Something Great

Last time I wrote about the teacher that has most impacted our son’s life, Ms.Merk, his grade three teacher. When he asked me the question “Mom, which teacher has had the greatest impact on you?” I too did not hesitate when I said “Mr. Majors”.

Mr. Majors was my Grade 12 chemistry teacher. I did not like chemistry. It’s not that I didn’t like chemistry – I didn’t like school. It was not a 90% for me. I really struggled at school. I did not like to sit all day, I loved to talk (go figure) and I would challenge my teachers all the time. I would ask my social studies teacher why I needed to memorize the names of lakes, I refused to dissect the frog because I thought it was terrible and gross, and on and on. I skipped a lot (which could help explain why my grades suffered) and couldn’t wait to graduate.

Chemistry was by far my greatest challenge. My constant questions to Mr. Majors were “why do I need to know this?” and “when will I ever use this in my life?”. My first semester I received an esteemed mark of 16%. Yup. 16%.

My year-end chemistry mark would determine if I was to graduate. I had my 1968 Volkswagen packed and I was ready to live my life. I knew I had to get serious about this class. I asked Mr. Majors if he would help me. I promised him I would show up if he would please give me a little extra help. He agreed. We worked hard together.

The last day of school when they were passing out report cards. I learned that Mr. Majors had mine and I was to go and see him after school. I thought the worst.

There he was at his desk. I could see the brown envelope. He looked up and said “Oh good I wanted to talk to you”. I could smell summer school in the air.

He held out my report card and I asked him in a quiet nervous voice “Did I pass?” He let me open the envelope and whew… I had passed.

He walked me out of his classroom and as I was walking the hall to “freedom” he said, “I want to tell you something”. My heart sank.. “what else??”

He said words that I will never forget. He said “Darci I don’t know where you are going in that ’68 beetle or where life will take you but I know a couple of things.

I know for sure that whatever you go on and do in your life, it will have absolutely NOTHING to do with chemistry.

And I know something else, that whatever you go on and do in your life, it will be something great”. And he turned and walked away.

I think about Mr. Majors and his parting words all the time. I think they have had a huge impact on who I’ve become.

Greatest Impact

Hi Everyone. I thought I’d share my newsletter posting here as well.

In our house, it has been one busy spring…you may be able to relate. In addition to our daughter’s health challenges our eight-year-old boy, John, has had a rough time too. John is dealing with a weather anxiety.

During the first big thunder storm last year, it’s like a switch flipped. Since then he has not wanted to go outside if its cloudy, for fear it would turn into a bad weather day. If it was raining, he did not want to go to school. Needless to say, it added a 10% stress to our morning routine.
John sees a counselor which is helping but he was still so fearful of “what if it rains once I get to school?” I called John’s teacher and explained our situation and she said in her calm way, “No problem, I’ll just let John stay in at recess if he is feeling stressed.” In one call, she took away a huge challenge for us. Whenever John would feel stressed in the morning, I would say, “No worries John, remember what Ms. Merk said. You can stay in if you need to.” He would take a deep breath and off to school he would go.

I love one-on-one time with our children. At a time in our house where we are dealing with a few “10%” situations, I find the focused one-on-one time to be a real “fill-up” for us. I like to unplug technology whenever I can and just sit and “be”.

I had a gift of time this week with John. There is nothing better than spending time alone with the nicest boy I know. He and I woke up before anyone else and he wanted to play a game called “The Family Dinner Box of Questions”. It is a deck of cards that asks unique questions to get dialogue going around the dinner table. We love playing it and hearing about “What wild animal would you keep for a pet?”, “Using one word, how would you describe your family?”, etc.

The question on my card to John was, “What teacher has had the greatest impact on your life?” Without a second of hesitation he said, “Ms.Merk”. He went on to explain in great detail how supported he has felt and what a friend she has been to him when he really needed one. He told me “I will never forget her Mom and all she has done for me”.

Her choice to be patient and loving added a 90% to a spring with 10%’s. I am so grateful for her.

Attitude in Action:
Take a few minutes and think about the people who make/made a difference in your life. Whose life do you make a difference in?

Staying Full

The ultimate test is, can we be full and happy EVEN in depleting times? It is easy to be happy and see the 90%s in life when everything is peaceful. What about when it is not? Can we still be happy?

We all have stress. But what do we do to cope and carry on? This winter has tested me. Our 10-year-old daughter has been very sick with a parasite from a winter holiday. A story that would take 100 pages to explain ends with a very sick little girl. To add to that there is a long list of extended family stresses.

During this time I have had to carry on. Being a motivational speaker is the greatest job in the world with so many 90%s. A 10% – no EDOs and no sick days!

So when people ask me, how did I stay full and focused on the 90%, here is what I tell them:

– I focused on getting my daughter healthy again. Rather than feeling helpless (which I felt some days) I funneled that strength into helping her. She is recovering now.
– I took ruthless care of myself. How can we be anything for anyone else if we are depleted too? In depleted times people need you to be full and happy. Go to bed early and eat things that keep you healthy. I have walked past toys on the floor and dishes in the sink to go to bed, knowing I needed my rest to be the best I could be for everyone.
– I called in the support of friends and neighbours. I was not too proud to ask for help when I needed it. Women do not need to give 110%. We can give 90% and still be okay.
– I was easy on me. I knew I could only get done what I could get done some days. My amazing admin assistant Sandra and I knew that some days emails had to wait, newsletters didn’t get out and new books did not get released this year. No worries.
– I was grateful for my husband Darren who would take over and make it all okay when I had to be away. He was the armour we all needed.
– I was thankful for the lessons along the way. I knew there would be 90%s despite the 10%. My family and I have grown so much during this time.
– Rather than complaining about how busy I was working during it all, I was grateful for it. The work helped to pay for the many treatment options.
– I prayed a lot. I prayed for strength. I would stand outside banquet rooms with my little suit on and briefcase in my hand. I would stare at the door and ask God if he really thought I could
leave a depleted family and deliver this message to hundreds of people on the other side of that door. He always answered “yes” and kicked my butt in the room.

We all have stress. What do YOU need to do to be full and happy, no matter what?

A Birthday to Remember

Wow, I have so many 90% clients. I am so blessed with my work.

I have been speaking for 18 years and I have spoke and around my birthday for all of those! I have never had a client do what PBS Systems in Calgary did.

They heard it was my birthday ( the day I was speaking) . They ordered me this cake.


Sure speaks volumes to the quality of people that work there. It was like I was being invited into their family.

Thanks PBS. You left a lasting 90% impression on me!

Grateful

As Easter is approaching and many of us are observing Lent, I thought about how much we take for granted. Even though we still have snow and colder weather, we really are lucky to live here!

The following is an exerpt from my newly expanded best-selling book — Focus on the 90%

Traveling home on a cold delayed flight I was catching myself focusing on the 10%s. I was at the end of a long traveling schedule and feeling a little weary. We arrived home in freezing cold weather to late luggage and a half an hour wait for a taxi. Though I was chanting 90% … 90% in my head, I was feeling sorry for myself as I stood one of the last people in the airport waiting for a ride.

I could see the taxi driver smiling as he pulled up to the airport. He jumped out and carefully loaded my suitcases in his car. His energy was infectious. We exchanged the usual pleasantries. I wasn’t really in the mood for talking (very unlike me – just ask my husband!) but I wanted to know more about this happy man on this dark cold night. He told me how he had just moved to Canada with his wife and their four children. He went on and on about how lucky he was to have found his job and how blessed we are to live here. He told me funny stories of his children seeing snow for the first time. They had rented an apartment and he raved about how lucky we are to have homes of our own. He told me his parents would join them next year. When I asked if he would need to rent a house instead of the apartment for extra room, he seemed shocked at the idea. He said with sincerity “oh no, we have plenty of room for everyone.”

As we pulled up to our middle class house he sat back and aid, “Wow, you live in a palace – you are a lucky woman.” I gave him an extra big tip and crept into my sleeping house.

I sat quietly on the bench at the front door and took a minute to Focus on my 90%s. I have a job that I love. I get to travel; some people have never been on an airplane. I live in a safe beautiful city, however cold, to raise our children in. Our house, though older – is our house, even a palace to some. My health, something I never take for granted. A healthy sleeping family to come home to. I went into their rooms and kissed their sleeping faces. It is easy to slip sometimes and focus on the 10%s, what
we don’t have, what we wish we had and start to feel sorry for ourselves. It is wonderful how God always puts someone in my path during those times to remind me of what is really important and how grateful I should be.

It’s a 90%

Sandra here, Darci’s assistant. Darci has been blessed with a number of presentations this month and that really makes the days fly. So she’s asked me to share my 90% from this week.

When Darci and I are busy, it’s easy to forget to think about what went right during the week. Often we are either focused on how to correct a 10% so it doesn’t happen again or on what is needed for the upcoming week. But this week, I heard back from one of Darci’s customers and it brought a smile to my face. A gentleman who had ordered a number of Darci’s books by email took a few minutes out of his busy day to let Darci know that our customer service was excellent and then, not content to just have Darci pass the message along, he emailed me with the compliment as well. What a wonderful email to receive! It made my day!

And it made me think. Who provides me with great service? Do I remember to thank them or do I only comment on the poor service? Even at home, do I thank my husband when he prepares an excellent dinner or my daughter when she remembers to put her dishes in the dishwasher? It’s something to think about. Now I’m going to try and “make someone else’s day”! How about you?

Using the Focus on the 90%

Recently one of my audience members sent me this email. I was so inspired, I thought I would share it with you.
Hi Darci,
Your presentation to us was so inspiring and really got me thinking about my life (single mother of two children) and if I was really happy. I knew I wasn’t but wasn’t sure what to do about it. I started reading your book on the commute home and finished it when I woke up the next morning. When my daughter came into my room in the morning, she saw the magnifying glass that came with your business card; so of course, she was asking me where it was from. I told her about the presentation and your message of focusing on the good things and appreciating what we have. I told her how it’s important to be happy in life etc and her comment back to me was “well you’re not happy Mummy, you’re always complaining about work”. This broke my heart. It’s true as I did complain a lot. There were no growth prospects for me and I was stuck in a rut but I didn’t know what to do.

Let me back up a bit now and mention some friends of mine who live in beautiful coastal community. I met up with them and some of their friends recently. They were talking about where they live and how it was such a great place to raise children, and how it’s such a great community etc etc.

This peaked my interest but does one really just up and move from the city to a lovely rural area? My boyfriend had never been to this area so I took him over there and we both fell in love with it and realized we had to make this work.

Back up number two….my children are both incredibly creative and artistic and they attended a children’s art studio in the city. This is an amazing place. My friends (the ones from the lovely coastal community) were visiting me one weekend and were admiring some of the canvasses on my wall that my children had painted. They commented that they wished their area had such a cool program for kids. This was my epiphany…! I got in touch with the art studio to ask about franchises. The more I heard about it the more I liked it and they said that I’d be a good fit for them…so…..I bought the franchise!

I just sold my house, I have a place to rent over there while I get settled (and kids get used to their new school) and I resigned today. I will start focusing on my business in the fall when the family have settled in more.

It’s quite a drastic change and nobody can believe it but I’m so
excited to be a business owner in a gorgeous environment, amongst a lovely community (which is already very artistic but there is nothing like this for children). I have no doubt that it will be very busy but I can be around my children more and be a better role model for them too. This is what I love most of all. I can’t wait.

I was turning 36 a few days after your presentation and I just didn’t like the fact that my life was pretty much mapped out for the next decade unless I chose a different path. It was your presentation that really made me realise that something in my life had to change, and within less than two months I’m on my way to making it all happen.

Thank you so much. I probably couldn’t have done it without you.

Darci’s exciting news

Over the next few months, Darci is joining Robert Herjavec and Haley Wickenheiser at the FCC Forums – Think Inspiration!

She’s so pleased to be working with these awesome individuals.  The first event was November 25th.

 

Read more here.

 

90% instead of $90

Another great note from a workshop attendee.

Something happened this week that I must share with you. In fact when it happened I could hardly wait to tell you this.

On this particular evening, we were at one of  “our” banks and when I went to the ATM machine to wipe it down, I saw a note that someone had left. Now me being inquisitive, had to read it. This is what it said “if you are the one that left here and forgot the money that you left in the machine, here is my phone number and all you need to tell me is the time you were here and the amount that you took out”.  I was so excited and at that exact time an elderly couple came in and I showed them the note. From there we had quite the discussion and we all agreed that most of the people of Moose Jaw in particular were Awesome.  I said that “a very smart lady once told me and others that 90% of people are good and she is so very right” and I would like to add something to that.

I have spent most of my working years, at different jobs, in different places and I was so thankful that I was so blessed to work with such wonderful people, but it wasn’t until after I heard you speak on 90% that I realized that it wasn’t just the people that I worked with, IT WAS PEOPLE IN GENERAL!!! And this was so very evident as so many times when I am doing my early morning checks at the banks that we clean, that I am reminded of this. Whenever I get a chance to see customers that make a quick stop at the bank before going to work, it’s so interesting to see how many are “morning people” and those that would rather be back in bed. There was one customer that really made “my day”. She looked so very tired and had her head down, and my heart went out to her. I greeted her, and at first she didn’t say anything, but then my motto is “a smile can do wonders” and don’t you know, it worked again. She did look up and said, “Good morning”, and I decided to further this chat with asking if she was on her way to work, and she replied “no”, I’ve worked all night”. To which I asked where she worked and she said “Walmart”. Well I proceeded to say,”Oh you are the one that goes around slashing prices and I’d like to say that you’re doing a great job.” Well, her face just beamed and I thought “Whew.” That’s all it took to maybe add alittle joy to her life. So I do believe Darci that in Moose Jaw
we do have the 90% reputation.

Well getting back to the honest customer that found the money- it was our pleasure to be around when the customer came back to the bank, and although one would think “why that money will be gone” but maybe he heard about the 90% MJ so he did come back!!! And he saw the note and phoned the person.That was so very awesome and this thing I’m sure goes on a lot without some of us noticing.

Well Darci I must run. I am sending you a story that I find so inspiring. Hope you enjoy.

Grace

Even pumpkins get it! Darci’s 90%!

Thank you again for your terrific presentation.  I thought I would send you a cute picture.  Every year we have a Jack-O-Lantern contest and this year at one home, a staff member lent their “Focus on the 90%” book as a prop for their pumpkin.  I hope you enjoy!