Happiness Culture?

| June 6, 2017 | Reply

OK, I did it. Not sure why. Maybe a mid-life crisis move. I bought a Jeep Wrangler.

On my way off the lot, my friend (and salesman) Ray said, “You’re going to have a lot of people waving at you.” I told him that I already do. Then he explained the “Jeep Wave.”

“That’s stupid,” I thought to myself as I drove away. “I’m not going to participate.”

In the three years I owned an Acura RLX I only ever saw ONE other one on the road. I’m not a car enthusiast. I’m not one of those people who can identify every car on the road and recognize the make, model, and year. It’s just never been important to me.

But oh boy I’m noticing the Jeeps. In fact, every time I drive I see no fewer than five or six. They’re everywhere! And they wave!

I’m a waver by nature. Generally I’m smiling and waving to police officers, joggers, dog walkers, bikers you name it. So, finally I gave in and started waving at the other Jeeps. Suddenly, I feel a responsibility to watch for them so I can get a wave in. When I’m preoccupied and I get a wave I’m not ready for, I feel guilty having not returned the gesture. I almost want to turn around, chase them down, and apologize for messing up.

Geeze, they even have an official creed:

The Jeep Wave: An honor bestowed upon those drivers with the superior intelligence, taste, class, and discomfort tolerance to own the ultimate vehicle – the Jeep.

It’s a huge responsibility to drive a Jeep. Suddenly, even a simple joy ride has become a mission to spread good will, appreciation, and gratitude. Looking for things to be grateful for . . .

What a concept.

The Social Experiment

| May 22, 2017 | Reply

I drive my eleven-year-old daughter to school every morning, and she always wants to stop at Dunkin Donuts. Being a father who spoils his kids (I know, bad idea, but I’m weak) I cracked one day. Then I came up with an idea to create a learning experience and conduct what I call, “The Social Experiment.”

With my coaching, Cassidy goes into Dunkin Donuts with a big smile. She says “good morning” to the people behind the counter and, with excellent manners (eye contact, please, and thank you), orders one donut with strawberry frosting and sprinkles and hash browns (I know, bad idea, but I’m weak). It always comes to $1.86, she always hands over two dollars and puts the 14 cents into the tip jar, smiles, and says “thank you” and “have a great day!”

I went in with her every day for the first week. Then I started having her go in alone as I waited in the car.

The rules are always the same; smile, be friendly, and be polite. My daughter is still a little shy and didn’t like my advice when I told her to ask the people their names. “Just say, what’s your name?” I told her. She was mortified at the thought and could not get past that comfort zone.

Fast forward, three weeks:

This morning I went into the Dunkin Donuts with my daughter. It was wonderful seeing the room brighten up as she entered. The staff immediately put on smiles, and went to work bagging her order (without her having to even place it) before she was halfway in. “Good morning Cassidy!” came from a woman behind the counter. “Good morning, Chris!” answered my girl. Suddenly, a few more faces popped up smiling, “Good morning Cassidy!” In turn, she answered, “Good morning Muhammad, good morning Jake.” Turns out, Chris owns the place.

“Your daughter is so cute,” Chris says to me. “We all look forward to seeing her every day.”

“Thank you, I think she’s pretty terrific too,” I replied.

My hope (and expectation) is that Cassidy will translate this lesson – this aura – into everything that she encounters, every business that she enters, every teacher she interacts with, every friendship that she builds. I like my odds.

Imagine what your personal and professional life would look like if people looked forward to seeing you every day. There’s a distinct and overwhelming advantage in life when you can light up a room every time you enter. And yes, its a talent that can be learned.

It ALWAYS starts with you.

Mind Your Manners!

| May 8, 2017 | Reply

Recently I was invited to lunch by a wealthy attorney and his wife who ran a large fundraising organization. They were anxious to meet me and wanted information on a project I was working on.

We went to lunch at an upscale restaurant in an affluent area. They were ten minutes late and pulled up in a limousine. Everybody seemed to know them – including the hostess – and immediately following our introduction we were led to “their table.”

I have a penchant for relating to people, and was far more interested in hearing their story than telling them my own. Instantly I was informed that they were very successful and very used to getting what they wanted. I did a lot of listening, which I prefer, and a lot of observing as well. I observed their indifference toward our server. I observed their absence of words like “please” and “thank you” and, consequently their oblivion as I overcompensated to be extra-polite out of pure discomfort.

The lunch itself was wonderful, although they complained about theirs, and when we finished they had an idea of how we could do some business together. They reminded me again how they are people who always get what they want.

When I got home I send them each a text message thanking them again for the lunch. I also wrote them out a thank you card and got it in the mail right away. Neither act was acknowledged, but I did get a phone call asking me what the next step was. I politely informed him that I didn’t think we were a fit to do any business together.

In other words, he didn’t always get what he wanted.

How you treat other people is a huge reflection of what kind of person you are. I didn’t necessarily dislike these people and won’t judge these people for their behavior that afternoon. But I won’t let them into my circle either.

An Appreciation Marketing ® champion minds his manners and treats everybody as a human being. Trust me, people are paying attention. Be the person you wish to attract.