No Problem is a Problem!

No Problem is a Problem!

Are you starting a new business and need to hire employees? No Problem!

Do you need to fill a customer order? No Problem!

Perhaps source out the right technology? No Problem!

How many times have you asked a question of a business, inquiring if something could be done and the response you received was “No Problem?”

Whether you are asking a waitress for a beverage, a retail clerk for help with a product or a technical support representative to solve your IT dilemma, “No Problem” is a phrase that should be eliminated from business vocabulary.

Take a closer look at the phrase and notice that it is comprised of two negative words, No and Problem. And that is a problem. Mindset experts will tell you that we integrate the words we hear, and although this phrase is commonplace, it tells us that something that should be a positive response actually has negative undertones.

No Problem? I would hope as the customer, that it is NOT a problem. I never imagined it would be. Why would you even suggest that? Any student of positive thinking, (often referred to as The Law of Attraction), believes that what you think is what you attract, and would argue that No Problem attracts, well, problems.

Try this exercise. Visualize saying “Thank You” to someone for a service and hearing them say “No Problem.” Now visualize the same person responding to your appreciating them by saying “My Pleasure.” Doesn’t that feel better? Say the words yourself. Don’t you feel a little more joyful expressing a higher positive response?

Our customers can sense attitudes in business. Organizations with a positive mindset attract and keep far more customers than those that believe in helping themselves before helping others. Connecting with your customers, establishing a friendly atmosphere and creating relationships are the key to successful business endeavors.

The Ritz Carlton Hotel chain requires its employees to say “My pleasure” in response to customer requests. Their culture strongly affirms that they are in business to WOW the customers.

I have had employees tell me they feel uncomfortable using the words, ‘My Pleasure.’ One said it sounded cheesy to her. I challenged her to find other phrases, that were positive, encouraging and put the customer first. She came up with several acceptable phrases, including, “Of course” – “I would be happy to” – “Absolutely” and “You’re welcome” to be used when appropriate.

Without our customers, we wouldn’t have a business. How well we serve them determines if they will come back. Therefore, we need to create a culture of loyal customers that will return again and again.How we treat our customers and our employees matter. It should never be ‘No Problem’ to get something done.

Instead, let the customer know you appreciate their business and you don’t take it for granted.

Because there really are No Problems – Only Situations and Opportunities!

Originally published

Photo:Flicker / Ulrich Massier

Three Ways Team Building Will Improve Your Relationships

Three Ways Team Building Will Improve Your Relationships

When was the last time you tried something new? Something adventurous? Something completely out of your comfort zone and, you did it with someone else?

I conduct team-building workshops for companies to help them build stronger relationships, but recently I focused on a much smaller team. There were only two people and I was lucky to be one of the participants!

I flew to Washington D.C. to visit my son Joel, while he was there for a Fellowship program. We had already been to all the historical sights and monuments, both together and separately. We wanted to try something new!

About 90 minutes outside of D.C. in Maryland is a quaint area called Harper’s Ferry. Locals and tourists can get their adventure on and a few thrills too. From zip lines, to kayaks to white-water rafting and tubing, there are several companies that offer half-day and full-day outings.

Neither Joel nor I had ever been on a zip line and we were both a bit nervous. But outside of the personal accomplishment that would come with the achievement, was the bonding that comes from experiencing it together. Mother and son, a team of two, sharing in the same adventure at the same time.

He insisted I go first. I felt my “mom” instincts kick in just a little bit to forge the path and it was a blast. He was proud of me and I of him as I watched him zip over to the platform I was waiting at. And then we did it again. This time he went first and waited for me. What a sense of exhilaration we both felt! zipziphoorayWhite-water tubing was fun too and the rapids were not that extreme. But the current was enough to separate us a few times. I found that a little frustrating since our goal was to do this together. I also realized that my arms were not long enough to paddle effectively over the tube. Joel to the rescue! He tied our tubes together with a piece of cord that he took off my hat. Anyone remember the show MacGyver? Joel also paddled for the most part for both of us.

It doesn’t matter how big or how small the team is, there are benefits for groups of all sizes.

Here Are Three Nuggets You Can Take Away From a Team-Building Activity

Common Ground -When two or more people share experiences and create memories, it bonds them in a unique way. It will always be an event that has special meaning for them, one that they can reference back to.

Values – Most people knowingly or unknowingly judge others based on their personal values. It is the reference of our previous experiences that gives us our perspective. Knowing the base of another’s experience helps us to understand their perspective. Sharing in an event together allows you each to take your past and create a new paradigm together.

Trust – Our past experiences with others also shape our relationships with everyone else we meet. It is another point of reference. Sometimes we are rooted in those feelings, and if we are lucky, can remain open to new circumstances and form new beliefs. Experiences shared help create trust because you have gone through it together.

Discovering an aha moment from an event and sharing your favorite part of the experience creates a positive anchor and memory. Here is what I discovered on my day of adventure with my son.

Part of a being on team is learning what each of us brings to the table and lending our strengths to each other. I stepped up to go first on the zip line; Joel helped me navigate the white water. It made the day even better for both of us knowing we could rely on each other.

My favorite part – I absolutely love experiencing the world through my son’s eyes. But mostly, it was the joy of spending the day with him and deepening our connection through a shared memory we will always remember.

3 Essential Steps to Clearing the Clutter in Your Head!

3 Essential Steps to Clearing the Clutter in Your Head!

Clutter. How do you define it? The drawer that needs to be cleaned out? The pile of shoes that hasn’t been put away and is blocking the doorway? The stack of old mail and junk littering the counter, or the stuff acquired over the years you can’t seem to let go of?

There can be business clutter too. Old office equipment that slows down the efficiency of your business. Ideas that don’t work any more but you stick with them because they feel comfortable.

Or relationships that have gone to the wayside for a variety of reasons. We all know people we are no longer in alignment with and whose energy brings us down.

Sometimes we have to get rid of those things that aren’t working any more in order to move forward with ones that are. Your clutter can actually be holding you back from your success.

Brain overload is clutter too. We have about 50,000 independent thoughts each day, all fighting for attention. Too much to do, to think about, to process and the sheer overwhelm can stop us in our tracks.

Cleaning out a drawer and replacing an old computer or printer are tasks that we can see and touch. They may seem more practical and easier to tackle, although there can be many layers of emotions tied to holding on to them.

But the other stuff, the non-physical, suck-your-energy-at-every-turn clutter can’t be packed into a box and stored or donated.

When I have too much on my mind, I can’t sort through what I need to be doing next. My thoughts overtake my day and I don’t sleep well because I can’t find the off switch to my brain. I end up rehashing the day’s events, thinking about tomorrow and tossing and turning all night. I’m a wreck the next day.

Can you relate?

Time to purge the jumbled mess in my head and the most effective way I’ve found is a writing process I learned from my business coach Dixie Gillaspie, called a Brain Dump.

Writing down absolutely everything that is whirling around in my head for me, is in essence, a deep cleanse. It is the chemical-free Drano that unclogs the goo that keeps me stuck. It calms me down and soothes the wild energy going on upstairs as my thoughts, words and incomplete sentences fill the page.

Here Are My 3 Essential Steps to a Successful Brain Dump.

1. Secure Your Environment

Find a place where you are not distracted. If you use a computer to do your writing, stay off social media. No TV. No conversations. No interruptions.

2. Unleash the Beast

Write. Whatever is on your mind, write it down. Free flow your thoughts. No editing. No organizing. No judging. No holding back. Just write.

3. Wash, Rinse, Repeat

As you purge and open your mind and the page begins to fill, new ideas may crop up. Write those down too.

When the pressure from the floodgate has subsided as words fill the page, you can examine, sort and massage the information into projects or categories as need be. Without a multitude of other ideas fighting for attention in your head, you should be able to work on those you committed to writing with more clarity

And hopefully, like me, you will enjoy a great night’s sleep.

Previously appeared on The Huffington Post

4 Questions to Ask Yourself If You Want to Be Happy

4 Questions to Ask Yourself If You Want to Be Happy

I had a lunch with an acquaintance recently, and by the time we finished our food and conversation, we had the beginning of a beautiful friendship. We talked, we shared and we listened to each other and really held space for what was going on in each other’s lives.

My friend used to be a wild boy. He partied quite a bit, hanging out with the crowds that also partied quite a bit and often didn’t get home until late at night from the bar-networking scene. The next day, he was back at it again. He noticed that the people he was attracting in his life all led crazy chaotic lives. The sweet irony is that he also realized he was looking in the mirror. He led a pretty crazy chaotic life.

His personal life was not satisfying. He found he was less productive at work. His health was not in a good place. He realized that the perception others had of him was not at the level he wanted to be regarded.

With that new understanding, he asked himself some very important questions that became the turning point in his life and his success.

1. Do I Like Me? 

If I was introduced to me today, would I like myself? Would I think I was funny and clever, or brash and shallow? What impression do I give others? Are my values in alignment with the people I am attracting in my life?

2. Would I Date Me? 

Do I want to spend time with me? Am I courteous and thoughtful and fun to be with? Am I considerate of others? Did I leave a good impression with hopes for a second date or are they running for the hills?

3. Do I Respect Me? 

Time for an integrity check. Am I true to my word and authentic? Do I influence others in a positive way? Am I someone others look up to or shake their head at in dismay?

4. Would I Hire Me?

Am I interested in more than the paycheck? Have I taken the time to hone my skills and develop my potential? Am I a team player?

My friend said asking himself these questions really made him up his game and re-evaluate the lifestyle he was leading. He is now focused and has set his intentions to create a more purposeful life. While he is not judging anyone else, just merely making the changes he felt he needed for himself, he also understands that part of raising his game was to up the caliber of the people he was hanging with.

Before we can make meaningful connections with others, we have to first connect with ourselves. Once we know and like who we are, we can project that out into the world and attract those into our lives whom we are in alignment with.

Self-evaluation is not easy. Making changes is even harder. The rewards for taking an honest look inward and upping your game is a sure formula for happiness.

Photo: Flickr

Originally posted on The Huffington Post

The Challenge of Staying On Track

The Challenge of Staying On Track

Uh Oh, I just “caught” myself playing another game on the computer. It’s a jigsaw puzzle program that I use to inspire my creativity. At least that is what I tell myself. If I get stuck on a project, I slip over and put in just a few pieces. Ok, sometimes more than a few pieces.

But what I find happens when I step away too long,  is that my project, writing and my focus slips behind. And that got me thinking about what else is lagging. What other things do I have on my to do list that I am not doing?

I’m not talking about the dishes or laundry. I’m talking about the commitments, both personal and professional I made that I know will improve my life. Exercise for one. Keeping that promise to myself to walk 20 minutes every day plus some stretching and toning exercises in my pursuit to get fit.

Organization is another one of my challenges. I have a stack of business cards to enter into my computer. Then there are emails to respond to and phone calls to keep track of and the calendars! Data entry is not my favorite task, but that aside, which program do I use. I have tried so many different ones that haven’t been the one with the bells and whistles I need. I’m not that complicated, but some of the programs or apps I have tried have been, and it overwhelms me.

But my biggest challenge is working from home. I look up and see a million things that need to be done from housework to home projects to the weeds creeping into the garden and I am distracted and diving into that puzzle once again.

It’s time for a new plan. One, that will keep me organized and productive. Because frankly, the plan I have (or really don’t have) is akin to being on a hamster wheel – I’m moving but getting nowhere.

Here are the 3 things that helped me get back on track.

Get An Accountability Partner- Find someone to hold you accountable, but make it a two-way street. If you can help them with something too, it becomes a win-win situation. It can be a task list or chart that you email daily or weekly. They don’t have to live next door. But if they do and they have the same goal you do (exercise for example) you might be able to meet to accomplish the goal together. This can work for any kind of activity – it’s just a matter of checking in and sharing your progress

Ask Others What Works For Them – Instead of trying out every new thing that comes along, or trying to evaluate all the options, ask your friends and colleagues what has worked for them and why. I finally found the perfect program to manage my contacts and projects with ease, simply by checking in with busy people who rely on products like these every day. It helped narrow down the choices to just a few to try out and I don’t have the overwhelm of too many choices on the menu anymore.

Work In An Environment Conducive To Getting Things Done – My home may be my castle, but it is not the best place for me to get work done that is not home related. While many people can work effectively from home, I know that I need a different scenario. Some people may find that inspiration in a busy coffee shop, others might seek out a co-op workspace or a library. I ended up joining a business club that has general as well as private work areas depending on what my needs are for the day. What matters is finding a place that suits your own style that allows you to be inspired, productive and feel good in the process.

Our lives get into a routine that can be exciting or feel boring and we often have to mix it up a bit. I’m not getting rid of my computer jigsaw puzzle just yet, but I don’t use it as a go-to excuse when I’m stuck. Instead, I look for inspiration with and from others and, by putting myself in a place where more inspiration happens.

Photo: Flickr

Oranges, Rabbits & Ice Skating: 3 Ways to Change Your Energy and Get More Done!

Oranges, Rabbits & Ice Skating: 3 Ways to Change Your Energy and Get More Done!

I haven’t written a blog post in a while. I haven’t felt focused enough to settle down and finish the several posts I have started, and have been bouncing around from one to the next, not really accomplishing much.

My good friend and accountability partner, Doug Wagner, President of Sunwapta Solutions, suggested I write something light. He recommended not to try to go in too many directions; it would be like squeezing an uncut orange, the juices going everywhere.

In truth, I haven’t felt the juices flowing enough to squeeze out a full post, much less the rest of one. Instead, my mindset has been that of a stale, dried-up orange.

Then I thought about business. How we sometimes lose our focus and spin our wheels, never feeling accomplished, and left with a lingering dissatisfaction about where we are going.

My acupuncturist calls it rabbit energy – jumping from one thing to another — which may feel productive as you are “touching” a lot of points in your business, but you probably aren’t doing any of them well. This is the mode in which most mistakes happen.

While she was expertly poking needles into my elbows, hands, forehead and feet, (no it doesn’t hurt) we talked about what calm, smooth energy would feel like and decided on an ice skater gliding effortlessly from task to task.

In order to accomplish moving from frantic to smooth, I knew I had to change my mindset on how I approached my writing, work, and,  if I am honest with myself, life.

Here are 3 Ways to Change Your Energy and Get More Done

Take a Stab at it – You Can Adjust if Necessary

Dixie Gillaspie, my very wise business coach and editor suggested to write sloppy, then go back and edit and clean it up later. Do a brain dump and get it on the paper. This is true with ideas for marketing and sales plans too, and the theory behind brainstorming sessions. All ideas are put forth. Often what results is a springboard effect with one idea bouncing off another. No wait, one idea gliding after another. Ahh, much better!

Eliminate Distractions

I can’t write when the TV is on, but music playing in the background is ok. Phone calls throw off my train of thought and social media, especially Facebook is a tempting siren. Know what works for you and what doesn’t and commit to a structured time block focussing on just one thing. Instead of trying to jump around and handle everything at once, pick one task and set a timer to work on it so that you can feel a sense of accomplishment. If you get in the groove and have the time to extend your focus, then do it!

Find a Human Trampoline

No, don’t jump on someone, but have a creative partner to bounce ideas off to get the ball (or orange) rolling. You may want to find  an accountability partner and set goals and timelines. As Doug and I were discussing our orange analogy, we both ended up with something to show for it. You can read Doug’s creative post here.

Hey look, I just wrote a blog post! Orange ya glad I did! Yeah, I know – you’re probably groaning at the bad pun, but I’m suddenly smiling, feeling juicy and energized.  Time to tackle those writing projects, one at a time!

Photo Credits: Flickr (Pietro Izzo,