Do you include others?

Regardless of your religion (or the choice to have no religion), it is important to be inclusive in your daily life. You can increase the light and goodness in the world by widening the various “safe” circles in your day. I always try to include others any chance I get. Have you ever been on the other end of this scenario? Have you ever been the new student at school? Have you ever walked past a group of students who are laughing and joining together in a non-inclusive manner? It feels lonely.

Are you a student? When you walk the halls of your middle school or you eat lunch in your high school cafeteria, there are many opportunities to spread goodness. Be brave! Speak to someone who looks lonely or who looks like they might be struggling. Did a student drop their books? Be brave! Help them pick up the books. Share your smile with them. Is a new student looking lost in the cafeteria? Is someone sitting alone at the lunch table? Be brave! Say, “Hi, I’m ______! What’s your name?”

Find a way to connect with people who might not be part of the popular group. If you start practicing this inclusion each and every day, you will become more comfortable doing so. There are so many hurting and lonely people in the world. All kinds of clubs and groups are established for the purpose of grouping us together with people who are the same as us: country clubs, sororities, political groups, unofficial groups of cliches who don’t welcome others. The list goes on and on. Personally, I am uncomfortable associating in these types of groups. I always want to include others who might not have the money to join the country club or purchase the “right” clothing.

As human beings, we must support one another in brave ways. I live in a part of the United States we call The Bible Belt. I don’t typically see Christians behaving in ways of inclusiveness. This hurts me deeply. It’s as if we, as Christians, want to build walls to “keep out the bad people,” or “protect our clean selves from those who are dirty.” You might not be a Christian, but you may know something about Christ. Christ hung out with “unclean” people. The message of the gospel is “the good news.” The good news is that God loves us and accepts us and wants us to treat each other with respect and kindness. When Christ walked this earth, he welcomed people of all class status. That’s the whole point! Are you Buddhist? Muslim? Jewish? Agnostic? It makes no difference what belief system you hold — be brave! Include others you encounter throughout your day. Be on the lookout for opportunities to give away your smile or your assistance and kindness.

Customer Service

Do you wish you could obtain great customer service all the time? Before you answer that question, think about it carefully. What are you willing to do to obtain great customer service? What is it worth to you? A lot? Not much? Are you saying, “Wait a minute. Why should I have to do anything to receive great customer service?” If you are asking this question, you may need to step back and examine your own behavior and your own outlook. Ask yourself why you aren’t willing to do anything to get what you want. It may be that the reason you aren’t willing to do anything to get what you want is because your view of the situation is this:  you view the customer service experience as someone else’s deal. It’s the other person’s job to provide me with great customer service! The end.

Have you ever stopped to think about how this sounds? It sounds a little like this to me:  “I, the almighty customer, deserve to have WHAT I want WHEN I want it and HOW I want it. Serve me!”

If, after examining your thought process, you discover that the above statement falls in line with your belief system, chances are you will not have very many good experiences with customer service. You will continue to go through your life upset and angry because “that waiter was slow,” or “that customer service rep was horrible on the phone,” or “that shoe sales woman was rude and inept.”

One reason you will continue to have bad experiences is because of the junk you are projecting. C’mon. You have to admit that the “serve me…I deserve it” way of thinking is far from humble. Kindness and humility when authentic, draws people to you. We all know people who are negative and brash, and some people, including myself, ignore these people and do what I can to not have to be in their presence.  I would rather not have to be around a negative and whiny person. I would much rather surround myself with people who are chill and are able to “go with the flow.” Negative energy puts negative energy into the atmosphere creating more negativity.

Think about this. Have you ever bothered to ask your server at a restaurant how their day has been? Have you ever bothered to notice how busy the restaurant is and say something like, “Wow! Looks like you’ve got your hands full this evening. Are people treating you okay tonight?” If you have never done this, I highly recommend it.

I work as a trainer/help desk technician for a law firm. Things always go more smoothly when the person who calls me for help doesn’t treat me with disrespect when they call me for help. I will say, most of the people who call me are kind and patient. However, there are times when I see a person’s name come up on my phone and I think, “Ugh. It’s Debbie Downer,” or “Damn. It’s Negative Nancy.” Although I do answer the call because it’s my job, it starts the whole transaction off on a negative path. On the other hand, if I see the name of one of the many pleasant people I’ve helped in the past, I don’t dread their calls.

I work with lots of smart people. But sometimes they don’t behave in smart ways. For example, if I’ve ordered food at a restaurant, and I’ve requested “no mayonnaise” on my club sandwich, and the waiter arrives with a club sandwich with mayonnaise, I have some choices to make. If I’m Negative Nancy, I will probably bitch and complain to the idiot waiter because, God forbid, a mistake was made. How dare they put mayonnaise on my sandwich! Don’t they know who I am? Behaving this way is a complete waste of my energy. There is no good reason to act in this manner. And if your waiter is having a bad day and is also a Negative Nancy, he or she might just want to cough on your sandwich because you are unkind. Again, being rude is just not smart. Are you smart? Do whatever you can to NOT be rude.

As weird as you may think this sounds, I believe there is much truth to it. Hang with me here. It is rare that I have poor customer service. My orders are usually correct. Are you amazed? I hear from people occasionally who claim they always have slow service or they don’t have good luck at restaurants. Have you ever heard of “the law of attraction?” In a nutshell, the law of attraction is the Universe doing its best to give you what it thinks you want. For Negative Nancy, the Universe thinks she wants to be able to bitch and complain about poor service and being mistreated. Therefore, it gives her what it thinks she wants: poor service. This way Negative Nancy can maintain her identity of negativity and she doesn’t have to get out of her comfort zone and do any changing. Think about it. At times, it’s easy and sort of “team building” to be negative about something. I didn’t say it was GOOD team building, but it is an activity that can draw people together against a perceived enemy.

Next time you have to call your IT Help Desk, try this. And it must be genuine. It can’t be fake. Say, “Hi _____________ (whatever the technician’s name is), it’s ____________ (whatever your name is). How’s it going today? You guys slammed?”

Once the technicians answers the question, go ahead with the reason for your call. You might say, “I am having trouble with my document, and I was hoping you might be able to help me,” (or whatever your technical issue happens to be.)

We don’t all see things eye to eye political, religiously, or in many other areas. But we are all part of the same race: the human race. And we are all fighting some type of battle. You will be amazed at what a short pause and an authentic demonstration of care towards another person will do for a situation.

I’d love to hear some of your comments on this post. Cheers.

Paper Girl

I just received the most amazing complement on my recently-released novel, “Paper Girl.” A teacher from Tennessee tells me that the story has changed the way she looks at her students! First, let me say I am both flattered and honored by this statement. I wrote the story from a place of love and empathy for teenagers.  Secondly, I want to say how grateful I am to teachers. These human angels pour their hearts and minds into teaching and encouraging the young people of the world to reach for their dreams. I am grateful for these wonderful people who do so much for the young, thereby investing in the world’s future.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Treat others with kindness. Everyone you meet is fighting some type of battle.” The protagonist in my novel, “Paper Girl” is 15, and she fights against clinical depression and perfection every day of her life. She also has other tough battles to fight at school and at home.

The power of kindness is stronger than darkness. You just never know how far a little kindness in the form of inclusiveness can go. See someone at school sitting by himself? Why not say, “Hi,” or invite him to join you for lunch. Like his shirt? Tell him!

Kindness goes a very long way in boosting an otherwise-lonely person’s day. You don’t have to solve all of the person’s problems, but you can at least be kind and realize that they are probably fighting some type of battle. These battles could be big or small, but they are still battles. Things like: feeling misunderstood; loneliness; perhaps being bullied by another student or even a sibling; stresses at home with parents’ divorce or financial problems; concerns over a grandparent’s health; sadness over the loss of a family pet. There are any number of battles we fight on a daily basis. Be purposeful and notice a person who needs kindness today.