Word-Of-the-Week #1033: Competent

May 23, 2024 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #1033: Competent 

Competent having sufficient skill, knowledge, etc.; capable.

Do you think being competent is all you need to do a good job? Have you ever had bad service from a person who was capable and had the skill and knowledge? Have you ever thought about all of the qualities that create a great service experience?

This week I’m sharing an experience from one of our vacations where we had superb service more than once. We were taking our first Silversea Cruise and had heard raves about the service staff. After the first week they wanted feedback from us. I immediately listed four people who I felt had given me “extra special” service.

After the second week Chris said to me, “You know Anthony is really a good waiter.” He didn’t stand out like Evan (my favorite waiter) so I started to pay more attention to him. Then I took it upon myself to try to determine all of the qualities that contribute to the “total hospitality experience” that I was feeling.

I am not sure of the exact order of importance but I know that you have to have the skill and the knowledge to start with. And what you need in addition to that is the confidence that you are competent to handle your responsibilities. And with confidence you then become more comfortable.

Those are the qualities needed to do a “good job” but the stuff that “blows your customers socks off” are when you create a connection with them. That’s being totally present and making them feel really cared for!

This week’s focus is on being competent. Do you have the skills and knowledge to do your job? If you have staff have you fully trained them, so they are competent doing their job?  Do you feel they have confidence and are comfortable so they can create a great service experience?

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Word-Of-the-Week #1032: Frugal

May 16, 2024 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #1032: Frugal 

Frugal – practicing economy; living without waste; thrifty.

Do you consider yourself to be frugal? Do you use coupons? Do you love a good deal?

I have a postcard on my desk that reads, “frugal is such an ugly word.” It cracks me up every time I see it. And it spurred to revisit this word when one of my acquaintances laughed out loud when I said, “I am working on not being so frugal.” She clearly has no idea how frugal I am!

For many years I took my recycling to the center to get my deposit money back. Do you know how many cans and bottles it takes to make $8?

I subscribe to “The Friends & Family Plan” when it comes to home repairs. Many providers offer discounts when you give them referrals.

All the people that truly know me well know I love a “bargain.” I don’t like paying full retail! When I was remodeling our home, I told the salesperson I was “Looking for top of the line economy.” That usually evoked a smile or a laugh. I still do it today!

And when we took our grand kids shopping for their birthday presents they knew that if they bought items on sale they get more. For Christmas we put money in their 529 college fund. They get enough “stuff” and I feel it’s our responsibility to teach them how to save and spend.

For every international flight we’ve used points and flew in either first or business class. Frugal doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy being comfortable! It all comes down on ROI – Return on Investment. It’s very personal. What is most important to you?

Don’t get me wrong as I love spending money. I just hate wasting it more! I’ve also learned the hard way that buying the best quality products cost more up front but are cheaper in the long run. Perfect examples of that are luggage, blenders, and tools. Or anything you use a lot.

And this excerpt from Zina Kumok on “The Cult of Frugality – Why Being Frugal Doesn’t Work”  speaks volumes.

“Every day, people choose not to spend money on something that could change their lives – like a Master’s degree, investment opportunities, or a new business idea. They get so wrapped up in daily financial decisions like whether to buy brand-nane or generic salsa that they forget about the big picture.

My husband used to fall into this extreme frugality trap. For years he avoided buying fresh vegetables, preferring to buy cheaper ingredients to make pasta and sandwiches. After developing a daily exercise habit, he slowly loosened the reins. Now, we eat fresh veggies with every meal and have a salad at least once a day. Our grocery bill is slightly more than it used to be, be we consider it an investment in our health. Turns out this thinking makes good financial sense as well. A report published by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that, “People in bad health work less, earn less, face higher medical expenses, die earlier, and accumulate much less wealth compared to those in good health.”

If you’re avoiding exercise because a $40 gym membership is expensive, you’re actually costing yourself hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run. Skipping spinach because it doesn’t last as long as a bag of rice, is actually the less frugal decision.”

Being frugal doesn’t mean you can’t have some periodic splurges and luxuries. It’s WHY you can! As my dear sweet friend Sandra says, “The people I know that have a WHOLE LOT OF MONEY have a healthy respect for it.”

This week think about what frugal means to you. How do you spend your money? Are you investing wisely when it comes to your health? Do you talk to your staff, your kids, and/or your grand kids about spending and saving?

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Word-Of-the-Week #1031: Instinct

May 9, 2024 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #1031: Instinct 

Instinct a powerful motivation or impulse.

How good are you at following your instinct?  Have you ever made of a list of everything you DO want and everything you DON’T want?

This week features another great article from The Better Newsletter by Sam Horn.

ANECDOTE 

“Several years ago, I was driving west as part of my Year by the Water. I didn’t book hotels in advance because I wanted the freedom to make it up along the way. 

One day, I was driving through Tennessee’s glorious Smoky Mountains. They were so beautiful, I thought it’d be a crime to stay at a cookie-cutter “highway hotel” – so I kept my eyes open for something green and in nature.

 I saw a sign for Fairfield Glade Resort and thought, “That sounds green.” I had no idea what it was, didn’t know if they had places to rent, or if they’d have anything available, but figured “what do I have to lose?” 

 20 minutes later, I was checking into a luxurious two bedroom condo with a washing machine, kitchen and spacious back porch overlooking woodlands – for about the same price as I would have paid for a hotel room. 

Even better… The next morning, I found myself “making waves and catching rays” (thanks, Little Big Town) as I piloted a pontoon boat on beautiful Lake Dartmoor, lined by the greenest golf courses I’ve ever seen. 

What’s the lesson? I didn’t PLAN this.  I PARTNERED with it. 

I didn’t even KNOW this place existed a few hours before. All I did was get clear about what I didn’t want (no highway hotels) – and what I did want (something green and in nature) – and kept my antenna up for it. 

When I saw something that was in alignment with my wants and wishes, I investigated. There were no guarantees about what might happen, but my intuition was intrigued. 

If you have a beats the odds experience – it is not an accident– it is an opportunity to connect with someone or something that will light you up. 

And, the more you connect with those aligned individuals and opportunities, the better your life gets. All because you’re partnering with life instead of planning it. 

ACTION 

If you want a life where the light is on in your eyes, but aren’t sure where to begin… Start here!

  • Grab your journal and put a vertical line down the center.
  • On the left side, write down everything you know you DON’T want.
  • On the right side, write down everything you DO want (yes, everything! Forget about the “how” just write it down.)
  • Once you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for – keep your eyes open for serendipity to occur.
  • REMEMBER – When an opportunity presents itself, try not to second guess it, just take it! And, guess what? The more you accept, the more you’ll get.

This week’s focus is about following your instinct. Do you have a clear idea of what you want in your life? How would it feel to not always have a plan and go with the flow?

I LOVE feedback! Join my Facebook community on my FUN-damentals Fan Page.

Word-Of-the-Week #1030: Awareness

May 2, 2024 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #1030: Awareness 

Awareness attentive and well informed. 

How would you rate your awareness factor? How attentive are you? How important is it for you to be well informed?

This week’s WOW “A Swimming Lesson comes from longtime friend Bill Marvin, The Restaurant Doctor.

“Two young fish are swimming along and meet an older fish swimming the other way. The old fish nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” The two young fish swim on for a bit, then one looks over at the other and says, “What’s water?”

 The point of the story? The most obvious and important realities are often the hardest to see or talk about. For fish, water is so much a part of their environment, it never registers — it’s just “the way it is” and invisible. 

It’s no different for many of the issues you’ve learned to cope with. Most of the stuff you now take for granted or feel certain about often turns out to be misinformed. 

  • The Universe does NOT revolve around you, even though it looks that way because you’re always at the center of everything you ever experience. 
  • The fact that you wholeheartedly believe something doesn’t make it truth, You believe what you choose to believe. 
  • The way you see the world isn’t how the world actually IS, rather it’s only the way you’ve decided it is. 

The insidious thing is that you weren’t aware that the water you swim in is nothing more than an unconscious choice you made. 

  • Swim in a sea of scarcity and you’ll never have enough.
  • Swim in a pool of problems and your life will be all about problems.
  • Swim in an ocean of possibilities and you’ll see possibilities everywhere. 

You create the water you swim in. 

My point isn’t to get all existential here, only to suggest we all swim in water of our own making, generated by how we’ve chosen to think. We’re just unaware it’s only a result of our thoughts. 

Evolve your thinking and you’ll change your world. 

The power comes when you start to notice the water and make a conscious decision about where — or if — it’s where you really want to swim. Kicking a habit is simple, but it’s not always easy to let go of the limitations that’ve been running your life. 

In his 1996 book, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, visionary astronomer Carl Sagan put it this way: 

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken.” 

Now that you understand the source of the water you swim in, what do you want to do about it?”

This week’s focus is on awareness. Have you been making unconscious decisions? How would it feel to evolve your thinking and change your world? Can you imagine yourself swimming in a sea of possibilities?

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Word-Of-the-Week #1029: Curiosity

April 25, 2024 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #1029: Curiosity 

Curiosity – noticing and being drawn to things we find interesting; inquisitiveness.

How curious are you? Do you take time to actually notice your surroundings? How often are you drawn to things you find interesting or question?

This week features “The Power of Curiosity. Discover how cultivating an inquiring mind can help you lead a happier, healthier life,” by Todd Kashdan. He writes, “What do you want most in life? For the vast majority of us, the answer is “to be happy.” In a 2007 survey of more than 10,000 people from 48 countries published in Perspectives on Psychological Sciences, happiness was viewed as more important than success, intelligence, knowledge, maturity, wisdom, relationships, wealth and meaning in life.

Happiness is a good thing. Yet, both in my professional research and in my personal experience, I’ve observed that when we focus solely on what we think will make us happy, we can lose track of what actually does.

In 2007 the Princeton economist Alan Krueger, Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman and their colleagues published a paper called “Are We Having More Fun Yet?” ( I REALLY like the title!) They posed this question: Have the social progress, economic prosperity and technological advancements of the past 50 years changed the quality of our lives? Have these new opportunities allowed us to spend more time doing what we care about most, thus increasing our satisfaction and meaning in life?

For most of us, the answer is no. The majority of Americans spend less than 20 percent of each day doing what could be termed very engaging, enjoyable and meaningful activities (such as talking with close friends, bonding with loved ones, creating, playing, or pursuing a spiritual practice). Instead, most of our time and energy are spent either engaged in unsatisfying work activities and chores (commuting, standing in line at the post office, fixing broken appliances), or decompressing in ways that bring neither joy nor challenge (watching TV, snacking or just “doing nothing”).

It doesn’t have to be this way, though — if we’re willing to shake up our pursuit of happiness by introducing some elements of surprise.

One of the most reliable and overlooked keys to happiness is cultivating and exercising our innate sense of curiosity. That’s because curiosity — a state of active interest or genuinely wanting to know more about something — creates an openness to unfamiliar experiences, laying the groundwork for greater opportunities to experience discovery, joy and delight.

Curiosity is something that can be nurtured and developed. With practice, we can harness the power of curiosity to transform everyday tasks into interesting and enjoyable experiences. We can also use curiosity to intentionally create wonder, intrigue and play out of almost any situation or interaction we encounter.

It all starts with wanting to know more.

The Power of Curiosity

Curiosity, at its core, is all about noticing and being drawn to things we find interesting. It’s about recognizing and seizing the pleasures that novel experiences offer us, and finding novelty and meaning even in experiences that are familiar.

When we are curious, we see things differently; we use our powers of observation more fully. We sense what is happening in the present moment, taking note of what is, regardless of what it looked like before or what we might have expected it to be.

We feel alive and engaged, more capable of embracing opportunities, making connections, and experiencing moments of insight and meaning — all of which provide the foundation for a rich, aware and satisfying life experience.

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE the joy & delight of unfamiliar experiences & surprises! This week focus on having more curiosity. What genuinely interests you? What would you like to know more about? Are you open to having unfamiliar experiences?

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