“What I learned on Vacation”
Written last week as an e-mail to part of his team by Steve Herriges, follow up e-mail by Alicia Schliess to part of her team.
… I spent the last 4 days visiting a great friend in Arizona. My wife and I were fortunate enough to get away without the kids due to our generous family here at home willing to watch them. (Funny- we end up missing the kids the whole time anyway, meanwhile they are back home with their cousins having more fun than if we had been here with them anyway)
I have learned to make these trips in to a learning experience to develop both intellectually and in the soul. Everything in life can be a lesson is you are looking. Airplanes seem to be my best opportunity to get some reading done. And I seem to sleep better in a wet tent when elk hunting than I do in a cushy hotel bed, so I always end up finding more time to read as my better half is snoozing away. Here are some things I took from this trip in no particular order:
1.) Tourists with selfie-sticks will unintentionally take your head off if you aren’t very careful. They should be outlawed at the grand canyon before somebody gets knocked in.
2.) The mountains call to me like nothing else. God willing, much of my retirement will be spent exploring mountains of one variety or another.
3.) Happy and Helpful people can bring you so much joy. Be one of them. In the middle of busy Sedona we stopped at a Safeway grocery store and the people working there stand out in my mind. A lady stocking items in one isle overheard me mention an item to Katie that we were looking for from a distance and was quick to steer us in the right direction. Another lady working in the deli simply made our breakfast sandwiches with such a pleasant demeanor I couldn’t say thank you enough. The cashier was pleasant, and went out of her way to save us some $$. Katie and I left that place talking about the pleasant experience. This is what we strive to do at Drexel.
4.) Stepping out of your comfort zone to smile, greet, or talk to strangers leads to pleasant experiences. We ran into one fella from Milwaukee when we were at a random viewing area. He was quick to share some feedback with us. A mile back on a hiking trail we ran in to an older couple that lives only 25 minutes from my house here in WI, and they have a winter home down there. We ran in to another couple from WI that has a house in Phoenix. When they retire in October they are going to move down there permanently. Another guy from CA offered to take some pics of us on a mountain top that looked great. I want to go through life meeting more of these people, and I want to be one of these people. I get a kick out of it.
5.) Google is freaky. My wife’s new phone notified her this evening of a new “story.” It labeled it “your trip to Phoenix” and as we scrolled through it, it showed our path on a map, all of the stops that we made, even Starbucks, including the pictures taken at all locations. Also showed timing of each event broken down by day. Pretty much every move we made. Apparently all from the GPS on her phone. Crazy! and Scary.
6.) Don’t give up on a book too early. Both books I read I nearly gave up on in the early chapters, but stuck with it and was very happy I did. There is always something to learn. And if not, then you should be writing one yourself.
7.) I read a book called Think Less, Live More. Written by a lady who as a professional Engineer by trade and spent too much time analyzing decisions and thinking for answers. Us truss guys can probably relate. She explained the importance of thinking from the heart using feeling, instincts, values, etc. as a larger factor in these decisions. Sounds simple, but until you read it, you don’t always realize you weren’t doing as good of a job with it as you thought you were. I also had always struggled to set goals in my life and thought it was a little foolish. I’ll just keep doing my best and see what happens. Well she opened my eyes to an easy and motivating exercise to set goals, simply by not over-thinking and writing them down quickly as you can as they come from the heart. I was amazed at what I could come up with when I wasn’t over thinking it. Here is the book if interested: http://www.amazon.com/THINK-LESS-LIVE-MORE-Over-Thinker/dp/0984698965 Plenty of other stuff in that book if you are looking to learn.
8.) Appreciate every day for what it is. We all know this, but from time to time we get little reminders. The friend I went to visit in AZ lost a very close friend 2 weeks ago. 32 years old, he went to bed one night and didn’t wake up. I know that’s deep, but that’s life. Don’t take anything or anyone for granted. You never know when it’s your turn.
9.) Similar theme as #8. We are quick to grumble about the snow in Wisconsin. We got a kick out of one experience in AZ that opened my eyes again. We were driving near some mountains in Flagstaff, and there were literally hundreds of cars parked on the sides of the road. Families that drove up from Phoenix where they never see snow, just so the kids could build a snow-man in the ditch. There were snow-men everywhere you looked! It was entertaining and made me appreciate our snow a little more.
10.) Please, make a point to do what you love from time to time. You are never too busy. “Energy Fillers” are needed to bring out the in you. Both personally and professionally. It doesn’t have to cost money and doesn’t have to take long, just make it happen. A trip. A book. Running. Fishing. A basketball game. Meditation. Prayer. Snow-shoeing. Charity. This isn’t me trying to sound clever, it’s a message that was shared in both books I happened to read, as I was doing this very thing, and I simply want to share the message.
That’s all folks. Thank you for your time. I know it is a valuable resource. But if you get one little thing out of the above, it was worth my time. I attached a few pictures from the trip if you want to take a quick look.
Go supply some happiness today.
Yes, some very powerful words he laid out. I’d like to elaborate on this a little bit. I just returned from 10 days on the lovely island of Jamaica.
To Steve’s point #3: Happy & Helpful people, I’d like to combine that with Winning Attitude.
For anyone who has been to Jamaica, I hope you can relate here. This is not a wealthy country. This is a country with interest rates upwards of 30%. Houses are built one room at a time over the course of years because that is all they can afford to do. Jamaicans work long days going to and from on public transportation with bus rides upwards of 2 hours. When we arrived on the island we were instantly greeted with smiles and positive attitudes. This carried its way all the way through the airport, into the hotel shuttle and straight through the hotel check-in to our room. Every single person we encountered (and it was many!) greeted us with a huge smile, a welcome and an outgoing, helpful attitude. This carried on from one experience to the next, one day to the next. I did a few excursions while there and every single place I went, this contagious attitude continued. It was nothing more than hundreds of Ya Mon and No Problem Mon.
People who have been to Jamaica joke about this and some don’t truly understand why the Jamaicans are always expressing these phrases. As I sat back and really watched, listened and took it all in it became really easy to see why. Jamaicans are truly some of the happiest people I know. In the 10 days I was there, NOT once did I hear a single Jamaican complain. This resort was filled with what had to be hundreds of employees working around the clock in very warm weather dressed in not so cool uniforms. Did it stop them from having fun? NO! Did it stop them from smiling? NO! Did it change their attitude on how they were going to perform their job? NOPE!! Did it start to change my overall attitude on life? YES it sure did!! It was next to impossible to not have an amazing time, laugh, joke and smile with each of these individuals. I met so many people on Monday, some I didn’t see again for a 3-4 days and as soon as I crossed paths with them again, they knew my name and greeted me with the biggest smile. Name recognition is one thing I struggle with and always want to do better with. Every employee at our resort amazed me with their skills. All the while, smiling and laughing.
Yes we were there for our wedding and that obviously added to the thrill and excitement we shared, however I made sure to pay attention to my surroundings as well. Most people were not there with an entourage of family and friends, but with just a few people and everyone seemed to be having the same great time as I. By day 2 or 3 you couldn’t help yourself but start to talk the language. Ya mon, No problem mon becomes part of your language. It didn’t matter if you were from Jamaica, Europe, Canada, the US or any other country. The Jamaican’s positive attitude just carried its way from one person to the next. We were constantly reminded that in Jamaica there are NO Problems ONLY SITUATIONS. I love that! I love how they turned every scenario that many Americans would consider “huge problems” and make their lives “miserable” into situations that could be resolved quickly and most times painlessly as well as put smiles right back on people’s faces. They did this with their positive attitudes and willingness to strive for the best customer service possible.
Many of us do this every day at Drexel. We go out of our way to please our contractors and home owners and make sure they have the best experience possible. These little things we do for them do not go unnoticed and many times can really turns someone’s day around. Please remember that. Your attitude is contagious. The way you present yourself and that smile on your face is contagious. Have you ever tried to be upset with someone who did nothing but smile and find the positive in every situation? It is pretty hard to do. A goal of mine…be one of those people! As soon as we arrived back in the US and were presented with the customs line, my husband instantly noticed and called it out…”welcome back to America, the land of complaining” as we heard more complaints in 5 minutes than we did in 10 days in Jamaica. I promised him right there I would not be one of those people and work each day to always keep the winning attitude.
A lot of words here, but a common message. Happy, helpful people with winning attitudes truly are some of the BEST people to be around. It is contagious and it WILL bring people back. I’m officially a Jamerican (been to the island 3 times) and WHEN I return, I will be a Jamaican (been to the island 4 times). Many people think money buys happiness…I now encourage anyone with that mentality to visit a country such as Jamaica to really appreciate that money does not buy happiness. Attitude buys happiness!
(Yes that is Alicia and her husband in the middle… she got married there.)
Make the rest of your week a great one team and smile on!!
– Joel Fleischman. Joel is Head Coach of the solution providers for Drexel Building Supply. (drexelteam). You can follow him on twitter: @JoelmFleischman. Our mission is to be a supplier of others happiness. I hope this little post did just that