There’s No Such Thing as a Bad One

I’m a bad leader. I’m a bad speaker. I’m a bad communicator. I’m bad at resolving conflict. I have a bad memory. I hear these kinds of statements all the time in my line of work.

They’ve got it all wrong. There’s no such thing as a bad leader or a bad speaker or a bad communicator… only an untrained one.

These are simply stories we tell ourselves, and sometimes they are excuses to not have to do the work required to get better and learn the skill once and for all. If someone is willing to put in the work, sacrifice the time, invest the money, and make some mistakes in order to grow… they can learn these skills. We must simply be willing to step out of one thing and firmly into another.

We must step out of the personal identities that we become weirdly attached to in defining who we are and what we can do. Think about something in which you would describe yourself in a negative way. I’ve always been bad at math. I’m not a good driver. I’ve never been able to remember names. Whatever it is, it only makes sense that it won’t stand a chance of actual improvement unless you’d be willing to never describe yourself that way ever again. Sounds like a no-brainer, but I’ve met many people (including myself) who have worn a label for so long and proclaimed it so many times to the world that they almost don’t know who they are without it. When we take on a new way of viewing and describing ourselves, we begin to naturally seek out the resources to make the necessary changes. But we’ll be less inclined to let go of who we say we are if there is nothing to fill the void when we do.

Once we’re willing to redefine ourselves, the resources are abundant. Coaches, seminars, books, programs, information, successful colleagues, and guides abound to help light the often simple steps necessary to master almost any new skill. If you want to speak more comfortably and effectively, you can. If you want to be a better leader, you can be. If you want to embrace conflict as the gift it is and be known as someone who fosters cooperation, collaboration, and compromise, you can learn to do it. But you must first stop with the story. Stop saying you’re not good at it. Just get to the work of learning and growing the skills you need to be better. Exchange the pleasure of the attention you received from the negative picture you paint for everyone with the pleasure of actually enjoying the benefits of improvement and eventual mastery if that is what you seek.

There’s no such thing as a bad anything, just a person who is secretly enjoying the attention of not being good at it or one who is yet untrained. That’s it.

There are only two options: Make progress or make excuses. It’s really that simple.


“Every excuse I ever heard made perfect sense to the person who made it.”
~~Dr. Daniel T. Drubin

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Music Monday: The Song Within the Silence

Sometimes, when I take a walk with my dog, Sierra, I can tell that she stops to listen to sounds when I hear only silence.

Occasionally, at a crowded, noisy event in the midst of competing stories, laughter, voices, serving dishes, and music, I can hear my own internal voice saying something kind, admonishing, or even sarcastic (and I’m often exceptionally glad that it doesn’t actually find its way out of my mouth).

Once, I swear I heard my mother’s voice, momentary and soft as if it simply brushed right by my ear.  It made me turn and took my breath away for a long moment.

There often is a “song within the silence” and “beauty when there’s nothing there.”  These two favorite lines taken from this week’s featured song, December Prayer, written and performed by the incomparable Idina Menzel, reminds us that in a season fraught with noise and motion… it’s always good to stop even momentarily and listen and just be.

One of the new traditions Tom has brought to me in the last eight years has been a quiet night at home watching White Christmas together.  It’s his all-time favorite Christmas movie and much to his dismay, I had never seen it.  He admittedly had a boyhood crush on Vera-Ellen with her tiny waist, long legs, and cute turned-up nose.  But, he loves the story and knows all the words to all the songs.

What I love most about it is not so much the movie itself but what it has come to represent.  Tom insists that on the night before our guests arrive or we head off to visit them, we have some quiet holiday time for ourselves… no matter what has yet to be accomplished or crossed off the holiday list.  We make a simple dinner and exchange our own gifts.  Then, with only the lights of the tree and a fire in the fireplace, we snuggle up with a warm drink to watch White Christmas.  That tradition of carving out some simple and quiet time has become one of my favorite things to look forward to during the holidays.

There is music in the silence and beauty when there’s nothing there.  As we kick off the month of December and the busy holiday season, I hope you’ll carve out some quiet time for yourself.  Look for ways to simplify.  Look for ways to listen.  Look for ways to simply feel some joy.

Idina Menzel – December Prayer

“In the touch of a friend, in the breath of a child,
In the eyes of a soldier coming home to his mother’s grateful smile,
In the sight of falling snow, and the memories it brings,
In the season when you find some peace, in the simple tender things,
Open your heart and look around, listen, listen
 
Hear the song within the silence,
See the beauty when there’s nothing there,
Sing a song within a silence that hope and love are everywhere,
And when the quiet night is falling watch an angel dancing in the air
To the song, the song within the silence, a December Prayer,
A December Prayer.
 
In the strength of your hand as it holds unto mine,
And the promise that we’re not alone in this place and time,
In the gifts that you give I am humbled and amazed
Far beyond this day and time of year
We are in a state of grace.
Open your heart and look around, listen, listen
 
Hear the song within the silence,
See the beauty when there’s nothing there,
Sing a song within a silence that hope and love are everywhere,
And when the quiet night is falling watch an angel dancing in the air
To the song, the song within the silence a December Prayer,
A December Prayer
Listen, listen
 

Hear the song within the silence,
See the beauty when there’s nothing there,
Sing a song within a silence that hope and love are everywhere,
And when the quiet night is falling watch an angel dancing in the air

To the song, the song within the silence a December Prayer,
A December Prayer”
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Don’t Believe Everything You Think

At the height of my busy Fall speaking season, I’m lost in my thoughts as I make my way along my 90-minute freeway commute to the airport. My mind has wandered to my long to-do list which has swollen to ridiculous proportions with a busy travel schedule. Creeping in are thoughts of potentially forgetting promises, missing deadlines, and dropping the ball with marketing initiatives. I suddenly realize that I’ve forgotten something I need for this business trip. I remember a friend’s birthday is tomorrow and I’ve not sent a card. Pretty quickly, I’m worrying about getting Christmas gifts purchased and the house decorated over the next few weeks. It all feels impossible and I feel irritable and incompetent.

And then I pull up at a stoplight and look at the bumper sticker on the car in front of me. It reads, “Don’t believe everything you think.” Of course. I know this. But, how easily I can forget.

Things aren’t overwhelming. We’re not incompetent. And life isn’t hard. It just “is.” And, when we accept what is and remember that all things are neutral until we give them meaning, then we can stop pushing against life, step into our own power, and rediscover our natural ability to define life on our terms. How we are feeling is our unwavering guide to breathe deep, relax our thoughts, and practice acceptance, gratitude, and faith in our ability to figure it out as we go.

As we head into the busy holiday season, don’t believe everything you think. But, do believe what you feel. It’s your guide to whether you are in the flow of the abundance and goodness of life or stuck on the sidelines in the mud of doubt and worry.


“We humans have lost the wisdom of genuinely resting and relaxing.
We worry too much.
We don’t allow our bodies to heal,
and we don’t allow our minds and hearts to heal.” 

~~Thich Nhat Hanh

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The Perspective of Gratitude

Famous writer, William Arthur Ward, once wrote… “Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” In other words, gratitude is really just a shift in our perspective.

If you are an Outlander fan, then you know that in book four (which I’m just about to finish) our intrepid couple, Jamie and Claire, find themselves in pre-revolutionary New England. The author, Diana Gabaldon, does deep research and writes with great attention to the smallest of details so it’s no surprise that I have a vivid picture currently in my mind of what life must have been like for the first 100 harvest seasons and the earliest Thanksgiving feasts in our country. There were certainly no assurances of a harvest plentiful enough to restore depleted supplies and sustain those pioneers through the brutal winter months ahead. They must have felt a huge relief and deep gratitude each Fall for a pantry stockpiled with dried and canned produce, smoked meats and fish, salt, honey, beeswax, fat, flour, as well as hay and grains for livestock. It meant the difference between life and death.

These days, Thanksgiving doesn’t represent our gratitude for a harvest that will make that kind of difference for most of us. As a matter of fact, it’s become almost the opposite… A weird kind of excuse for a large amount of gluttony without much thought for potentially slim times ahead. It’s now simply an annual celebration for all that we are grateful for, in a very generic kind of way.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Thanksgiving and all the traditions associated with it. I just wonder why it takes a holiday to remind us every year of how very blessed we are? And, how we could keep that kind of gratitude alive on a more regular basis?

Something that’s been helpful for me this year is thinking of gratitude as a handy tool to shift my perspective when I need it. Much like deciding in advance that I want to approach my work and my world with decisive positivity, grace, and acceptance… throwing gratitude in that mix makes shifting my perspective at a moment’s notice almost easy. Because it’s pretty hard to remain sour, miserable, negative, or crabby and be grateful at the same time.

If you think about it, that’s all gratitude really is – a shift in perspective. A tool of instant transformation from feelings of lack, absence, deficiency, frustration, or scarcity to feelings of abundance, satisfaction, faith, and true wealth.

As you enjoy all your blessings this Thanksgiving, whatever form they take for you, remember that you do not need a single holiday to feel grateful. You can decide today to leverage it any time you need a shift in your perspective.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You don’t have to hire a trainer to make every team meeting
deliver a huge dose of skills improvement and productive changes.

Toolbox

These simple but dynamic exercises will breathe life
back into your tired, dysfunctional meetings and help you:

– Review material without lecturing
– Find a fun way to see what’s missing, misunderstood, or simply not being done
– Get everyone involved and contributing without feeling picked on or singled out

Learn more

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“When we focus on our gratitude, the tide of disappointment
goes out and the tide of love rushes in.”

~Kristin Armstrong

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Phischon for the Extraordinary

Too often today, we have either a substandard experience with those we do business with or, at best, an ordinary and unremarkable one. It’s rare to experience an excellent interaction and those that could be rated extraordinary are few and far between. That’s the bad news. The good news? It’s pretty easy to stand out in this crowded environment of mediocrity with just a little effort.

Case in point: Phischon Engineering

Our cabin neighbor, Scott, is an avid fisherman. And, while we can occasionally be enticed to go out with him and his lovely wife at daybreak on a nice summer morning to quietly fish for trout in Echo Lake, we count on him to bring in enough fish, no matter the weather, for an amazing fresh trout dinner at least once or twice a season. So far, they do not disappoint.

Last month, I received this email from Scott…

“I ordered some fishing stuff online for my new boat. Before I even opened the package, I read their letter and was impressed by it. The product was also excellent, so I will recommend it to anyone who asks. I thought the letter might be a good example for some of the work you do.”

As I read the welcome letter to a brand new customer, I was reminded of the numerous times I have recited an after-hours message to my audience during my Unscripted Telephone Skills presentation as an example of a great message. The message is well-written, energetic, and convincing to consumers that they have reached an above-average business. However, when I poll the audience, many feel the message is too long. That’s always my opening to implore them to go back to their offices, listen to their own message, and re-record it at any length they feel is appropriate but please, please, please… don’t make it boring or ordinary.

View Phischon Welcome Letter

It doesn’t take that long to upgrade the touchpoints with clients that you’ve already got in place such as on-hold messages, after-hours voicemail, instructions, forms, new client gifts, and welcome letters such as this excellent example from Phischon (Fishin’) Engineering below. This enclosed letter single-handedly took Scott’s experience from ordinary to extraordinary with minimal effort. It’s personal and interesting. It’s different than the typical, boring new client letter and reinforces value, quality, and service as well as client loyalty.

This week, look at your client touchpoints one at a time. Work to upgrade them, by asking these questions: Is this boring or ordinary? Or, is it energetic, interesting, and extraordinary?

Ordinary is forgettable and therefore vulnerable to competition and price. Extraordinary stands out, cements value, and assures that you and your brand shine far above the rest.


“The customer experience is the next competitive battleground.”
Jerry Gregoire

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Music Monday: Belay On!

One of my all-time favorite Calibration Team Retreats we’ve ever facilitated at LionSpeak was with a small group of women in Seattle, Washington. We went to local climbing gym, had our meeting, got a truckload accomplished and topped it off with some teambuilding exercises on the climbing wall. But before we could do any of the activities we had planned, we had to learn to “belay.”

In climbing, whether it’s a real mountain, up a climbing wall, or at an adventure course on the panic pole, you have a climber and a belay who work as a team. Belaying simply refers to a variety of techniques that climbers use to exert tension on a climbing rope so that a falling climber does not fall very far and is safe. The belay doesn’t actually have to use a tremendous amount of strength. A correct belaying method lets the belayer hold the entire weight of the climber with relatively little force, and easily arrest even a long fall. By using a mixture of belaying angles and hand-grips on the rope, the belayer can gently lower a climber to a safe point where climbing can resume.

Another great retreat was with a large team at a beautiful adventure park set deep within a forested area. Up on the “panic pole,” people had to climb up a 30-foot pole, stand up on the top which was a small 6″ area before jumping off to catch a trapeze handle. Even though you are secured in a safety harness, with slack in the rope, you still feel very vulnerable. If you did manage to stand up and keep your balance, before you jump you shout, “On belay?” And you wait to hear the reply from your belay, “Belay ON!” Then you jump.

That exchange always makes me think of those critical times we all face in business and life. Times when we are facing something scary, something tough, or something hard. A health issue, a financial crisis, loneliness, an impending change, a downturn in business. Whatever it is… we’ve all been there or will be at some point. And it can feel twice as hard if we feel isolated and alone.

Who’s on belay for you? For whom are you stepping in to be on belay? Is there someone who is new to your team? Is someone stepping in to a new position? Do you know someone who needs a little encouragement and hope?

Being on belay for each other is what great teammates do. They’ve got each other’s backs. They rise above the pettiness, blame, gossip, complaining, jealousy and sidebar conversations. They take a stand for their teammates and for demonstrating how great leaders behave and support. They trust them and lift them up when they need it. They catch them when they fall.

This week, listen with all your senses to those who may be asking you directly or indirectly, “On belay?” Be ready to answer, “Belay ON!”

This is Music Monday (always the first Monday of every month) when we choose a song from my playlist to cement our message. I chose Army by Boy. It’s a special song to me. I chose it to play at the beginning of my wedding video which had pictures and footage of family and friends with us at the wedding whom I treasure and who I know at all times are on belay for me. I hope they know that I am on belay for them as well. My favorite line of the song: They’re my army of fortune, they win every war, they are the love above the love.

At LionSpeak, we are on belay for you and your team. Let us know if you’d like to kick off your 2018 with a bang and have us customize a team calibration retreat for your group.

Boy – Army

“You should see my favorite people,
You catch a glimpse of gold through their skins.
I walk on air whenever I’m with them,
They’re where the happiness begins.
And I’m alright on my own, but with them I’m much better
They’re like diamonds and diamonds are forever.

They stand taller than giants,
They outshine all the stars
They are the love above the love
They’re my army of fortune,
They win every war
They are the love above the love

They’re a boat when I’m underwater
They tame the sharks and they calm the waves
When I choke they pat my back harder
My load is light, my secrets are safe
And I’m alright on my own but with them I’m much better
They’re like diamonds and diamonds are forever…

They stand taller than giants,
They outshine all the stars
They are the love above the love
They’re my army of fortune,
They win every war
They are the love above the love”

LIONSPEAK CALIBRATION RETREATS
Give Your Team the Gift of Shared Alignment and Strategies!

A lion cub’s life depends on how the Lioness helps them quickly become independent – just like employees depend on us to teach the skills they need to be successful.

What can we learn from the Lioness’ approach?
It’s a jungle out there!

Whether you manage 2 people or 200, join Katherine as she takes teams through the process of realigning the entire team around the owner(s) vision and produce strategies for accomplishing that vision with clear action items, team commitments, and accountability processes.

Schedule your team’s Calibration Retreat today!
800-595-7060
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Become the Leader Others Want to Follow

Leadership is the number one skill professionals need to master to create the career and life they want. Leadership trumps every other skill you need. Everyone can become a great leader. And, it’s not as hard as you’ve been led to believe.

At one of our recent “Leaders of the Pride” workshops, a new dentist said, “My father was a natural-born leader. My mother was not. I think I got my mother’s genes.” He was making my first point about why dentists often don’t step into their potential as leaders. It’s not in the genes. It’s in the mind.

Great leadership is an inside-out game. Before leaders ever lead anyone else, they learn to lead themselves. And, leaders go first. Before they expect their team to behave like leaders, they learn to behave that way themselves. People don’t follow great leaders because they have to. They follow them because they want to; because they trust and believe in them.

Here are my top suggestions for becoming a great leader:

  1. Take 100% responsibility. Leaders don’t hold employees, economies, patients, bosses, or spouses responsible for the state of their career, income, job satisfaction or personal happiness. They know what shows up is always traceable to something they’re tolerating, ignoring, blind to, or in which they’re complicit.
  2. Challenge Your B.S. (Belief Systems… but it’s probably not that different than what you initially thought it stood for!) We are all guided by our beliefs about what is right or wrong, good or bad, true or false, possible or impossible. Great leaders get good at accessing broader possibilities because they constantly challenge what might be possible or true, who’s already mastered something and what additional, untapped resources might be available. They know there is never a lack of resources… only a lack of resourcefulness.
  3. Raise Your E.Q. Research shows that a high E.Q. (emotional quotient) is essential to great leadership. Learning to use your internal guidance system to get yourself securely on a strong, positive emotional platform before you make important decisions or have any crucial conversations is imperative.

When you think, speak, and act like a leader almost everything becomes easier to do and achieve. Get yourself trained as a leader. Don’t put it off. Attend a workshop, read books by leadership experts, practice it in your everyday life. Learning the skills to lead yourself and others to greatness is your first step to creating the career and life of which you are dreaming.

If you’d like to receive a list of recommended books and resources to elevate your leadership skills, send us an email at info@LionSpeak.net with “Leadership Resources” in the subject line.


“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example.”
John Wooden

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Beginner’s Mind

You know you’re getting old when the surgeon who’ll be performing your procedure, the pilot on the plane you’ve just boarded, and the accountant assigned to do your taxes all look like they just graduated from high school. For these things and others, I don’t want beginners… I want experience.

Or do I?

Experience is a good thing, as a teacher and confidence-builder. But experience can also be a curse, especially when applied to your business-thinking. Experience can hold us in old ways of doing things because that’s just the way we’ve always done it. Experience can also keep us in old mindsets and beliefs, assuming they are indisputable and forever true. It can make us long for the “good ole days” when we didn’t have to work so hard for our share of the pie, when life was easier, when the work force was more capable and dependable.

Well, I’m happy to say there is a simple cure for this curse: The Beginner’s Mind. There was a day when everything looked new to you, when you weren’t “experienced,” when you didn’t know how things were done so … you just figured how to do them yourself and you created your own “good ole days” right here in the present. In many cases, you found better, more efficient ways than ever before because there was no one there to tell you otherwise. You put your head down and worked fearlessly and hard, stayed optimistic and positive, got creative and bold. You had to … and you didn’t know any better not to. You were just naïve enough to make a go of it and become successful. Wow. What if you could bottle that and pour it back out of your current employees? What if you could pour it back out of yourself?

I remember once when I was working in a dental office and we had a hired new co-worker who was also new to the industry as well as the job. Within the first week, she was successful in selling two large cases to patients who had told us in no uncertain terms in the years before that they were either not going to do the case or weren’t ready. She didn’t know that story and so she presented the cases and they were wholly accepted to our stunned surprise.

Beginners are not tainted by rejection, previous stories, preconceived notions, or negative experiences. They believe anything is possible and bring that optimism and idealism to work and to bear on the problems and challenges put before them.

I have seen the best examples of this playing out in the annual retreats I’ve facilitated for teams where the intention was to reconnect with our beginner minds, become creative geniuses again, and create and solve that which we previously thought unsolvable. The results have been stunning. They are hands-down the most amazing work I do. After being stuck for several years, we have business and practice teams achieving or exceeding their goals this year after a “beginner’s mind” kickoff retreat last year.

As we move in to the last quarter of the year and into 2018, I encourage you to bring your beginner’s mind to your meetings, to your problem-solving, and quite possibly to a facilitated team retreat where you are plucked out of your normal surroundings, your current idea of how an annual meeting should go, and out of your limiting beliefs… and directly into an environment where all things look and feel new, where what seemed literally impossible becomes conquered, where creativity begins to flourish and new ideas begin to pop like popcorn and where old relationships are renewed in fresh and deeply meaningful ways.

Get your inspiration and excitement back again… a second honeymoon, if you will… and do it by engaging and leveraging your Beginner’s Mind.

This week, we recycled one of our most popular MMS’s from several years
ago. Our new subscribers will enjoy Katherine’s story and the lessons she took from the
experience.  And to all of our MMS readers who have been loyal

subscribers from the beginning… you’ll remember why we love seeing the
world of business and life through the eyes of The Lioness.


“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities,
but in the expert’s mind there are few.”

~ Shunryu Suzuki (Japanese Zen priest)

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Making Business Easy

I love shopping on Amazon and I adore using Netflix for my movies and shows. I’m a frequent Uber patron and a huge fan of CLEAR to scoot past security lines at major airports. I hardly ever actually go to the bank anymore because of the ease and convenience of Chase Bill Pay and Deposit by Phone. All of these rank high on my list of companies that make it super easy to do business with them.

Just like you, I’m a pretty busy gal. I appreciate the precious minutes, and sometimes even the hours, that are saved by a company who offers a quick and effortless way to make purchases, return items, process repetitive tasks, and make or change appointments.

So why then did it take me almost three days to get my son in to see a dentist in Austin, Texas when he needed a root canal? I’m serious. Almost three days!

He had been diagnosed as needing a root canal by a clinic that did not do endodontics but “we’re happy to extract it” for him. Yikes! When your mother works in the industry, this was a wholly unacceptable answer. I told him I could help and would canvas my dental colleagues to find a reputable dentist who could care for him quickly.

It was mid-week and a quick Facebook shout-out to my friends in the industry yielded about a dozen terrific recommendations, though only a few did endodontics. But, as I made my way down the list of recommended offices, I was astounded at the amount of calls that went straight to voicemail, gave me a busy signal, or were redirected to an answering service. One just rang and rang until I finally hung up. Callbacks for the messages I left were slow to be returned. Some took days. When they were answered, I experienced enormously long hold times most with music or messages that were annoying to listen to in between the static. I spoke to many administrators who were unsure how to answer my questions about treatment, cost, payment options, or even location and directions.

I finally made an appointment for him at an office that told me they accepted Care Credit and was fairly close to his home. About an hour later, I received a call from the same office informing me that in fact they did not do root canals or take Care Credit. What?

Teaching telephone skills is a big part of my business. As a matter of fact, LionSpeak is known for it’s unscripted, consistently extraordinary coaching programs for dental, healthcare, and veterinary professionals. We have a robust mystery shopper program and my team and I speak on the subject at dozens of venues every year. You would think I would be aware of the “state of the industry” in regard to telephone skills. Boy, did I get an updated education!

Because I personally have a fabulous dental office where I have been a patient for over 15 years, I haven’t called dental offices as a potential new patient myself in a really long time. I was ready to make an appointment. I was able to pay the bill or help my son qualify for financing. He could come in at almost any time. He was in pain and highly motivated to feel better. I was highly motivated to help him save his first molar. Does a potential new patient get any better than this? And yet… most of them made it sooo hard to give my business to them.

Thankfully, this story has a happy ending. I eventually found my way to a terrific office where not only was the initial phone call handled well but the appointments and procedures were efficient, effective, and very well delivered. Austin loved his experience and has definitely found his new dental home.

Another great outcome was that this experience assured me there is still a deep demand and need for the client-focused coaching that LionSpeak delivers. It reminded me of how important that first impression is and prompted me to take a hard look at our own process at my company for engaging with a new or prospective client.

I want to make it a no-brainer and hassle-free experience for people to do business with LionSpeak. Just like the offices I called, we aren’t perfect and we don’t always get it right. But, this experience caused me to recommit to be diligent about the experience from start to finish for our clients.

I hope this week, you’ll do the same. Ask your team and even your patients what the experience has been like and what could make it better. Get creative and determined about finding ways to expand your availability and make your services easier to find, engage with, and raved about to others.

And, if you’re looking for a great dentist in Austin, Texas… I’ve already done the legwork for you!

LionSpeak Frontline Skills
HAVE THEM AT HELLO!
Exceptional Phone Skills for
Dental & Healthcare Practices
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“Business is all about the customer: what the customer wants and what they get.
Generally, every customer wants a product or service that solves their problem,
is worth their money, and is delivered with amazing customer service
.”
~Fabrizio Moreira

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Music Monday: Love

We’ve finally arrived! This week, we conclude with my tenth and final installment in our list of suggestions for how we could live and operate our businesses from a place of greater happiness…

Suggestion #1: Assume the best.
Suggestion #2: Roll with it.
Suggestion #3: Visualize responsibly.
Suggestion #4: Say what you want and expect.
Suggestion #5: Stop comparing.
Suggestion #6: Take the leap.
Suggestion #7: Lend a hand.
Suggestion #8: Be selective and guard your time.
Suggestion #9: Let go.
Suggestion #10: Love

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. This famous quote from a Tale of Two Cities by the great novelist, Charles Dickens, was this in its entirety:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

Sound familiar? Maybe like… the nightly news? Yeah.

We’re in a divisive time. As were my parents (think, Vietnam War.) As were my Grandparents (think, WWII.) As were my Great Grandparents (think Civil War.)

We are also in the best of times. You might not initially believe that but I promise you… we are. You always have a choice. You can choose other than what you are told and sold.

I listen to the news. I read the papers. There is beauty. There are answers. There are new possibilities that did not exist prior to this day. I choose love. I choose hope. I choose faith in the ingenuity, the indomitable spirit, the vast creativity, and the undying goodness of our humanity to find an answer to whatever is given to us. And, I am happy.

To be happy, I believe one must believe that goodness prevails. They must believe it is a given that from a 30,000-foot view of our journey on this planet that love will find its way… that goodness will prevail. Utopia? Shangri-La? Maybe. But all I’m gifted is my 100ish years in this lifetime. And, I choose the happiest, most loving, most hopeful future. Naive? Maybe. But, this blog is about how to work and live and run businesses that are based in the highest energy and the happiest space possible. So, I choose the lowest level of angst. I choose the highest level of faith and love and I find when I do… I receive the same in kind and in spades.

Love begets love. Patience begets patience. Faith begets faith. Hope begets hope. I choose all the above.

If you really, really want to live the rest of your days at work, at home, and anywhere this grand adventure takes us in a state of true happiness… then you must have faith that everything is happening in it’s perfect order and timing. You must have faith that there is nothing we can’t find an answer for and, no matter what they tell you, you were put here to shine…. to be prosperous, to win, to discover, to uncover, to enjoy abundance, and to love and be loved.

At the end of the day, always default to and choose love. It will never, ever steer you wrong if what you desire is true happiness.

This is the first Monday in October (can you even believe it?) and so it is Music Monday (always the first Monday of every month) where we feature some music off my personal playlist. This month, I choose Nothing More by The Alternate Routes (featuring Lily Costner) and while I could have featured the official video version, I decided I loved this version of the middle school graduation of this sweet children’s choir much more. I can’t tell you how my heart sings when I watch them sing with such conviction! Makes me know without a doubt that our future is as bright as it’s ever been.

My favorite lyric in the song:

“A world that’s full of endless possibilities
And heroes don’t look like they used to
They look like you do”

We are love, we are one We are how we treat each other when the day is done To be happy… Champion hope. Stand for what could be. Speak of what you’re FOR. Radiate love.

The Alternate Routes – Nothing More

“To be humble, to be kind
It is a giving of the peace in your mind
To a stranger, to a friend
To give in such a way that has no end

We are love, we are one
We are how we treat each other when the day is done
We are peace, we are war
We are how we treat each other and nothing more

And to be bold, to be brave
It is the thinking that the heart can still be saved
And the darkness can come quick
The danger’s in the anger and in the hanging on to it

We are love, we are one
We are how we treat each other when the day is done
We are peace, we are war
We are how we treat each other and nothing more

And tell me what it is that you see
A world that’s full of endless possibilities
And heroes don’t look like they used to
They look like you do

We are love, we are one
We are how we treat each other when the day is done
We are peace, we are war
We are how we treat each other and nothing more
We are how we treat each other and nothing more
We are how we treat each other”

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