Aliveatwork's Blog

Taken To The Cleaners …

Have you ever taken your clothes to the dry cleaners …

Only to find that and they come back in worse condition than when you dropped them off?

I started taking my dry cleaning to Delia’s Cleaners here in Phoenix, as the one I was using was getting pretty pricey.

The article in question was (yes, wuzzzzzz) one of my favorite Tommy Bahama shirts.

Since it was a short sleeve shirt, it had been sitting in my closet for awhile. I wanted to wear it the other day but when I was removing the plastic and paper from the dry cleaner I found a number of giant white marks where the heat had damaged the silk.

I brought it back to the store and explained that this is the second time I’ve had to return shirts. 2 months ago they shrunk 2 long sleeve Tommy Bahama shirts.

A few days later I received a letter explaining that my shirt had been “restored to it’s original condition” along with with a $5 dollar gift card … very nice!

I go to pick up my shirt and find that it still has melt marks. I explained that it was unacceptable and they needed to replace it or make it right.

A few days later I get a phone call from Anthony … “Sir I apologize and I think your going to like what we did,” “Really, are the marks gone?”  “No, but there hard to see!”

“If it’s not right, why don’t you replace the shirt?” “Well you brought it in last October.” “Oh, so that means you can burn it?” (I didn’t know their was a statute of limitations on bad service) “Well sir, we’re not sure what you may have done with it in the meantime.”

He goes onto explain that they never get complaints from “other” customers who bring in their  Tommy Bahama shirts.” “That’s interesting, you had to restore 2 others that you recently shrunk!”

I went to pick up my “restored to its original condition” shirt … the burn marks are still there.

3 Lessons if You’re a Service Provider:

  1. If you provide a service to your customers stand behind your product … not behind a policy that causes you to lose a customer.
  2. Customers who are having a problem with your service don’t want to hear about your other customers who aren’t … they simply want their issue resolved.
  3. Make sure you understand the math of the issue: Don’t try to resolve a $128.00 problem with a $5.00 solution.
3 Lessons if You’re a Buyer:
  1. You always get what you pay for!
  2. Stick with what works … I tried saving a few bucks by switching dry cleaners and it ended up costing me a lot more money than I saved.
  3. When you get great service … tell everyone … when you get lousy service  … do the same thing!

By the way … if anyone is interested in purchasing a men’s, slightly used, partially melted, black, silk Tommy Bahama shirt … I know a guy!

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow!

Think back about where you were exactly one year ago today on today’s date? What were you doing? Where were you?

Now think ahead … where will you be exactly one year from now on this same day? What will you be doing? Where will you be?

Okay now think back about where you were exactly one week ago today? And where will you be exactly one week from today?

Let’s bring it in a little bit closer, where were you one hour ago? Where will you be one hour from now?

And finally … where were you one second ago? And where will you be one second from now?

Interesting exercise considering that as you sat contemplating between the past and the future the present moment was passing you by!

In fact as you read these exact words the future is passing thru the present and is now a part of your past.

Many of us spend our time living in the past or trying to control the future …

And while it’s important to have goals to shoot for … it’s equally important to make sure that you don’t miss out on the present moment. After all it is the only moment that you really have.

3 Thoughts on THIS Moment:

  1. In THIS moment … you can apply what you’ve learned from the past to make better choices for the NOW.
  2. In THIS moment … you are taking actions that will bring you closer to the future that you desire.
  3. In THIS moment … you are forming the foundation of your future with every passing second, of every hour, of every day, that you are here on this earth … right NOW you are sculpting your future … don’t waste any clay!

As Morgan Freeman said in the movie, The Shawshank Redemption … “Either get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’!”

So what are you waiting for?

20 Truths About Fear …

20 Truths About Fear:

  1. Fear can paralyze.
  2. Fear can kill (yes, literally watch the news).
  3. Fear can be disguised as anger, rage, resentment, lack of forgiveness, and greed.
  4. It can be your friend … most of the time it’s not.
  5. Fear can cause you to play small.
  6. It can be a defense mechanism for avoidance.
  7. Fear can keep you from having what you want.
  8. It can create situations that you don’t want
  9. Fear will control your life … if you let it.
  10. 95% of the things that we fear WILL happen … DON’T!
  11. Fear can rob you of your joy and happiness.
  12. Fear can keep you from having the love that you want!
  13. It can keep you in a loveless relationship that you don’t want.
  14. Fear can motivate in the short-term but demoralizes in the long run.
  15. More people fear speaking in public than dying.
  16. Fear is the absence of love.
  17. Fear is associated with loss.
  18. You can choose something other than fear in most situations.
  19. You can choose from a place of love instead.
  20. Fear wounds … love heals.

Today you will have numerous opportunities to choose from a place of love or fear.

From which place will you choose today?

Oops … I Did It … Again!

Saturday I had a chance to watch my girlfriend’s 12 year old daughter Ally play club volley ball.

They won their first match pretty quickly and then moved onto the next.

It was during this second match that I watched the negative affects that poor leadership has on a team.

During the second game, the other team started making mistakes. That’s when their coach started yelling and screaming.

It was just a matter of time before they came undone and lost. Obviously the coach’s screaming had a negative effect on them. Gheez  they’re only 12 years old what did he think was going to happen?

After the game we walked out into the lobby and that’s when things got ugly.

Sitting in the center of the floor between the exits and the bathrooms for everyone to see was this same coach grandstanding in public. There he was towering over his team as they sat on the floor in front of him like indentured servants. Obviously he needed them sitting because he himself was only about 5′ 5″ tall and getting shorter by the minute.

He stood there yelling, berating, and shaming them in public for everyone to see … “and if you want me to give you names I will.” (I’m sure that will help)

People were walking by and staring, the parents stood there and didn’t say a word. One of the girls on the floor looked up at me and I smiled at her …  Okay I’ve seen enough … is anyone gonna take a stand for these kids?”

Hey wait a minute! I speak and coach on Leadership, maybe I should share a few thoughts on the topic to help him out.


He finally stopped …  and then I stepped in.

I thought this would be a good time to share a few quick lessons on Leadership …

Lesson #1 – Be Polite But Speak The Truth – I asked him if he was finished and then I shared with him my truth … I told him he was a jackass, actually I called him something else that started with an A ended with an E and had 2 S’s, an H, an O, and an L in between … sometime it’s best to speak your truth right up front!

Lesson #2 – State The Facts – I explained to him exactly what kind’ve of a coach/leader I thought he was … I made sure that he knew that berating and humiliating 12 and 13 year old girls wasn’t a good example of great leadership.

Lesson #3 – Provide Solutions – I explained to him that the next time he wanted to humiliate someone  he should probably find a less public space … I recommended the men’s room   as a good alternative … BY HIMSELF!

Lesson # 4 – Clarify & Repeat – Sometimes it’s best to repeat yourself … repetition is a good way for people to learn and a good way to clarify your message. I restated what I thought about him as a leader … yes I repeated the long A word just so there wasn’t any confusion or miscommunication.

And that got me thinking about what authentic leaders do ……

Authentic Leaders: 

  1. Build people up – they don’t tear people down … especially when they’re already down (the girls already felt bad they knew they didn’t play to their potential)
  2. Care for people – they don’t use them to make themselves look bigger (taller) … especially in public!
  3. Are other-centered –  they realize that it’s about their people and not about them (the coach thought it was all about him … if he didn’t he wouldn’t have done what he did or  where he did it).

It doesn’t matter if you’re 12, 17, or 70 … never ever let someone humiliate, shame, or berate you.

You don’t deserve it and you don’t have to tolerate it … you deserve more just because you are who you are.

And who you are doesn’t change because you win or lose a game … you’re still extraordinary!

And last … the next time you see someone bullying someone else … please don’t just stand there … DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

Speaking of Wisdom … Honestly!
April 12, 2012, 5:48 am
Filed under: Aliveness

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”

Thomas Jefferson

The topic for this week is wisdom.

As you know wisdom is defined as – “the state of being wise.”

Following the definition path for wise you find – “having the power of discerning and judging properly as to what is true or right.”

And that’s where it seems to get a little bit tricky for me.

So who discerns what is true or right?

Does that mean that the individual decides what is right or true?

I know a number of people who justify certain behaviors which I find to be pretty far from the “truth” or what I believe to be “right.”

And haven’t we all at one time or another in our lives justified certain behaviors in our past … that today when we look back, we know that is wasn’t the right thing to do?

I think Thomas Jefferson had it right when he said “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”

So that got me thinking …

I started thinking about a few areas in my life that I need to examine on a daily basis … that is if I wanted to journey further down the path towards becoming a wise old soul.

Below is a list of 3 questions that I am going to ask myself  at the end of each day for the next week:

  1. Did I tell the microscopic truth in all of my interactions with others today – Microscopic truth means I don’t intentionally leave out details or important parts of the conversation to protect my image or reputation.
  2. Did I speak the facts today when speaking about others – Sometimes I find that I am listening to and or speaking opinions about others that I do not know for a fact to be true, maybe you do the same thing?
  3. Was I completely honest with myself and others when it comes to how and with who I spent my time today? Have you ever found yourself agreeing to do something with someone even though you really didn’t want to be there … I have … and I guess that can be considered a form of not being honest with yourself  or the other person.

In a perfect world we would be completely honest with ourselves and others in every detail and of our lives.

Not that we would intentionally lie or shade the truth (although some folks have difficulty telling the truth at times).

I just think that sometimes we unconsciously say things in the moment that aren’t 100% right or true, especially when speaking of others.

I’m not looking for perfection. I am simply looking to see if I can increase my level of wisdom and I think these 3 questions are a good start.

So what about you?

I challenge you … no …  better yet …  I double-dog dare you to take the Honesty-Wisdom Challenge.

All you need to do is commit to answering one, two, or all 3 question,s everyday for the next week and see what changes in your life.

Who knows you may end up being as wise as Solomon and as Honest as Abe Lincoln in 7 short days!

Isn’t that Special …?

I just booked a reservation at a Hilton Garden Inn.

After booking my reservation and for being a loyal Hilton Honors member, I was informed that I was entitled to a “special” promotion.

A “special” promotion for “special” people … just like me!

I get transferred to the department for “special” people where I am asked 3 quick marketing questions:

  1. Where did I book my hotel reservation?
  2. Am I single or married?
  3. What is my income?  – “I will not answer that question”  – thinking that’s really none of their business!

Without a nanosecond of hesitation the sales person for “special” people goes right into his script …

“Sir thank you very much and have a nice day,” and hung up!

“Wait a minute, wait a minute … you can’t hang up on me … I’M SPECIAL … you told me so your self … don’t you remember???”

So that got me thinking:

  1. If you tell your customers they are special, treat them that way … otherwise they won’t be your customer for long!
  2. If a complete stranger tells you you’re special – RUN – they are peddling something and you’re just a number (this is not an epiphany – just a reminder)!
  3. It used to be that if you upset a customer they would tell 5 people. Nowadays when you treat your customer poorly they tell 3000.

And isn’t that special …

Forgiveness … Who is it good for?

I normally wouldn’t blog on the same topic twice in a row.

However, the topic of forgiveness is a prickly one and I received various comments from others on my most recent post, so I felt compelled to write about it … one more time.

It seems that for some folks, there are situations in life that they believe are unforgivable.

Regardless of whether you agree or not, I think it begs the question:

Who is forgiveness truly for … the victim or the offender?

When we hold onto wrongs done to us, it damages us … not the offender.

Each and every one of us needs to make our own decisions about how we choose to live our lives.

And we are free to choose whatever meaning we apply to the events (both good and bad) that unfold in our lives.

A friend of mine once said that holding onto resentment is like taking a poisonous pill and waiting for the other person to die …

Resentment can kill you from the inside out.

Maybe someone out there feels justified in holding onto a past event or circumstance. That’s okay… obviously they are where they need to be … I am not judging anyone.

In some way, by holding on, it is filling a need.

For myself … I want to be free from all of the old beliefs, past events, and any poor decisions that I or anyone else made that impacted me in a negative way.

I may feel that those events may have taken something from me at that moment in time … way back when.

I’m just not sure that I am willing to let anyone or anything steal away one more second of my precious time here on earth.

On the other hand, that past event may have helped me to decide who I am today … I’m just not willing to allow it to define who I am today.

It was an event … it isn’t who I am.

Yes, forgiveness can be a prickly topic and at some point it’s best to put it down and let it go.

So as Forrest Gump would say, “And that’s all I have to say about thaaaaaat!”