is their first job, or summer job to help pay for college,” the owners continued. “We have had to make adjustments due to the increase in business volume, size of kitchen, product availably and staffing availability, we are not trying to ruin anyone’s vacation or day off.”

They told TODAY Food they chose to close because they wanted to value “employees over money” and hoped to “spread a message of kindness and change the culture that restaurant workers should just have to take abuse because of the job they chose.”

Restaurant workers around the country have reported an increase in negative customer behavior since coronavirus restrictions began to lift nationwide. Some of those confrontations have started over menu alterations or shortages of certain food items or beverages. In other cases, tempers have boiled over following a long wait due to the lack of staff.

“We’ve all seen these viral videos of servers being assaulted or yelled at by customers who are upset about masks or how long they had to wait for their table,” said Darren Cardosa, a long-time server who runs a blog called “The Bitchy Waiter” where he posts about the reality of restaurant life, earlier this month. “There is this sense in the whole country right now that there’s a lot of anger and frustration, and it seems like a lot of customers feel like it’s OK to take that out on their server.”

Apt Cape Cod’s post about giving workers the day off to recover from negative interactions with customers quickly went viral, garnering hundreds of comments and shares. Fans of the establishment filled the comments section with well-wishes and offers to donate money to the staff.

On July 14, the owners posted that they “love the idea” of donations and wanted to continue to pay it forward.

“We would be honored if you bought lunch for anyone who deals with the public, your favorite restaurant, store, doctor, vet or pharmacy,” they wrote on Facebook. “If you (feel) the need to donate money, please visit our family non-profit, Family Table Collaborative … which provides food to families with food insecurities.”

This week’s focus is on acceptable behavior. Have you been treating people with kindness and understanding during the pandemic? Does your company value employees over money? How would it feel to buy lunch for someone who deals with the public?

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Word-Of-the-Week #890: Adaptable

August 26, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Adaptable – able to adjust readily to different conditions.

How often and how fast do you see company changes? Do you respond to new circumstances and challenges with excitement or hesitation? How flexible are you when it comes to implementing changes?

This is Part 3 of the Baltimore Sun article by Jeff Haden Inc. Magazine Path to Promotion: What one co-founder looks for when promoting employees.”

“One of the most common questions that ambitious employees ask their boss — along with “Can I get a raise?” — is “What can I do to get promoted?”

  1. Be self-aware, not selfish.

Self-aware people understand themselves and that helps them understand the people around them. They are more empathetic and accepting of the weaknesses of others because they know how it feels to fail.

They can lead with compassion and kindness because they know how it feels to be treated with disregard, disdain and scorn. They do everything they can to help others reach their goals, because they know how it feels to fall short.

Self-aware people solve for the team, the organization and the customer — not just for themselves. Every organization needs self-aware people in key roles. (What is a key role? Every role.)

  1. Be adaptable, not rigid.

Things constantly change in high-growth companies. Inflexible people grow uncomfortable with too much change and consciously or unconsciously try to slow things down.

Best practices are important. Methodology is important. Guidelines, procedures and policies all can help a business run smoothly.

But anyone can follow guidelines and procedures. Great employees are willing, even eager, to change. Great employees respond to new circumstances and challenges with excitement, not hesitation. Employees willing to adapt tend to advance more quickly because that is what every company needs.

  1. Be a teacher, not a truant officer.

The best people like to teach. They don’t hoard knowledge; they spread it and share what they know.

A truant officer’s job is to make sure people show up. A teacher’s job is to make sure people learn. A teacher helps other people gain experience, wisdom and insight. A teacher willingly and happily gives other people tools they can use.

In the process, a teacher builds teams. And a teacher advances, because a true team builder is a rare gem.”

This week’s focus is on being adaptable. How good are you in supporting your co-workers during times of change? How would you rate yourself on compassion and kindness for others? How willing are you to share information and be of help to the team?

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Word-Of-the-Week #889: Long-term

August 19, 2021 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #889: Long-term 

Long-term – seeing the big picture in the long run.

Do the managers and supervisors you work for inspire you? Do you follow their requests because you want to or because you have to? Are you in a position where you truly have influence over the success of the company?

This is Part 2 of the Baltimore Sun article by Jeff Haden Inc. Magazine Path to Promotion: What one co-founder looks for when promoting employees.”

“One of the most common questions that ambitious employees ask their boss — along with “Can I get a raise?” — is “What can I do to get promoted?”

  1. Focus on execution.

Planning is important, but too many shelves are filled with strategies that were never implemented.

The best employees develop an idea, create a strategy, set up a basic operational plan, then execute, adapt, execute, revise, execute, refine and make great things happen based on what works in practice, not in theory.

Success starts with strategy but ends with execution. Employees who advance are certainly good at planning, but they are awesome at execution.

  1. Think long-term.

Real leadership isn’t short-lived. Real leaders are able to consistently inspire, motivate and make people feel better about themselves than they think they have a right to feel. Real leaders are people you follow not because you have to, but because you want to.

Other people will follow a real leader anywhere. And they’ll follow a real leader forever because she has a knack for making you feel you aren’t actually following — wherever you’re going, you feel like you’re going there together.

Creating that level of respect and trust and that type of bond takes time. Great employees consider not just the short-term but also the long-term, and then act accordingly.

In time, great employees are placed in positions where they can truly influence the success of their company.

  1. Be a volunteer, not a draftee.

The best employees are natural volunteers. They volunteer for extra tasks. They volunteer for responsibility before responsibility is delegated. They volunteer to train or mentor new employees. They offer to help people who need help, and even those who don’t.

Why is that important? Volunteering demonstrates leadership aptitude. Leaders are proactive, and proactive people don’t wait to be told what to do.

Successful employees earn promotions by working harder, just as successful businesses earn higher revenue by delivering greater value, and successful entrepreneurs earn bigger payoffs by working hard well before any potential return is in sight.

Draftees expect to be asked. Draftees expect to be compensated before they will even consider doing more.”

This week’s focus is on the long-term. How good are you at planning & execution? Do you have the respect and trust of your management team? How often do you volunteer to take on projects or help your co-workers? Where do you see yourself in the big picture?

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