Some Truths

I talk about myself a lot on this blog. I try to inspire myself by writing about ways I’m trying to improve. If I inspire someone else along the way, that makes me very happy.

I read a post the other day from Corbett Barr 33 Things I Never Told You (or How to Reintroduce Yourself and Kick Your Watered Down Self in the Ass that he basically reveals quite a few personal truths about himself and calls us to task about being ourself in our writing. It was a good example of just letting go.

Sometimes, I think my posts are too “mushy”, too much sunshine and roses. That isn’t my intention. I want to use my experiences and thoughts to help lift us out of the muck and mire of the every day.

Even me stating that “I think my posts are too ‘mushy’…makes me realize that I am worrying about what others think! Of course I do. I try not too. I talk about being yourself on this blog all the time. But sometimes, it’s not easy.

So, in this post, I want to list some of the ways that I DON”T follow my own advice. Just in case you were thinking that I’m supermom! 😉 (uh,huh, whatever!)

  1. I still have days where I worry that “nobody likes me”. Seriously. How lame!
  2. I buy a chocolate bar when I go grocery shopping and eat it before anyone sees me! Healthy, huh? Same goes for chips and dip sometimes!
  3. I sometimes have VIVID daydreams of terrible things happening to my children and it scares the hell out of me. Why does that happen?
  4. I really think that I will strangle someone if I don’t have my morning coffee. No joke.
  5. I sometimes wish I could just run away and be by myself, away from everything and everyone
  6. I worry that I drink too much. Last Friday, I didn’t drink anything and the cravings were horrible. What does that mean?
  7. I had a lot of scholarships for university and I literally partied it all away. I am very ashamed of that and I know I disappointed many.
  8. I check Facebook and Twitter a lot at work. I’m on the computer waaaayyyy too much. I’m working on that though. It has affected my kids, and that’s not a good thing.
  9. My husband and I have been in serious financial trouble TWICE and have had to have our parents help us out – yeah, that’s embarrassing and not very grown up.
  10. I have held a lot of resentment towards my husband about that and other things. My resentment has caused a lot of problems between us. But, we’re working on that too.
  11. I am sometimes overwhelmed and anxious about all the things I want/have to do (mostly because I have over-extended myself). It is so crippling that I bury myself in a book, computer game or the tv to run away from it. This can sometimes last days until someone or something kicks my ass.
  12. I once had a night when I was so drunk that I don’t remember most of what happened, but I’m pretty sure that I let some guy take advantage of me. That scared the HELL out of me because I totally knew better and bad shit could have happened. I am not proud of that and pray and talk to my teenager about the dangers of that kind of thing. I am terrified that the same thing will happen to my daughter.
  13. I still get jealous of my sisters and their marriages because they don’t have to work; they get to be the moms that I think I should be for my children. I often believe that they are better moms than me because they are home with them. I have worked full time since they were babies and I resent that sometimes.
  14. I really, really am terrified of bats. The summer we went to Nelson, I completely freaked out one morning when I was on the deck by myself and the bats were coming back to roost in the space JUST ABOVE MY HEAD! I panicked actually. Thank God no one saw me.
  15. I am really scared sometimes that I will be stuck in a job that I don’t care about anymore. That I won’t be able to do what I really love because I’m just not good enough. I wonder if it will ever happen and I’ll be free of the “day job”.
  16. I am ashamed of myself for not being thankful for all that I have. There are days where I wish for this and that instead of seeing all that I have been given.

Anyway, there’s just some of the things that show you my imperfections. My truths that Ronna inspires me to think about.

A Lesson in Customer Service

I’d like to think that I’m a bit of a customer service “pro” since I do A LOT of that in my real life and consider it a “calling” and something I’m very passionate about. I’m often found saying things like, “Everyone should have to do ‘time’ in a customer service role, just so that they know what’s it’s like the next time they yell & scream at a customer service person!” I’m sure it would help anyway! 🙂

One thing that I’ve learned over the years that I’ve been in this field, is this: Treat those that are your most “difficult” customers extra special – try to go above and beyond for them.

Now, before you get upset and say, “They don’t deserve it!” or “That’s impossible!” – hear me out!

I will give you that for some people, you can just never make them happy. And that’s true. However, I have learned that even those people can be more civil when you are giving and civil to them FIRST.

I will also give you that I have NOT always been able to do this myself! Especially for some particularly difficult people. But, I am MUCH better at this now that I’ve been on my Happiness Project. Let me explain:

As my regular readers know, I am looking at life in a different way. I am more accepting of things I cannot change. One of these things are the difficult people that we have to deal with on a daily basis. Another is that I need to be true to myself and not care so much what others think. Both of these things that I’m getting better at has helped me deal with difficult customers.

Compassion goes a long way in customer service. We don’t know what kind of day this person is having or what troubles they have in their life. Why not be a shining star for them? What would be the harm in saying, “I understand your problem – let me see if I can help you!” or even just saying, “Wow, that does sound like an issue. Let’s try to come up with a solution together”

Sure, they may have come in yelling and screaming with their eyes blazing. I am willing to bet that if you emphasize with their problem, SMILE honestly and put yourself in their shoes, the situation will turn around.

I have done this a lot lately with some of the more difficult customers. I’ve listened, I’ve jumped up and tried to work on the solution with them rather than ignoring it (hoping it would go away). I have tried to be a beacon of hope in an atmosphere that isn’t very understanding right now. I have at least tried to understand and do what I can.

What I’ve noticed: Those people have begun to be much more civil when they come in now! Saying things like, “You’re always so good to me” or are more understanding of waiting times etc. I’ve also noticed a VERY big difference in how I feel about the situation. I am not tense and worried about what they’re going to say next. I feel like a “bigger” person for getting past the negativity and trying to be just a little more positive. In the end, both of us benefit from the incident rather than both going away upset! I have been a little surprised at that – that it has made that much of a difference.

Again, I don’t know what that person is going through in his or her life. But if I can be a beacon of light for just a minute or two, maybe it will make a difference for them. It certainly doesn’t do any harm at all!

What do you think of this idea of being extra helpful to those more difficult customers? Add your thoughts to the comments!

Seeking Significance

I just read another fine post from Becoming Minimalist: Stop Chasing Success. Seek Significance Joshua Becker talks about the limitations of success: how it is affected by the economy, how it ends the day you die, and how it never seems to be enough. In turn, he also talks about the benefits of significance: it lasts past your time, it carries on to the next and the next person, and it satisfies your very soul.

This is a big part of my Happiness Project. I desire less “stuff” and I’ve been trying to BE more. I talk a lot of this here in my blog. My Happiness Project is 6 months old, so I thought I’d revisit how Seeking Significance has affected my Happiness. I’ll break it down following Joshua’s practical steps from his post:

  1. Realize that Life Won’t Last Forever – this has been a big thing for me. I’ve noticed that I take more time to just be there in the moment when the moment happens. I’ve tried hard to “stop and smell the flowers”. I’ve begun to notice the little things. I’ve done silly things like take off to Montana on a whim with my family.
  2. Live a Life Worth Copying – this is one of the reasons that I write this blog. It is one of the reasons that I did the Ride to Conquer Cancer. It is why I try so hard to be a good friend and help strangers. It is why I share about my belief in God on this blog and on Facebook. I want to be an example; I want to inspire others to search for significance in their own lives. Even if I inspire just one person to say a kind word to another, then my life is worth living.
  3. Focus on People, not Dollars – this is extremely important to me. I am tired of working for a living. I want to work for a life. I want to be somewhere where the business focuses on the people, not the bottom line. That’s what I believe in. I don’t worry about my job anymore, I spend the time with those I care about instead. My job no longer controls me.
  4. Start with One Solitary Person – I have often helped strangers in the past; that’s how I was raised. However, I am taking more time to smile at complete strangers and ask them how they are and listen for the answer. I give up my place in line at the grocery store. I hold the door for someone. I bring a coffee or flowers to a friend. I say thank you to my kids and my husband. Little things that add up.
  5. Find a Career Outside Your Job – my new business adventure – Simple Life Celebrations – is all about helping people. Really helping people, and I get to do it with my best friend! I can’t tell you how wonderful it makes me feel. How much it inspires me and makes me crave so much more. Not for money, but for being able to do what I really love to do.
  6. Realize that Significance is not Dependent on Success – I’ve stopped saying, “Wouldn’t it be great if...” or “Once we have more money….” and “When the kids are older, we’ll….” – I’m so tired of waiting for that day. I make things happen now. Not tomorrow, not next week, now. Today, I can make a difference.
  7. Reduce Your Expenses – We’re eating out less, we’re going down to one car, we’re planning ahead, we’re finding cheaper ways to enjoy time together. We’re realizing it isn’t about the “stuff” we have, it’s about the quality time and being together.
  8. Read Biographies of People Who Sought Significance Rather Than Success – I read so many inspiring blogs and books from so many great writers that inspire me to be more than I am. My blogroll on the right side of this post is such a small example of the blogs that I follow. There are literally so many more. I don’t watch the news because of the doom and gloom. I read the stories about the great things that we human beings have accomplished. There are a lot of great things happening, each day. I truly believe that each of us can make a difference, one day at a time.

I certainly have a long way to go in seeking significance. But, each day, I am closer. How has Seeking Significance changed your life? Share in the comments.

As always, a song to share:

“I want to be remembered for the love I spread around” – my favorite line in this song.

Wouldn’t It Be Great If…

I caught myself thinking those words in the shower this morning. I stopped mid-thought and actually smiled and chuckled to myself. It’s sneaky how the old me tries to creep in every once in awhile!

That phrase,”Wouldn’t it be great if…” can be good, but for me, it’s an excuse.

  1. Wouldn’t it be great if…I could get that job?
  2. Wouldn’t it be great if…the business would take off and I wouldn’t have to have that job?
  3. Wouldn’t it be great if…I had more time to do what I love to do?
  4. Wouldn’t it be great if…my husband would take me out for dinner?
  5. Wouldn’t it be great if…I had so-and-so in my corner?
  6. Wouldn’t it be great if…I had good luck for a change?
  7. Wouldn’t it be great if…I lost 15 lbs?
  8. Wouldn’t it be great if…the kids did what I asked?
  9. Wouldn’t it be great if…I were a different person?

To me, those words are idle wishes. No plans, no actions, no accountability. They imply that it’s out of my control, but gee, sure would be great if they were in my control. Oh well, poor me…

That was the old me. The moaning, groaning, woe-is-me me. Wallow in self-pity, but don’t do anything about it!

Now (well, most days 😉 ) I am a woman of action. I don’t say, “Wouldn’t it be great if…” I say, “Hey, this IS great!” or “I have an idea” and I start to work on that idea!

Yes, my problem now is I have like 50 things going on, and I’m struggling finding balance, but WOW! I am happy! I am excited! I am seeing the GREAT things happen! I don’t have to say those words! The GREATness is right here, right now!! How cool is that!?

I look back over the past 6 months and see just how far I’ve come!

  1. I didn’t get that job, but there are others popping up! It will come!
  2. Our business didn’t even EXIST 6 months ago! Now we have a website full of great stuff, more than 138 fans on Facebook  – some people we don’t even know! Ideas and excitement building!
  3. I have more time to do what I love because I am doing what I love right now! I have written 100 blog posts, read hundreds of other blog posts, made new friends, learned SO much!
  4. I took my husband out to dinner. He does the laundry, he cleans, he cooks amazing dinners; we’ve grown so much in appreciating and loving each other for who we really are.
  5. I have so many people in my corner, I cannot even count! They were there all along. I just didn’t appreciate them. Most of all, I didn’t think I deserved them. I am good enough.
  6. My luck has changed because I make my own luck! I act, I do, I work for it and most of all, I believe it. The Universe shines on me every day. I am Shining, every day! 🙂
  7. I haven’t lost 15 lbs, but I am in the best shape of my life! I am going to ride more than 200 KMs in 2 days this weekend, and I know that I can do it! I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman! (Had to put that in!)
  8. The kids don’t always do what I ask, but, they try because I yell less. I empower them to take care of their own stuff, to have responsibility. Most of all, to have fun!
  9. I am a different person. In so many ways. I am becoming who I was born to be. And that, makes me very happy!

The next time I catch myself saying that, I will smile and laugh. Yep, you just try sneaking back in! If you want to come in and say those words because you’re DREAMING about something and are going to take some action, well, GREAT! If you’re just whining, well, go whine somewhere else! I’ve got mountains to climb, so get out of the way! 🙂 It’s an EPIC journey and I don’t have time for your nonsense!

Cafe Cevraini – 10 Daily Things!

I was just inspired by my good friends over at Momalom to write a list of 10 things that happen daily at Cafe Cevraini!

This is a list of ten things that happen pretty much every day at our house:

  1. A hot latte waiting for me when I step out of the shower – delivered by a hot Italian!
  2. My daughter asking “What’s the high today?” before she chooses her wardrobe – a 15 minute process!
  3. An invasion of aliens, Star Wars guys, Halo dudes or some other creatures – with me often stepping on someone or moving them off the kitchen table!
  4. My beloved making lunches because I absolutely HATE doing it!
  5. Twirping sounds from my Tweetdeck and me checking to see what’s up in the blogosphere
  6. Me stepping on something on the kitchen floor in my bare feet and wondering, “What the h#$* IS that, anyway?”
  7. Snuggles, hugs and kisses abound from every direction – hugs make everything alright, no matter what the day brought!
  8. Arguments about whether so-and-so brushed their teeth or not; including hot breath in the face as “proof” – lovely…..
  9. Me tripping and cursing over a dog or two in the way when I’ve taken my contacts out and trying to find my glasses – which never seem to be in the same place twice!
  10. Tuck in the covers, butterfly kisses, a bedtime book or two, lights out and falling asleep with a least some part of our bodies touching each other, making sure we will be together in dreamland…

What are 10 things that happen at your house every day?