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Dear Life: A memoir to myself

Dear Life: A memoir to myself

As is standard with our relationship every situation that happens changes me and makes me think. It makes me see a 100 different possibilities and analyse how it affects me. I reflect on it and try and see where I have faulty programming so I can fix it. This last few months was no exception. Reflecting on why I am making the choices that I am and what will this one day be, I sit and wonder then stop myself. Is it serving me to try and figure out the future? Second thought comes into my mind – why am I constantly trying to figure this out? Even sitting writing this my mind goes in circles about numerous things especially what society will deem as acceptable and then again I have to tell myself – Stop! This is not about society, this is about me.

What do I see?

I saw something magical. I see a future possibility of what the world could look like. I see a future possibility of who I can become and I see a paradigm that exists between you and me. I have learnt more about myself in the last 12 months than the rest of my life combined. I knew about everything that I learnt but never had a powerful enough experience to really feel it.

“There is a difference between knowing and believing” It is only once you experience it that you can truly believe it.

Why do I put myself in situations that can break me? Why don’t I just accept life as it is and live a “normal” life? I knew from the start that this will be a tough journey if I chose the path less traveled and I had a choice which road I want to take. Even as I am writing this I still have a choice to go back to the crossroad and choose the path of the masses. There is no right or wrong but every choice has consequences and can you live with them? My answer was yes. I have a choice to the open road that is less traveled and not shielded making it open to the  damage of the storm but at the same time completely open to feel the warmth of the sunrise. Why do I choose this dangerous path with no protection, no directions and no idea where it leads? The answer:

What if?

“What if” is the 2 words that dreams are made of. It is the two words that move us forward as humanity and as a person. It explores future possibilities that is incomprehensible to the normal human mind. It makes us believe in a better future that doesn’t yet exist. It makes us challenge our current set of bullshit rules. I love sharing my life and experiences with those close to me and yes, I can explore this “what if” by myself but that just seems meh.

So why did I choose to have this experience? Because I believe! I believe in “what if”. Believe in being a dreamer, a warrior that will draw his sword in the face of adversity and face it head on not in the absence of fear but in spite of fear. I want to be a warrior that would stand by the side with those that believe in “what if” with our swords drawn. I want to believe that we have as much compassion as we have strength and as much love as we have power. I believe in powerful people that could command obedience with the lift of their hand but would rather choose love. I believe that we have power beyond measure if we choose to accept it.

Could I have experienced such an extreme version of “what if” by living in my comfort zone and living the life that society deems as acceptable? I doubt it! I believe that exceptional people challenge themselves beyond the status quo, they do the things that no one else wants to do or can do and yes, it is to better themselves but deep down I think they just like the challenge. I am an exceptional person that will change things and I love challenging old believes and what the general population thinks is impossible. (Even saying this I can feel alarm bells going off from my past conditioning). How you do one thing is how you do everything and by taking the road less traveled I force myself to grow not just in that one area of my life. We are all afraid and people who don’t want to face their fear take the way of not pushing themselves further and challenging themselves beyond what they see as possible right now. I chose to act in spite of fear not because it will be easy but because I know that this would be one of the most daring experiences of my life! I am the author of my own life and this is how I chose to write this chapter of my life. Does it scare the shit out of me? Of course it does!

But can you just imagine if all our “what if’s” came true! What else would be possible? “what if” you knew you had no possibility of failure, how big a game would you play then? I try to believe (but it’s crazy difficult) that there is no chance of failure and the “how” will just be semantics. To a large extent I have done this in the past and I have moved forward in leaps and bounds because of it both measurable in activities and successes but also emotionally. What I have learnt from it will continue to help me the rest of my life. One of the biggest aha moments is if you can find an experience to challenge your “what if” framework it overflows to other areas of your life and short circuits your neural connections for learning and moving yourself forward.

It is my (and your) duty to become the person that I have always believed I can be. We all are that person now and the time has come to pull the curtain back and show the rest of the world!

Yours Truly

A believer in “What if”

 

Customer Experience

The need for good service in your business

The business environment in SA has become extremely competitive especially in the service based industry. The standard of service expected by consumers is increasing continuously and the need for businesses to comply with these expectations has moved from being a “nice to have” to a necessity.

I am surprised that so many businesses still operate with the assumption if their product is good or they have some sort of a monopoly then the service can take a back seat. I have experienced this a few times in the past few months for example my purchase of Entrepreneur Magazine subscription. After being an avid reader of the magazine I eventually decided to purchase a 12 month subscription as you get an additional gift. I am extremely disappointed that I made that decision. At the time of this, I have now been waiting for 3 months after I have made the transaction and I still don’t have my first magazine. I can go on about this and similar stories but the point is we should all be making a bigger effort to provide our customers with better, faster and friendlier service.

What does it mean to provide better service?

With all the technology at our disposal there should be no reason why a customer should wait a considerable amount of time to get what they require or wait 24hrs for someone to get back to them. They should have multiple ways to get in touch with you. Your whole team should be as fanatical about giving exceptional service as you are and this comes down to hiring the right people and having proper structures in place. Your team should know what it means to give amazing service from a step by step written and documented policy.

Does your company currently have such a document in place?

If not you must decide what is important for your market and your customer and then document these procedures. This is the responsibility of the leaders in the business as simply saying they should know is not good enough. Just as it is the leader’s responsibility to define and document these procedures, it is also the leader’s responsibility to set and uphold the values and culture of the business which are the core drivers of customer service. For an example of our values click here

Learn from Zappos.com

In my opinion one of the best companies in the world when it comes to values and culture is a company called Zappos based in Las Vegas, USA. They have been instrumental in helping us discover our values. Because of their clearly defined culture and values they have also become one of the leaders in customer service world wide. The CEO, Tony Hsieh and his team has build Zappos to a $1billion company is less than 10 years by delivering “wow” service to the clients. If you have some free time read his book called Delivering Happiness which is available from Amazon here.

Conclusion

For your business to thrive in years to come you have to make a conscience effort to continuously improve the experience your customers receive when dealing with you and your team members. It won’t change overnight but making small incremental changes weekly you will over time have a substantial competitive advantage compared to your competitors who didn’t. Technology should be used as it is freely available and at such low costs to assist and automate mundane tasks but still remember, nothing can replace the human element when it comes to creating an awesome customer experience

Thank you for reading and hopefully I have inspired you to add a bit more effort when it comes to delivering amazing customer experiences.

What does happiness mean to you?

What does it mean to be happy?

We throw around this term quite often without really thinking what it means to us. When I ask people in general “What do you want from your life, what is your goal, what is your purpose?” I get the same response: “I just want to be Happy” Just? That’s quite a tall task and we shouldn’t belittle it to just. The biggest blockage to achieving a life filled with happiness in my opinion is:

  1. We place it outside our own control Eg:
    1. If only I had this or if only he/she did this.
  2. We don’t know what would really make us happy.
  3. We are conditioned to make other people happy before we make ourselves happy
  4. We suppress the urges and actions that would make us happy out of fear of what other people might think or what society deems as expectable.
  5. We live in the future and past

My two cents about this

  1. Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear are that we are powerful beyond measures. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. “ Marianne Williamson” . We fear what will happen when we take responsibility for our own happiness and live to our fullest potential, because we fear it we look for reasons to blame our lack of happiness outside of ourselves such as our romantic partners, the country we live in, the government, our work, our bosses and so on. By placing it outside of ourselves we give ourselves the excuse we need to say it’s ok. Most people perceive this laziness or negativity when it’s actually fear. Remember that courage is not to the lack of fear but the ability to move forward in spite of fear.
  2. What would really make you happy? When I ask people this is the answer is usually freedom. Freedom from what? ( See my post on the meaning of freedom). Most people want to travel because that’s what they see on the movies. I have traveled extensively and I can guarantee you this alone won’t make you happy, see the exercises at the end to discover what will make you happy.
  3. We are so conditioned from a young age to consider other people’s feelings before our own. What examples can you think of that you were taught in school and by your own parents? Example: “Go play with that kid.” “No he makes me unhappy and treats me bad.” “I don’t care just go.” We are taught to put the happiness of others before our own. I’m not saying you will always only have things to do that make you happy or to be inconsiderate, I’m saying be conscious not to act how everyone expects you to act because that’s how you think you need to act to make them happy. Someone said “I am not who I think I am, I am not who you think I am, I am who I think you think I am what?”      Most people don’t even know what they think themselves, do you really they care about you?
  4. Take 5 minutes and think about this: When did you want to do something but didn’t because you were unsure what other people will think? How often do we stay in situations that makes us unhappy because that’s what we think is expected of us? Why do we do that? I struggle with this myself. Ultimately we want to be liked and do what we think will make other people like us. This problem is how do we know what goes on in someone else’s mind. People will always judge us regardless s do what will make you happy.
  5. I will write a blog on this later as this is a deep subject. Sadness comes from living in the past and anxiety comes from living in the future so to have peace we must train our mind to live in the present moment and take all we can from what’s happening now. This is extremely difficult to be in the moment means to let go of what we think this moment (a first date for example) can be and enjoy it for what it is. Find joy in the small things in life such as feeling the warmth of the on your face or holding your partner’s hand and look them in the eyes when they talk to you. Put your phone in your pocket.

Actions / Exercises

  1. Remind yourself that you and you alone have the power to make you happy.
  2. Imagine that for some reason you only had 3 months left to live. What are 5 things you would do:
    1. In your professional life.
    2. With your family.
    3. With your friends.
    4. By yourself
  3. What type of people do you want in your life? Who do you currently have in your life and how do they affect your happiness- good and bad.
  4. On an airplane they say put the mask on yourself before you help someone else. What are 2 examples that you recently put the oxygen mask on someone else and in turn it made you struggle for oxygen
  5. What are 3 occasions when you wanted to do something but didn’t because you were scared of what people might think? This can range from something as small as going to the Opera or as big as taking a year off to travel the world regardless of your circumstances.
  6. The next time your partner comes home from work take their hand, sit crossed legged on the couch facing each other and spend 30 minutes being completely present with each other’s company. If you don’t have a partner do it with a friend or colleague or even a stranger. Be present and watch their face light up.

Take your action list and be completely honest with yourself as to why you aren’t doing this today.

If you took the time to do this and found it was helpful please help others to I do the same. Imagine a world where everyone lived according to their own truths and values. A world where people were happy and smiled at each other when they passed on the street and where we help strangers because we are living life to its fullest and want to let our light shine.

Please share this with me by email at Eugene@mycoach.co.za and let’s have a conversation.

Happiness is not an event or an object but a choice every morning you wake up.