Rude vs. Nice

I am always so surprised how some people think it is okay to be rude. I am not talking of someone “giving their opinion” or “stating their views”; I mean…rude. I remember how shocked I was when a groom would come into my tuxedo store and be rude. It was his wedding and he was with his future bride! Yikes… I wanted to tell her to “run”.

People grow up with crazy belief systems around how to treat retail staff, health care workers, government employees, waiters and anyone else who’s job it is to “serve” them. I grew up believing we were all the same and everyone deserved respect.  I have 10 half and step brothers and sisters and I have reminded them over the years that how your date treats the waitress will be the future of how you are treated. I have been preaching this for years.

Last night I was in Urban Barn and low and behold they have a poster that reads “A person who is nice to you and not nice to the waiter is not a nice person”.

I could not agree more! And… I think every restaurant should own a poster like that.

The Daffodil Principle

I got this in my email and I couldn’t resist sharing it with everyone.

The Daffodil Principle

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, ‘Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over.’ I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. ‘I will come next Tuesday’, I promised a little reluctantly on her third call.

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn’s house, I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.

‘Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!’

My daughter smiled calmly and said, ‘We drive in this all the time, Mother.’

‘Well, you won’t get me back on the road until it clears, and then I’m heading for home!’ I assured her.

‘But first we’re going to see the daffodils. It’s just a few blocks,’ Carolyn said. ‘I’ll drive. I’m used to this.’

‘Carolyn,’ I said sternly, ‘Please turn around.’

‘It’s all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience.’

After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read, ‘Daffodil Garden.’ We got out of the car, each took a child’s hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight.

Field of yellow daffodils.

It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and its surrounding slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swathes of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, and saffron and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted in large groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers.

‘Who did this?’ I asked Carolyn.

‘Just one woman,’ Carolyn answered. ‘She lives on the property. That’s her home.’ Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, small and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house.

On the patio, we saw a poster. ‘Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking’, was the headline. The first answer was a simple one.’ 50,000 bulbs,’ it read. The second answer was, ‘One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain.’ The third answer was, ‘Began in 1958.’

For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration.

That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time–often just one baby-step at a time–and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world .

‘It makes me sad in a way,’ I admitted to Carolyn. ‘What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and had worked away at it ‘one bulb at a time’ through all those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!’

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. ‘Start tomorrow,’ she said.

She was right. It’s so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, ‘How can I put this to use today?’

Use the Daffodil Principle. Stop waiting…
Until your car or home is paid off
Until you get a new car or home
Until your kids leave the house
Until you go back to school
Until you finish school
Until you clean the house
Until you organize the garage
Until you clean off your desk
Until you lose 10 lbs.
Until you gain 10 lbs.
Until you get married
Until you get a divorce
Until you have kids
Until the kids go to school
Until you retire
Until summer
Until spring
Until winter
Until fall
Until you die…

There is no better time than right now to be happy.

Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

So work like you don’t need money.

Love like you’ve never been hurt.

Dance like no one’s watching.

If you want to brighten someone’s day, pass this on to someone special. I just did!

Wishing you a beautiful, daffodil day! Happy SPRING!

Finding change

I sat next to a very tired man last week on the airplane. He spent most of our two hour flight in and out of sleep. We struck up a conversation, exchanging the usual pleasantries as he told me how tired he was from his work. He works away for weeks at a time and returns home for short visits to see his children. I listen empathetically; imagining how difficult it was for him to be away so much. I said to him, “It will be great to get home, kids need their Dad”. He looked at me and said, “My kids stopped needing me a long time ago”.

We spent the rest of the flight talking about how he could change that. I pray he did.

Forgiveness

I don’t read the paper but Darren does, so often I grab the paper out of the mailbox and scan the front page to see what is going on in the world. Feb 13th, the front page story caught my attention. A brave woman named Juanita was speaking at a local church about her terrifying childhood of sex and drug abuse and how she turned her life around.
Her words stayed with me, “I forgive my parents for what they did to me because if someone hadn’t done it to them, they wouldn’t have done it to me”.

It takes some people a lifetime to forgive. What a courageous choice she has made to see the 90%s in a 10% past.

Reader’s Views

I love magazines. Decorating and health are my favorites. A green tea, a quiet house and a new magazine, heaven.

Since no one can keep every customer happy I am so intrigued by how magazines always post their happy 90% view comments AND their 10% comments. They will put in print comments from readers who were not happy with something they featured.

Imagine doing that? Imagine if your website or your “wall of fame” at work had a mix of happy and unhappy views?

4 out of 5

My girlfriend and I attended a great luncheon with a great speaker who did an outstanding job. We both agreed it was a great message and the speaker was wonderful. When the evaluation forms came around to the tables at the end, I naturally circled “5 out of 5” to compliment her great speech.

My optimistic friend circled “4 out of 5”. When I questioned why she did not circle 5 when we both agreed the presentation was great, she replied, “No one circles 5”.

We had a lengthy discussion on the way home about how we have been conditioned to not be “too happy”. My question is… “What is wrong with Pollyanna?” Why send that speaker home with an evaluation that may make her question how she could do better?

The other 3%

There is always someone who will be unhappy with what you do. In all my years of working in a garage, retail, renting tuxedos, producing fashion shows and trade shows and as a speaker, I know it is impossible to please everyone.

I love the Always Infinity ad (sorry guys feminine products!)
It shows a picture of the product and the ad reads:
97% of women who tried Always Infinity said they’d recommend it to friends.
The other 3% never like anything anyway.

Ha ha, how true is that!

Too hot or too cold

I was speaking to a large organization and every level of employee would attend my presentation.

The custodial staff were by far the funniest of the emails that were sent to me from the group telling me about their job.

A man who called himself “the janitor everyone needs” wrote this when I asked him “tell me about your job”.
“I love what I do. I don’t take a BlackberryTM home. I work alone and everyone needs something from me. I have learned that there is always someone who is too cold or too hot but you aim to please them all.”

What a great attitude. Indeed, there is always someone who complains about being too hot or too cold. Do your best, work hard and go home to the family you love. Isn’t that that point of this great life?

Great sign

One of my favourite restaurants is called the 13th Avenue Food and Coffee House. I love homemade vegetarian food and they are one of the BEST.

I loved the tip jar at the front counter so I wanted to share it with you.
tip jar

Please

I love polite. It is something I am very proud of in our children. They are exceptional at saying please and thank you. It is something we engrained in them as toddlers. I am amazed at how often adults forget to be polite. Jayda and John have been served by serving staff in a restaurant or in a retail store and they always notice when the staff are not polite.

I am often in the email loop with the planning committee for the conference I am going to speak at. One employee will ask another employee to send me something and it is rare that I see them ask with a “please”. How often do we thank our staff for all they do? Our spouse and children?

I was reading a copy of Woman’s Day magazine on our winter holiday this year. The story I was reading was continued on another page. Rather than saying “turn to page 98” the magazine said, “please turn to 98”. Just that simple “please” adds so much.

“Please” go about your day today and see where you could add something nice.