Archive for December 7, 2011

Spice Up Someone’s Life (Part 2)

Spice Up Someone’s Life (Part 1)

It’s usually during the Holiday Season that we really concentrate on family and friends. We search for the perfect gifts. We send Holiday cards to share our well wishes. We join each other in setting resolutions to be better people in the New Year. And, once the Holiday Season comes to a close (and the sales are over) we quickly return to the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives.

So this year, as I too counted down the twelve days to Christmas, I thought about ways leaders can each extend the special times of the Holiday Season all year. Why should we wait for one season of the year to give a gift or bring good cheer? It’s our job to “season” and spice up people’s lives all year!

So in honor of counting down the 12 days of the Christmas Season, I submit for leaders 12 “seasons” to use in spicing up people’s lives during all 12 months of the year. Use them all. Use one or two over and over. Be inspired by these and create your own. Whatever you do—just don’t wait for the Holiday Season to bring good cheer, season, and spice to someone’s life! Bring it today!

Spice Up Someone’s Life: 12 Seasons for All Seasons
(We present the first 6 “Seasons” below, with the second set of six coming in a future release)

#1 Write a Compliment Letter
A solid majority of letters received by businesses, politicians, and other community leaders tend to be complaint letters. And yes, most of them are usually deserved. However, to survive as a leader you have to do a good job—which means most are actually doing better than the complaint letters share. Yet, most of the time enterprises and leaders never receive a letter complimenting their great works. A study by Disney seems to confirm why. On average, if someone has a bad service experience they’ll tell 9-12 other people about the negative experience. If they had a good experience they’ll only share with about 4 people (if any at all).

Be different! Don’t just be a good finder—be a good teller. Write a letter complimenting those you see doing a super job. I’m consistently impressed with the service I receive from Southwest, FedEx, Kinko’s, and Wal-Mart. They’ll be hearing from me again this year!

#2 Do Without Being Asked
One of the easiest ways to spice up someone’s life is to do something you know needs to be done without being asked. Whether it’s a parent, teacher, employer, minister, neighbor or friend—no one can deny the appreciation for a good deed done without being asked. Doing something without being asked shows you care, pay attention, and take initiative.

It doesn’t have to be complex. Take out the garbage. Empty the dishwasher. Fill the printer or copier with paper before it runs out. Wash the car after it rains. Bring in the newspaper or mail. Sweep out the garage. Clear the cobwebs from around the house. Vacuum. You’ll be delighted by the spice you bring when you do something without being asked!

#3 Change Your Greeting
“How are you?” This is a standard question we get asked everyday. And the usual response is something like “Good”, “Fine”, or “Okay.” I’m always cheered by the people I know who have a unique and encouraging response to this question.

My good friend Lester Haycock from New Zealand always answers the question “How are you?” with the wonderful reply, “Great and getting better!”

My Dad answers the question with “So good I can hardly stand it,” and my husband says “Having more fun than a guy has a right to have!”

A favorite radio DJ always answered callers who asked this question with “Better than most, not as good as some.”

Each day you have a chance to answer this question. Leaders will see it as an opportunity to share some positive energy. Be creative. Be of good cheer. Be original. Just don’t give the usual blah answer, “good.”

#4 Leave Thoughtful Voice Mails
This day and age it is so easy… maybe just a bit too easy… to hit the Send button on our e-mail program to communicate. However, it’s hard to communicate feelings, enthusiasm, and care with an e-mail. Leaders we’ve coached like Stachia and Nate don’t just send e-mails—they call. They leave wonderful voice mails to stay in touch that could have easily been e-mails (although they e-mail too.)

Here’s the key to leaving voice mails that make someone’s day. First, call them when you are sure to get their voice mail (lunch time, after hours, when you know they are out). Second, start with an enthusiastic and warm greeting. Third, somewhere in the message mention, “There’s no need to call me back—I just wanted to leave a voice mail to let you know I was thinking of you.”

So often a voice mail or e-mail usually has some kind of “action” or “to do” that is associated with it. It sure is nice to get one that is just encouraging with no “to do” except to have a nice day!

#5 Surprise Someone!
I learned from my Mom the oft-quoted saying that “the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little bit extra.” That little bit extra is usually a surprise—and most everyone loves surprises.

  • Recently my brother-in-law Rob and his family surprised his 84-year-old grandmother. with a 750 mile drive to visit her. He never told her—he just showed up! She has always loved this and was totally delighted!
  • The night before my wedding, my husband surprised me by re-proposing. When I of course said “yes,” I was suddenly surprised by how he had orchestrated our friends to ignite fireworks that lit up the night sky for 15 minutes. It was a magical surprise!
  • The other day my best friend Samantha showed up for a visit with our favorite “Slooshy” (it’s like an ICEE). A tasty and thoughtful treat!
  • Our friend Jeff who heads up our company communications gives us his projected deadline on assignments and then always delivers ahead of schedule. He is famous for under-promising and over-delivering!

Surprises come in all shapes and sizes. They don’t have to be grand to be great. Surprises do not have to be expensive, time consuming, or overwhelming. And they certainly should not be done because you are in trouble or trying to call attention to yourself. The best surprises are personal, do not create a burden, are appropriate, and of course unexpected.

#6 Send a Picture!
Capturing images through digital or traditional photos is a multi-billion dollar industry. It’s easy to understand why—a picture is truly worth thousand words. Sending a picture of a meaningful moment is a terrific way to spice up someone’s day!

Earlier this year we received two pictures from student leaders we coached.

  • Abby sent us a picture of us together right after she’d been elected to her dream of being a national officer.
  • Eric, Max, Hosea, and Hobab framed a picture that had been taken when my husband drove them home from a retreat after their ride home fell through.

These were special moments. The picture they gave us showed how much they valued the time we shared with them. Both are prominently displayed in my office.

With digital cameras, camera-phones, and instant cameras—it’s easier than ever to capture a moment and share it. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, all you’ll need are the photo and a heartfelt note to make someone’s day!

Seasons #7-#12 coming soon….