Archive for February, 2010

I’m Sick and Sick Sucks!

Written by mitch. Posted in Uncategorized

I’m sick!

Not the kind of sick that sends you sprinting into the arms of a psychiatrist, although I know a number of people who would argue that’s exactly where I belong.

And, who knows: in the end they could be right! Aside from that, who am I to argue! Especially, when the numbers suggest that one out of every four people is nuts. Think about that for a moment: one out of four! If that really is the case, you need to think about your three best friends. Do they seem normal? Are they OK? If they do, and if they are: chances are you’re “the One!”

But, even that’s OK. Because, I for one, think ‘normal’ is more than a little over rated!

I’m talking about ‘sick’ as in infirmed. You know, head stuffed up, runny nose, chest congestion, head ache, and on and on and on! the kind of sick that makes you look terrible and feel worse, the kind of sick you won’t do anything about because you think it’s ‘just a cold’ and going to go away any minute. That’s the kind of sick I’m talking about…

When it became apparent the symptoms were getting worse and not better, I began to think it might not be a cold after all: I decided it had to be the flu! But, which one…

Was it the ‘normal,’ run of the mill kind of influenza that’s currently making its rounds? Or, could it be something more exotic? After all, I did fly to Philadelphia and back. I was in an airplane: an aluminum alloy germ factory, for more than ten hours! The temperature change was violent: seventy degrees here, twenty-five there. In fact, I just missed the almost three feet of snow they just experienced!

And, what about that weird guy in seat just behind me… the one hacking up a lung all the way to Los Angeles! He didn’t look like he was from either Philadelphia or L.A. In fact, he didn’t look or sound like he was from anywhere on this side of the world.

He looked like a carrier, if I ever saw one: the kind of guy who wouldn’t miss an opportunity to kiss a pig!
Or, that woman… the one just across from me, the one with the little kid who kept sneezing. Or, the flight attendant with the runny nose.

That was just a week ago, and now I’m the one sneezing: the one coughing, the one with the runny nose.
I let this run its course for last couple of days hoping against hope I would turn the corner and start to feel better. I took my vitamins, downed my supplements, drank my orange juice: all to no avail. So, this afternoon I went to the doctor only to find out that what thought was a cold in the beginning, and the flu in the end: was really bronchitis coupled with a sinus infection complicated by a very, very sore throat!
The doctor told me to go home and get into bed… I told her that she’s been reading too much fiction! I can’t. I don’t have that luxury. And, I’m not sure I would go home and get into bed even if I could. I know there are plenty of things you can do in bed when you’re feeling OK. But, what is there to do in bed besides sleep WHEN YOU ARE FEELING LOUSY!

And, that’s not the worst of it! Being sick is annoying and downright inconvenient! I want to go to the “Y” and swim. I can’t – partially, because I know I’ll sink to the bottom of the pool and drown the way I feel right now. And, partially, because I don’t want to be the guy responsible for getting half the people in the pool sick: the one responsible for the next pandemic!

I want to get back to my martial arts training. But, I can’t, pretty much for the same reasons. I have all kinds of other things to do. But, I can’t. For the most part, because I’ve got nothing left by the time I get home from the shop at night.

So, if you come to the shop tomorrow don’t shake my hand. If you do, ask for the Purell. It’s waiting for both of us just behind where I sit. I’ll understand. In the meantime, I’m going to take the bag full of medication the doc prescribed for me and get into bed because I’m sick and sick sucks, and the only thing I feel like doing is sleep…

Teach A Man (Or, A Woman…) To Fish….

Written by mitch. Posted in Uncategorized

I wrote this for my other blog and finished it just a few minutes ago. After reading it through a second time I kind of think it belongs here to…  So, here it is.

I love to teach…

Well, that’s not actually one hundred percent accurate. What I really love is to help people. And, the way I do that, and have done it in the past, is by sharing what I know and what I have learned over the years.

I do it at the service counter with our clients every day. Or, at least I try to.

I do it through the columns I contribute to the magazines I write for and through the books I’ve written… Or, at least I try to.

I do it in seminar work I’ve done and the keynotes I’ve delivered… And, yes, you guessed it: Or, at least I try to.

And, I’ve done it with just about everyone that’s ever worked here. In fact, I don’t think there is anyone who has ever worked here for either my father or myself who hasn’t learned something: something about themselves, or something about their profession while in our care and custody.

Sharing what you’ve learned and what you know is powerful. The exchange that takes places changes both the teacher and the student for ever in profound and powerful ways neither is likely to understand. At least, not while it’s happening. But, the foundation for those changes is poured when the first gift of knowledge is offered.

It’s fascinating, really. One moment your content with everything you know. And, the next you are confronted with something new: something that can and will change you forever.

Why? How?

Because, no matter how hard you try or how much you resist, you really can’t isolate yourself from experience or ideas if or when they are properly, or effectively, or dramatically, or passionately, presented. You can disagree. You can try to ignore what you have been exposed to. You can fight to remain static: unmoved. But, even the act of any of those actions (or,non-actions) is a direct result of the new knowledge you have gained.

The more ‘new things’ you’ve tried, the more experiences you’ve had, and the more mistakes you’ve made: the more you have to offer those around you. When you’ve been as successful as I have at any or all of the above, you have a lot to offer! And, offer it you must…

That’s what we’re doing right now at the shop. We’re sharing what we – all of us – have learned over the years with two young entry-level people and it’s more fun and more rewarding than ought to be legal. What makes it even better is the raw energy and enthusiasm they bring to the workplace – the curiosity and the questions – the constant attention they require – and the thought and consideration that has to go into every response.

Teaching makes the teacher(s) sharper: better, in almost every way, just for that reason… If you care.
When a new-hire asks you what you’re doing or why you’re doing it a certain way, you are forced to you to look at everything you do with a critical eye.

Why do we do this? Because, that’s the way we’ve always done it?

Why do we do it this way and not that? Do we recognize the choices available to us, or are we lost in the subtle sameness and comfort of the familiar?

When asked about hiring practices an old friend would simply say: “Hire for attitude. Train for ability. You can train someone to deliver great customer service – But, you can’t train them to want to!”

That kind of says it all, doesn’t it.

Well, the two people we’re working with are filled with attitude. Not the kind of edgy, in-your-face attitude that you see on the street or in the movies: the kind that makes you want to show up early so you don’t miss anything! And, that kind of enthusiasm and attitude is contagious. It filled the shop today and had just about everyone smiling. I can’t say that it will last. Or, how long everyone will be riding this ‘high.’ But, I can promise we’ll do everything we can to keep it going because it just plain feels like the right thing to do!

It feels great to share that knowledge – and, in our shop that knowledge totals well over a hundred years! And, it feels better to watch the changes that are taking place: the changes I spoke about earlier, transform these kids.

It’s the ultimate: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for one day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime!”

We’re teaching a couple of young kids just starting out how to fish: we’re teaching them how to fish smart, how to fish efficiently and how to fish intelligently. And, in the process, we are becoming better fishermen ourselves.