Life Lessons We Can Learn from Business

I have always been a student of not only people but also businesses and their cultures. I have long been fascinated by the successes and failures of businesses and have seen how the good and bad can be applied to our own life. Today I want to talk about life lessons we can take from business.
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1) Go Above and Beyond – A business would call it good customer service but in our lives I would call it going above and beyond. One of the things that the Disney theme parks are known for are their outstanding customer service. It is the thing that has made millions of people loyal guests. Even when a customer is being unreasonable a good employee will still go beyond what is expected. And one of the reasons for that is a good employee will always work from their integrity. I am amazed at the number of people who are content to just get by with just doing the minimum. But who are the people we remember? It is the people in our lives who go above and beyond what is expected. It is the person who drops off food because they know you have been sick. It is the person who offers to stand with you during trials and tribulations. They are there when you need them and they go above and beyond what anyone would expect. Where do you fall in that? One of my favorite Bible verses is Matthew 5:41 “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles”. I especially love the version from The Message that says “And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life”. Are you ready to go above and beyond?
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2) Be Ready to Change and Adapt – Remember Blockbuster Video, Borders Books or Tower Records? At one time they were leaders in their respective fields but as our world began to change they were unable to stay relevant in today’s market. It is important in a world that is constantly moving forward that we be ready to change and able to adapt to what is going on around us. I am not saying that we need to conform to the world or that we need to have all the latest “stuff”, but many people are left behind in their careers as technological changes make certain positions obsolete. Conversely it is the people who are ahead of the cultural curve that are able to move ahead and make a difference in their lives. That is true in our own lives. People who don’t change and adapt often get stuck and being stuck often leads to frustration and anger. We were created to live in an ever changing world and we because we were created with an amazing ability to think and reason, it should follow that we should expect to change and adapt as the things of the world hit us. Changing and Adapting are a good thing. Are you open to change? Do you easily adapt?
personal touch
3) It’s the Personal Touch – Do you frequent a shop, restaurant or some other business that whenever you walk in they know who you are? That is one of the models that Starbucks has incorporated into their business culture. Their employees are encouraged to know their regular customers by name and remember their favorite beverage (“Are you having the usual?” is often heard). That personal touch is one of the things that bring people back. People want to be cared about and appreciated as customers. People also want to know that they are cared about in our personal life. It is easy to think is that you are very caring when it comes to your family and friends but what about those other people around you. We have a neighbor who is getting up in years and is having a harder time doing the simpler things around her house. Things like getting the garbage to the curb or getting the front lawn mowed. Several people in the neighborhood have taken it upon themselves to help with those simple chores. Another woman I know shops weekly for an elderly man who has a hard time getting out of the house. Have you ever thought about how YOUR personal touch can impact those around you? What would happen if when you cooked dinner tomorrow you added just a little more to bring to a neighbor who is alone? What would it look like if the next time you picked up some flowers for you table you picked up a couple of extra and left them at the door step of someone you barely know? Caring for those who are close to us is easy but caring for those people around us that we don’t know well is a tougher job, but it also changes that person’s life in many ways. Are you ready to give your world your own special personal touch?
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted, Aesop
4) It Doesn’t Have to Be Big – As I walked down the hallway of the hotel I noticed that the cleaning woman was making animals out of the towels on her cart. I gave a little chuckle and continued to my room. As I walked in the door I could see a towel bunny sitting on my bed with a note that said “Welcome” and was signed by the maid. It was a lovely thing and brought a lot of joy. Many times we think that we need to do “big” things to make a difference or we don’t do anything because the gesture would be too small. I would say to you that it doesn’t have to be big at all. In fact some of the smallest gestures can have the biggest impact. A favorite restaurant of mine always hands me a to go cup of water or iced tea when they bring back my change or receipt. “It is for the road honey” the waitress tells me. There have been times when the best thing a friend can do is not say anything during a tough time but just sit there and be present. What would it look like if the next time you saw a police officer, fireman or a member of the armed forces buying a cup of coffee you step up and pay for it as a thank you for their service? How would it affect the life of a homeless person if the next time you stop and grab food at a store or restaurant you buy a little something extra and just hand it to them? These gestures don’t have to be big but the definitely can make a big impact on someone life. Are you ready to do something small today?

I think there are many lessons that we can all take away from business. How we treat people and how we live our lives can have an enormous impact in the world around us. Are you ready to make a difference? Take some of these lessons and apply them to your own life today. Have a great day and don’t forget: Life is a journey, not a destination!

850 Posts

850
As I was preparing to write my blog ideas down for this week I was surprised to see that I have written 850 posts. That is a lot of writing. Many of them have been quotes that I find inspiring and others have been about the life journey that we are taking together. After spending some time looking back through the 850 previous posts I wanted to share some things that jump out at me. They are in no particular order…

1) Many people are stuck not because they don’t know which way to go but are afraid to take the first step in fear that they will make a mistake. One of the things that I tell my clients is that the easiest way to get unstuck is to do something. Anything! For many just the act of doing something is enough to get them to move forward in a positive way. Being stuck is usually in our minds, so you can get unstuck by taking the first steps in the right direction.
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2) Sabbath is lost to many of us and that is a shame. If you have followed me for any length of time you know that I write about Sabbath in some fashion every Sunday. You can look at Sabbath from several different directions. If you are person of faith, the Bible is full of examples of the importance of Sabbath. Even if you are not religious in any way many cultures have included a day of rest in the week. In a world where everyone seems to be going a hundred miles an hour it is important for your body and your soul to take a Sabbath. Find a way to keep Sabbath in your life.
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3) Affirmation Exercise – I first introduced this during my Summer of Wholeness last year and I use it a lot with people that I work with. Get a Post It pad and twice a day write an affirmation about yourself. I suggest one in the morning and one in the evening. After you finish each one stick it on an empty wall. As the Post It’s begin to fill up the wall you will have a visible reminder of the positive things in your life. We often get bogged down by all the negative. The Affirmation Exercise is a great way to combat that. I have had people tell me that instead they have taken positive quotes to live by as part of their Affirmation Wall and several people use the exercise to put up Bible verses. The great thing about the exercise is that it can be whatever you want it be.
wall-of-thanks
4) I wrote several times about the sudden death of a man I respected that affected me deeply. The loss and the circumstances around it were very sad to me but what I mainly wrote about was the importance of being a good spouse, parent, child and friend. The death left a lot of “if I only had been a better friend” thoughts for those of us left behind, but more importantly, it was a reminder about being present in the lives of those around us each day. I am often struck how the littlest act of kindness can change a person’s day. The legacy of friendship and community is being there and available.
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5) I have led a very blessed life so far. I have written about some of the places that I have been to and some of the people I have encountered around this planet and every step of the way I have been touched by the beauty of God’s world and His people. I have travelled all over with the idea of changing people’s lives but have found out that biggest life changed has been mine. I am humbled.
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So that is just a few thoughts on 850 posts. At the bottom of this blog I am including my website address, my blog address and my Facebook page in case you want to go back and read some of the posts that I just spoke about (plus many, many more). The big question is what is next? A lot I would say. Next week I will be talking about some upcoming opportunities that are different from anything I have done so far. One of the things I am most excited about is some online groups that will be dedicated towards some particular needs that people keep asking about. More on that next week. There are several other changes coming that I hope you will be as excited about as I am. I am also planning on a free summer online program that will help us all get a little more focused about living a purposeful life. So stayed tuned to all of that next week.

Thank you for journeying with me. I am honored, humbled and blessed. Your kind comments and words have been so encouraging and I appreciate the feedback. I am looking forward to the next 850 posts. Have a great day and don’t forget: Life is a journey, not a destination!

Links:
http://www.stephenlifecoach.com/
https://www.facebook.com/StephenHalpinLifeCoach
https://stephenlifecoach.wordpress.com/