challenges

Service Sucked

Recently I had the worst customer service experience in all my adult years. It was physically, mentally and emotionally draining. It lasted for weeks.

It all started when a company drafted my bank account. This was an approved transaction however somehow they reversed the transaction a few weeks later while I happened to be on vacation. Surely this was a mistake. Although I saw the alert while traveling I said it could wait to be handled upon my return. Surely it was an oversight that could be easily corrected.

Little did I know this clerical error would suck 45 hours of my life from me. Not in the blink of an eye. Over many days. Many excruciatingly painful phone calls. It was awful. My time is so precious to me.

The problem was compounded in many ways. One department needed the help of another’s to get the issue resolved. The employees are all remote so that task has be scheduled for a later date. The call comes from a restricted line that most won’t answer, including me. Then you lose your chance for service and the cycle starts again. It isn’t fun at all.

I learned if you call at 8:05am you get somebody on the line quick but they may not be super smart. As in they answer calls and follow a script. If your question isn’t on the script they are screwed and so are you! In my case my issue was complicated. Their company made an error and resolving it was not simple in their corporate structure. The lack of ability to escalate a call to a supervisor lends the representative to be ill-prepared and you the caller won’t get anywhere. Another vicious cycle. Frustration escalated. 

My story lingered. I’m still mad about it but it did give me a few new toys to look forward to testing out. Of course I shopped on amazon while I was on hold for extended periods of time. That was about the only thing I could do.

If I had a retail job or critical care job, I would not have been able to resolve my issues because I couldn’t spend all that time on the phone. Businesses who provide service need to be able to meet their client needs a-z. It’s not fair for a company to make a mistake and make the burden of correcting the issue on the consumer. End rant #504.

In the end I got an apology for the errors and omissions. That doesn’t do anything for my lost time. However, it shows that sometimes business automation isn’t the best. You need a human in the end to fix a glitch.

Conclusion: yet another example of why corona needs to leave the planet so normalcy in business can resume. If there is even such a thing.

balance

My Control Panel

In a challenge right now with a fitness group, we were tasked with thinking daily about what in our lives we can and cannot control. We had to write it down and repeat it to ourselves each day several times. To some this might seem silly, but especially in this time of flux and frustration, I found it useful. Here are some of the things I wrote down this week.

What I cannot control:

-My other family members’ schedules

-Other people’s priorities

-How other people interpret and respond to my choices

-How other people see me

-Many details about my work day – where I work, how I allocate my time, how many meetings I have to attend

-Traffic

-How fast the postal service delivers packages

-The coronavirus pandemic – its length, severity, and impact on people I care about and the world at large

-How others respond to the pandemic…their movements, opinions, responses, precautions (or lack of)

-Whether or not my daughter will have a lacrosse season

-The weather

-Other people’s level of stress and its’ impact on their actions, attitudes, etc.

The list goes on…and I realize I spend a LOT of time spinning my mental and spiritual wheels on the list above. NOTHING I CAN DO ANYTHING ABOUT. AT. ALL.

Here’s what I can control.

-My actions

-My choices

-Where I put my energy – writing, reading, recreation, learning, exercise, rest

-Where I direct my attention

-My movement

-What I consume – food, media, etc.

-My hydration

-My attitude toward challenges

Really, it’s a small list, but it’s what I need to focus on. You notice that most of what I can’t control involves other people and most of what I can involves me. When I find myself fretting about the world and all its ups and downs, I remember what I can control and then try to DO something related to these lists.

It seems like a goofy task to say these things several times a day, but I learned that my anxiousness lessens when I consciously remind myself what I can do something about. And then DO one of those things. What’s on your lists? Give it a try and see how you fare.

friendship, giving

Listen Up!

I often talk about active listening skills in professional settings. I often challenge many participants (especially males) in those environments to engage in activities that test their ability to actively listen.

It may not be every male who can’t listen but it is definitely a higher number than women by far. I often think about the why of this…

Listening is the greatest gift you can give to another human. Anyone can give quick advice when somebody has a problem but those who are actively listening can hear your emotion, feel your pain and generally connect with you. Listening takes time. Listening requires one to be patient.

When I think of my own life and frustrations, I think of how my spouse doesn’t listen a lot of time. Doesn’t engage or empathize with anyone who has an issue or struggle. This makes me think back to something my mom taught me at a young age. Never pass judgment on somebody until you have walked a day in their shoes.

In order to be supportive or helpful one has to be willing to set their own feelings to the side, get down on your level, listen and really relate to your issues or struggles. This doesn’t even have to occur face to face!

If you are struggling and you text your life partner, one would hope they could read your words and really listen to your hurt. Unfortunately, I have seen first hand that many close to me are grossly incapable of doing this. 

I think this honestly comes down to their inability to get down on your level. Feel the hurt. It’s a lack of genuineness. Ask yourself, who do your reach out to when you need to talk? Is it your mom? Your best friend? Your sibling? Your spouse? Who?

Then ask yourself who will listen to you when you feel troubled? Is it the same person? Maybe it’s more than one person. The point is you are never going to reach out to the person who lectures you, passes judgment on you, or just brushes you off.

In order to be a better listener you need to give of yourself. You need to put the phone down and listen to the person in front of you. Maybe you need to stop playing a video game to read the words of a loved one.

Today more than ever our words are powerful. In today’s digital world words are a big way of communicating. Sending a note of praise. Sending a text of good will. Even sending an emoji with a smile is positive communication. We are all capable but not everyone does it.
Positive communication opens the door for building trust. One day somebody may need you. They may need you to hear or read their words. They may need you when they are struggling.

If you are not capable of using your active listening skills you may never hear or read those words. It’s unfortunate that many I know struggle in this area. This why I am opting to write this post.

If one person can make a change based on this blog, I feel like I have made an impact. Listen up. Turn on your antennas. Today’s world is hectic and crazy. We are all busy. We are all trapped in a digital world. But we are all capable of listening to words spoken or words written or even emailed / texted if we just slow down, pause and think about what another is saying. 

Remember “tell me more” offers the one person with words hope that somebody is there to listen to them. Offering hope is free.

I know I am making it a point to listen more listen to all around me and I encourage you to do the same. It’s a new year. Why not make it a goal to be a better listener?

Listen up!

challenges, fitness and nutrition

Approaching 100

Well I’m chasing 100 days of burpees with a plus-one-each-day goal. This is a chipper of sorts. A big mountain of 5000-plus burpees.

As noted before, I said I would provide an update. Here we are: 

I’ve made it from day 1-30 but I also got 35, 36, 38 and 41 while chipping away. I did burpees for breakfast today and bedtime burpees. That was definitely a first but may not be a last.

When I need to accumulate over 20 burpees a day I have to knock out 5-10 where I can. If I’m early for class I drop a few. If I’m stressed at the computer I drop and do five or so. I have a little hand counter that clicks each movement. This allows me to keep a running total for a day. This approach makes it a lot easier for me to find the time for the extra fitness.
What’s crazy is I’m a super busy person but there is so much time in your day that you can squeeze in a few burpees here and there. I haven’t lost interest yet but I’ll check back in here again soon.

As I enter this note, I have now added hotel burpees to my list of firsts. Many times I have said I’m going to do burpees when I travel but never do. This weekend I was in a brand new hotel and decided to go for it. Nothing else to do while I waited on friends so burpees it was. I am seeing my tolerance for number of burpees go up since I started.

Thanksgiving week called for a lot of burpees. Ha just shy of 400 ringing in 394. Holy wow! I could be mad but instead I’m thankful for burpees this year. My ability to keep moving to help offset all the extra calories I consumed. As an added bonus all these burpees have helped me improve my push endurance and quality of movement. A big bonus for me. I also did vacation burpees which is a big win for me. Gone for a week and each day made my efforts count while others slept. 

The half way mark is in the rear view. Hitting 100 days is the goal in sight. Will I make it? Stay tuned…..

coaching

Coaching Me

When I coach others I inadvertently coach myself. I reflect on time points. I reflect on opportunities that have come and gone. I take a look at organizing and prioritizing. I reflect on my physical and emotional wellness and so much more.

As a professional coach I help others. It’s one of the best feelings in the world to see others succeed with a little encouragement or nudging. One side bonus for me is the self-reflection and personal strides I make in each engagement as I look at myself through the coaching process.

Today was a day of coaching. Helping somebody over a hurdle. Minimizing fear while capitalizing on self worth. Sounds easy but it’s not.

I love when others shine. I’m not such a fan of negativity or low self-worth. I think everyone should see their inner and outer beauty but many don’t.

When I can help one person understand themselves and how to grow with their own grit it makes me smile for days, weeks and sometimes longer depending on the case or hurdles conquered.

As we are in November I am celebrating all month being thankful. Today I am thankful for the ability to coach, inspire and mentor others. It’s one of the most rewarding pieces of my life.