Remember when customer service was actually a service? Those were the days as they say. Now, customer service often feels more like customer aggravation. Lately, I have noticed that many companies have a recording that says due to high customer volume you should call back. They at least use to give you a time range is which your call would be answered. Now, it’s call back. Yesterday, I heard a recording that gave me specific times in which I should call back. Seriously? What kind of service is that?
Here we are yet again transitioning from one season to the next. My summer was great and I hope yours was too. As much as I would like it to continue, I am also looking forward to what’s next. As the Bible says, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…” Summer is for fun, relaxation and celebration. Local traffic decreases and resort area traffic increases. The weather calls us out of doors, we get lots of vitamin D, we feel physical better and emotionally more balanced. And, we are reluctant to let go.
How many times have you wished your dreams could come true? How many times have you heard other people wish their dreams would come true? It’s almost as if we spend a lifetime wishing for something elusive, something “out there” somewhere. Judy Garland sang about it. Walt Disney built an entire industry around it. Books have been written about it, people deliver motivational talks about it. Others interpret them. And, yet, we still mostly believe that dreams are for dreamers.
In my work I have the opportunity to meet and get to know many people from all walks of life and all parts of our country and beyond. Several months ago, I began to notice an uncomfortable theme developing. Many people I met from outside of New England expressed a basic observation that people here are not very kind. They found it difficult to break into new groups and communities, to make new friends. This was especially true if they did not have children in school, or had yet found a church to join.
Spring is my favorite time of year! I love the light, the warmth, and the buds which remind me of rebirth, color, and sweet scents. It’s a time to begin anew, wake up and take action. I know I can hear you saying “Where do you see that? It’s cold; there are no buds, no sweet scents and feet of dirty snow.” I get it, I truly do. It’s been a struggle for me too, and I have allowed it to get to me a bit. Have you noticed a lack of motivation, a sense of winter never ending or a slight malaise? I have and I have finally had enough of the excuses I make for myself.
Welcome to March, a month that brings spring, more daylight, hope and motivation. We certainly need that after the challenges of this historic winter weather. Make no mistake about the impact this has had on all of us, physically and mentally. Not only are we weary of the added work and expense, our bodies are exhausted from the extra effort to keep warm in the extreme cold. Many of our businesses have lost money from cancellations, supplies not arriving, roads being closed and people just not willing to go out in the extreme cold. And, God bless all those who commute into the city using public transportation.
As I stood looking out on my deck this morning, in the middle of a blizzard, I was reminded of the duality we live in every day. I was amazed at the physical transformation that occurred while I slept. The birds were fun to watch. They seemed to be playing in the winds, dancing on the snow and fueling themselves with lots of seed. The swirls of snow caused by the winds were mesmerizing; it was like watching one of those videos where artists create something right before your eyes.
Here we find ourselves at the beginning of another year, what a gift! A year that you have a chance to design, create and enjoy. I am not talking about New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions are promises we make to ourselves that we rarely keep for any length of time. Why? Because the ideas mostly come from statements that start with the words should, could or would. Things that others (read society, family, friends, doctors, consultants), tell us are best for us.
And so it begins, the holiday season! I wonder what that means for each of you. My hope is that you all had a great Thanksgiving and that you found time to reflect and be thankful for all that is positive in your life and work. It’s so easy to get caught up n the preparation, the celebration, the food and the football games, that we sometimes forget the purpose of the day itself. And so it is true from now through the New Year.
What is gratefulness? Some might say it’s a concept or a value, others may say it’s an attitude, or maybe it’s a spiritual or religious practice. Like many words in our language, it has several meanings depending upon context and audience. In the philosophical, psychological, religious and spiritual context it is believed that gratefulness is the key to holistic health. In fact, there are many, including this author who have experienced very positive changes through the practice of gratefulness.