You are so annoying!

I am concerned about society’s view on being positive. When I work in an organization and I find out that they have a super star employee who comes to work with a great attitude, I always try to find that person when I get there. They are never hard to find, they “exude” it! They have a smile on their face and an excitement for their job.

What concerns me is that when that person is singled out I hear things from the other “not so happy” employees like:
“I hate working with her, she is just too happy”

“It is so annoying even in the busiest months, she still has a smile on her face!”

“She’s so happy I could slap her.”

Always so happy it is annoying

Always so happy it is annoying

You know what I always say back to people? “Who would you rather work with? Her? Or someone who drags themselves to work everyday?”

Funny, hey? We define happy people as annoying. Being positive is a lot of work. Trust me I know. It is much easier to be negative. We really need to look at why we think positive people are annoying. What’s wrong with Pollyanna?

I have a great quote from a client that says.

“A positive attitude may not solve all of your problems but it may annoy enough people along the way to make the effort worthwhile.”

On fire!

I was delivering a presentation to a Health related group and one of the audience members shared this story with us all.

I was telling you about how I felt that some young nurses lack passion for their work. There was a young student who was assigned to be with me in my work as Palliative Care nurse coordinator for a couple of days. She seemed to me as we talked to only be in nursing because it was “a job”, somewhat better paying than some others. At the end of our time together, she said something like “I don’t know how you do your job…you must burn out. I know I’d burn out right away”

Find your passion - burn out

Find your passion – burn out

My response to her was, “You have to be set on fire before you can burn out!” I went on to encourage her to get some passion for her work or she may not be able to function as a nurse at all, especially not if she were to ever be interested in working with those living with a terminal illness.

How are you? Why? Do you really care?

I am worried about asking the question, “How are you?” It seems to be such an overused question when I don’t think the people asking really listen to what your response is.

When I speak on the topic of customer service, people share that a really great service provider is someone who is “genuine”. When I work with staff groups and I ask them what makes a great manager they say, ”Someone who cares about us”. When I speak on relationship building, one of the greatest gifts families can give each other is the gift of listening.

Do you really care

Do you really care

I have a client, Mike, who is a really funny guy and a very successful entrepreneur. Something that has always bothered Mike is the lack of “genuineness” in people. We have worked successfully with his staff and managers for years helping to build great service providers and better attitudes within his team.

We will often meet over breakfast to discuss our next training day together and he has a great “genuine experiment” he likes to conduct with the serving staff of the restaurant to test how much they really care.

When the service provider arrives at the table, they look at Mike and ask him, “How are you?” He responds with, “Merry Christmas” – instead of a normal response. No matter what time of year it is!

Now you would think that goofy response would be met with a laugh or some surprise. I have met with Mike on many occasions and you wouldn’t believe how many serving staff will respond to Mike’s, “Merry Christmas” with a “Good, and would you like some coffee?”

It always makes me laugh because it sure does show how many people really do not listen to what your response is when they ask, “How are you?”

A Reader’s Digest quote said, “A good conversationalist is someone who spends 90% of their time listening”. Enough said. Oh and Mike….. “Merry Christmas”!

Like what you do.

Our boy John loves clothing from the company “Life is Good.” Not only does he like the clothes but he loves what the company stands for and how the brothers of Life is Good donate 10% of sales to those in need.  My 10 year old  boy likes to make choices that are good for our world.

We love the saying in all Life is Good clothing, “Do what you like, like what you do”.

He and I have had many talks about how important it is to do something that you like for a living. Choose a job that you like doing all day.

Like what you do

Like what you do


Anything less is inconvenient

I am blessed with a traveling life and I meet a lot of employees in airports and on airplanes. As I get off the plane in Regina and I make that walk down the hall I am always excited to see if Tyler is working. Tyler is the Commissioner who greets you as you head down the escalator to get your luggage. I am excited to see him because no matter what time of day you see him, he is always positive.

I say ,“Hi Tyler, how are you today?”  With enthusiasm, his response is ALWAYS, “Great because anything less is inconvenient.”

How are you? Great

How are you? Great

I could not agree more.

If people could rise from the dead.

I was invited to a speak in a city close to an incredible “world class” resort. Darren and I decided that we would take an extra day and make the trip a family holiday.

It was a beautiful sunny day as we made our way down the tree-lined highway. The fresh smell of pine blowing in our windows and the wildlife running alongside the road. As we turned down into a lush valley, there nestled on the side of a hill sat the sprawling hotel. It was breathtaking. We could hardly wait to explore the area and see our room that promised a “picturesque view.”

Relax at resort - staff not necessary

Relax at resort -just a dream

We all bounced out of the van and walked down the rustic path from the parking lot to the huge log doors. The lobby featured beautifully selected furniture and a warm fire burning in the large brick fireplace. It was clear that every detail had been considered and a great deal of money spent on the building.

We arrived at the front counter, eager to check in. I was sure that the owners who had taken such care in creating this amazing property also would have insisted on employing exceptional people.

Well, let’s just say,  we were quickly disappointed. We waited while the person behind the counter finished his conversation with another other staff member. Darren finally had to say, “Excuse me,” even though we were clearly visible in front of him.

He slowly rose from his chair, put down his coffee and replied, without an ounce of enthusiasm, “Can I help you?” No smile, nothing. We had obviously interrupted him by checking in. Without making any conversation with us, he handed us our key, picked up his coffee, and sat back down. The rest of the weekend was a let down, too. Everything seemed to be an effort for the staff.

At the end of our stay, we packed up our luggage, we were disappointed and ready to leave. Though the resort, the view, the food, and the trails were amazing, the staff had taken away something away from all of it. How different the experience could have been if they had understood that we were the reason they were there.

As we struggled out the door with arms loaded and no one in sight to help us, we passed the staff room. The door was open, and the room was full of visiting staff members. We noticed a big poster on the wall that read, “If you don’t believe that people can rise from the dead, you should be here at quitting time!”

How fitting, we laughed. Too bad the irony seemed lost on them.

Stop going through the motions!

I was hired by a large manufacturing plant. The staff had a grueling job on the assembly line and worked in a very dirty noisy environment. My job was to train the management team on how they could be more genuine to their staff. I suggested that we should never ask anyone, “How are you?”, unless we genuinely cared about their response and had time to time to truly hear it.

One of the managers shared with me that he makes it a point to go up and down the assembly line every morning and say, “Hi. How are you?” to his small group on the line. He thinks if he makes an appearance they will know he cares.  But he admitted that he doesn’t actually listen to a single word they say.

Do you really care how I am?

Do you really care how I am?

If we are only going to go through the motions of trying to show staff we care, I think we are creating an even greater disconnect with our staff. Why ask anyone how they are if we do not have time to listen to their response? Haven’t we all worked for someone who went to a seminar on how to care and came back and pretended they did?

Now this same manager goes up and down the assembly line every morning but he only talks to a couple of people on his team. He looks them in the eye, calls them by name and asks a genuine “How are you?” so he can learn more about his staff. He truly listens to their response and now he is genuine.

Don’t put your company logo on your van.

I was rushing to a presentation there is van directly beside me with traffic lined up behind him so I signal in advance so that he knows I need to move a lane over. I continue to signal for about two blocks as I sped up, so does he. As I slow down, so does he. There is no possible way for me to get over unless he slows down and lets me in.

Finally, it is too late and I have to park. I put the pedal to the medal in my speedy minivan, zoom way ahead of him, cut across and parked in the spot I needed to be in. Now let me just say, normally I would never do this. I have a great deal of patience when I am driving. But I am out of time and I have tried for three blocks to ask for his co-operation.

Don't advertise this way

Don’t advertise on your vehicle if…


As I park he slows his van up beside mine and looks over at me. I give him the “I am sorry” look ( because I was definitely in the wrong) and with one swift gesture with of his finger; he abruptly gave me something else.

As he was driving away I realized that his company logo was on the side of his van. I have been a customer of this company many times. As he drove down the street I wondered if he understood the impression he has left on me. I was reminded of this story today as I saw that van again in traffic. We have to remember everywhere we go, every action we take,  leaves an impression of who we are to those around us.

You don’t have to thank her.

I believe in being nice to everyone. I grew up with many great people who taught me that everyone deserves respect. I think the people who do the hardest work in most companies deserve the most respect.

An audience member I met has a daughter who is a flight attendant. While serving a family their drinks and snacks one of the children in the family said “thank you” to the flight attendant as she handed them their snack. The mother of the child looked at her child and said “You don’t have to thank her, it’s her job to serve you”.

That child will now grow up in a house believing that those who serve you do not deserve respect.

I grew up with my Dad running a Volkswagen repair shop in the back yard of our home. I would watch customers come into my Dad’s shop and be rude to my Dad. I remember at a young age thinking, “You don’t even know how to change your own oil, and you’re being rude to my Dad who does know how?”

Running my own tuxedo store, I met men who grew up at dinner tables believing that retail employees do not deserve respect. Now as a speaker I meet those who are “entitled to give their opinion”. I often remind them, their opinion ripples to someone else.

Be respectful of EVERYONE. Those who serve you snacks, change your oil and rent you your tuxedo

7 ideas on how to make sure you stay married

Don’t criticize everything he does.

It is so easy to pick at our partners. It is so easy to focus on the 10% in them but we need to remember we are not perfect either. Accept him. Nothing worse than watching a woman pick at her husband in the airport. The more I make sure I am happy, the less I find fault in him. I stopped remaking the bed and refolding the towels.

How to stay married

How to stay married

Be interesting.

Darren created what we he calls “couple cards” so that when we think of something interesting to share with each other we write it on the cards. That way when we are on one of our beloved walks we can share some really cool things with each other. That way we do not always slip into talking about work or the day to day activities.

Thank him for everything he does

I learned very early in my marriage that if I thanked Darren for what he did for me, he would feel encouraged to do more. The dishwasher unloaded, gas in my car and shoveled sidewalks all get a thank you. There is always more to do, but if I focus on what “isn’t done” then Darren feels like it is never good enough. I also thank him for the wonderful father he is to our children too.

Laugh with him.

We don’t laugh enough. So we started watching funny shows and sharing funny things that happened in our day at the dinner table. Darren has a great idea he shares in his presentation ( that people should think of the top three funniest things that have happened to them. He shares funny things that have happened to his audience members with our family.

Share only small amounts of interest together

My husband and I do not share every interest together. It is important for us to have some separate activities. Why do we need to spend every second together? I know some men like shopping but the men in my family do not! Why would you drag your husband around shopping? I see them at Walmart. Trust me. Leave him at home.

Make time

Like most couples we are a busy couple. If we do not carve out time on our calendar weeks can go by and we have not made any time for our marriage. So we literally take out our calendars and plug in our dates early in the month. That way it is priority. We call it “check in” to see how we are both feeling. Even if it is a quick lunch, a walk or a couple of drinks we schedule it in. Marriage is work and it deserves our time.

Send little reminders

I love to email or text my husband once in a while to tell him I love him and I am proud to be his wife. He is always wonderful for bringing me home my favorite, flowers. It doesn’t take much to let the other person know you are thinking of them and you love them.