Negative Evaluations at the Dinner Table

When we go around our dinner table (on the rare chance our teenagers are
home on the same night!), we share the 90%s and 10%s of our day. It’s
great to talk about the positive things but in our house it is also important to
create a space where people can talk about what didn’t go well in the day.

I like to read my children the negative evaluation forms, I receive from my
presentations. I like to show them that no matter how hard you try to be
kind and do a good job in the world there is always someone who does like
you. And we get a good laugh over what some people say.

My favourite last week was: “You would look better if your hair was blonde,
you had better lipstick and I thought your presentation was terrible.”

Letting Go

Rather than a New Year’s resolution, I like to pick a theme that I can apply to all areas of my life. My theme this year is “Letting Go”.

On our winter holiday, my cell phone was stolen from my beach bag. I spent our two-week holiday with no cell phone. I had brought David Hawkins book, “Letting Go” and thought what a perfect time to practice his message.

Firstly, I had to “let go” of what I did to attract this and believe whoever stole my phone must need it more than I did. Then I had to “let go” of the fear of what might happen to all of my contacts and email addresses and idea lists. I had dozens and dozens of ideas for future book titles and content. So if someone writes a book under one of my titles I will let you know! LOL. Then I had to “let go” of my attachment to my phone. I was amazed at how often I reached for my phone in a day. I embraced the freedom of no technology and settled into finishing the book.

Then I had to take a good look at my life and see if there were areas where I was still hanging onto old resentments and anger. I am a positive person but David taught me that I am still hanging onto some 10%s in my life. I spent two weeks working on, and “letting go” of old resentments and anger.

For 2017, are there any 10%s you need to “let go”? What will your theme be for 2017?


I have been in the Toronto airport a lot lately and have you met Gloria? Gloria
works at the “Marketplace” where the food kiosks are. She is one of the
most 90% people I have ever met. With all she has to put up with in a day
with cranky travelers, she has a permanent smile and makes you feel so
special. Every time I see her at the airport, she says, “Hi Darci!” and gives
me a big hug. Really? She remembers my name? Gloria is retiring soon and it
will be a great loss to the airport.

Thank you Gloria for your consistent service. The airport won’t be the same
without you.

No Evaluations

Have you ever attended a conference and when it’s all over you are sent you an evaluation form to fill out to rate the conference venue, food, speakers, etc.? In the last six months I have had two clients tell me they have stopped sending them to their conference attendees.

When I asked why, they both said the same thing. They told me they were proud of the conference they hosted and they knew 90% of it was just perfect. If they sent out an evaluation, they would be annoyed by hearing only from the same 10% attendees who are never happy. “We are tired of hearing about cold coffee and hot meeting rooms.”
It’s an interesting perspective. It’s great to hear how we can approve but when is it enough?

Winners Do Quit

I have a quote in my office that reads:

Most of us view quitting a negative thing to do, but it’s not. “Winners never quit” we’re told. In reality, winners quit all the time by choosing to stop doing things that aren’t creating the results that we want.

Charger Cord

It was the last flight of the day. I needed to call home to say good night to my family. There was a crowd of people all cuddled around the infamous tower of plug-ins.

There was only one left and there was a man who wasn’t charging his phone leaning against it. I asked politely if I could please plug in. He rudely said “Go ahead.” I needed to sit very close to him and my cord was hitting him while I talked. No matter how hard I tried my phone cord kept whipping his shoulder.

I kept mouthing “sorry” every time the cord moved. When I hung up I was annoyed with him. I looked at him and said “Sorry the cord kept hitting you.” What I wanted to say was, “Why didn’t you move to any of the other open seats and kindly make room for me?”
He looked at me and said, “You are annoying me with your “sorry’s” why do you need to keep saying that?”

I stared back at him in disbelief in that dark airport and said “Because I am nice.” He didn’t respond.

I get people have stress in their lives, but they also have a choice – to be rude or to be kind.

Grape Soda Pin

This is a great story shared by an audience member at one of my workshops.

Our family really enjoys all things Disney. We have traveled to both Disneyland and Disneyworld on several occasions. One thing remains the same, all of the staff go above and beyond to serve their clients. They realize that for some families it is truly a once in a lifetime vacation, and it needs to be magical. But, how often are they sincerely thanked for the joy that they brings to others? How many “grumpy” people do they meet? How many complaints do they have to endure?

We were headed to Disneyworld to celebrate our 23rd anniversary, and we wanted to find a way to celebrate our happiness and say thank you in more of a tangible way. We knew that most Disney Cast Members could not receive tips unless they work in a specific service sector such as coach driver, restaurant service, room attendant, etc.; however, our research showed that cast members “may” accept small notes or small tokens of appreciation. We also remembered that it was the 15th anniversary of Disney/Pixar’s movie “UP!” We thought it would be a great idea to merge our thank you with the movie’s anniversary.

Fans of the movie might remember a scene where Carl receives a gift of a grape soda pin made from a bottle cap from Ellie as a childhood friend – now they were in a club. The friendship blossoms to love and they marry. As a couple they had the spirit of adventure together, which helps them through happiness and adversity. It is an inspiring story of togetherness. So several Pinterest and YouTube posts later we armed ourselves with a shopping list and headed to the craft store. To make sure we had a variety, we made some bottle cap pins with a grape soda label, others with Mickey heads and glitter – it was a lot of fun.

Once we arrived at the park, the whole family set about distributing their pins. While some cast still had to decline the gift, many accepted with gratitude and surprise. Since we had several pins, we looked for opportunities to include others in the fun. As it was our anniversary, we were gifted with a “We are Celebrating” pin. We started to find other couples that were decked out with “Engagement” celebration pins. So if we were in line with them, we would strike up conversations and congratulate them. We would ask if they were fans of UP! and then gift them congratulatory Grape Soda Pins. In another instance the cast member actually hopped up and down, and said that in all of the years she worked at Disneyworld, she had never received a gift – she had heard about others receiving them – but now she had gotten to experience it.

The best part was the peoples’ reactions. People quickly pinned them on their lanyards or backpacks. They were surprised that we made them, and that we would share them with strangers. When my wife asked me why I wanted to make Grape Soda Pins, I told her that giving a thank you or a memory to others made me happy. Who doesn’t like a good story to tell? As far as we know, our Grape Soda Pins may be as far away as Japan with newlyweds.

Ultimately, we are all in a club, whether at work, with our family or other social circles. Celebrating togetherness and gratitude is fun.



Thank you Lyn for sharing this story with me.

My pastor asked me,”If you saw a woman come out of church, fall and break her leg, would you go and help her?”

I said “Of course!”

Then he asked, “What if you didn’t like her, would you still help her?”

I said, “Yes I would.”

He then went on to explain that the negative 10% people in our lives are no different than the woman with the broken leg, they need help too. They may not have a broken leg but they have a broken spirit.

He challenged me to help all of those in need.

Digital Pet Therapy

For this paper, Myrick — an assistant professor at Indiana University and a researcher into media’s emotional effects — recruited 7,000 people for a lengthy online questionnaire about when, where and why they watch cat videos.

On average, her respondents watched cat videos two to three times a week, frequently on sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Buzzfeed. They tended to chance upon the videos in their social feeds, rather than seek them out specifically. They were more likely to watch and like cat videos if they owned, or had ever owned, a cat; if they were shy; or if, predictably, they spent lots of time online.

No matter the personal variables, however, people reported feeling more energetic, more happy and less stressed after watching a video of a cat — even when they felt guilty about it because they were supposed to be doing something else.
“Practically,” Myrick writes, “these findings … promote the idea that viewing Internet cats may actually function as a form of digital pet therapy and/or stress relief for Internet users.”

Digital pet therapy? Don’t mind if I do!