So What do You Want on Your Tombstone?

tombstoneNo this isn’t a pizza commercial. It’s a blogger way to refocus ones goals. The idea is that by imagining the end we can do better NOW. I write movie reviews here and thus I see a lot of lives on the screen. Watching the characters move toward their goals is what makes movies interesting to me. I invite you to try this as a personal growth exercise. What to you want on your tombstone? Here are two questions to ask before you decide your own epitaph:

1) What would you like to be said about you at your funeral?

2) Think of a deceased loved one – what is the one thing you’ll remember the most about him/her?

As for #1, this is an interesting question. I think it morbid to fantasize about my own death, so I’m going to try and not do that. Instead, I will imagine what I would want my kids to remember about me and then translate that into a snippet on my tombstone:

Loving dad, disciplined artist, and student of life.

(make your own tombstone)

As for #2, this one is easy. My maternal grandfather died at 85. I will remember many things about him, he had a dramatic impact on my golf game and the formation of my personality. If I had to say one thing I will remember most about him it will be this statement (You have to be a golfer to understand it’s life application):

Keep your head down, take a big back-swing, and follow through.

That’s how I try to teach, play, love, and live . . . thanks to Gramps for those early mornings at Cherry Hills. I’ll never forget that crisp cold air and the lessons I learned in his shadow all those days.

This isn’t an editorial piece but rather something to keep you thinking. When you have passed from this life, what will you leave behind? It’s psychology we all could use because it helps us define ourselves. I think George Bernard Shaw said it well when he said:

Life isn’t about finding ourselves, it’s about defining ourselves.

One final time: What do you want on your tombstone? If you have a blog, make a post on this topic. If you don’t, feel free to answer the questions in the comments.

Plan to Go Big

Vegas is a great place for thinkers and visionaries to go. It goes “at the speed of life” to every extent of the phrase. I was in Vegas the last 4 days and the same subject to write on was underlined everywhere I went. While in the casinos, I noticed the new ones had gigantic, multi-level parking garages. They of course aren’t filled yet but I am sure they will be soon and the new casinos will be ready. We stayed in one on the older end of the strip our first night and were barely able to find a spot. Let me remind any of you who have been on vacation with a family how much bad parking situations suck.

The newer resorts we stayed in had mega parking. They are thinking ahead. We stayed in a total of 3 resorts and in the third one, everything seemed geared on going big in the near future. The folks at the Red Rock Resort in Summerline (about 10 miles off the strip) have created a “wide-open” atmosphere. Of all the places we stayed, it allowed me to relax and open my mind to new ideas. That is exactly what I need when I go to Vegas or anywhere else for a vacation.

I got the message to “plan to go big” for my teaching, blogging, and leading my family. What good is a temporary place when you can plan to be now in the vision you have for tomorrow. Maybe the founding fathers didn’t plan big enough and now we have all this “occupy Wall Street” bullshit going on. Or, maybe they just didn’t have enough information and now we have to rewrite the constitution. Either way, They planned and here we are.

Be rad, be quality, burn baby burn … in the end we are all just melting snowflakes so plan to go big. You already know what to do if you don’t go big but what if you do? Be ready.

On my tombstone, I would have it say 2 of 3 things:

1) Here lies Damien, he planned to go big but never did.
2) Here lies Damien, he went big and planned for it.
-or-
3) Here lies Damien, he went big but didn’t plan for it.

Plan big, because epitaph 1 is better than 3.

Save Today’s Sun for Tomorrow’s Rain

When I’m in raw nature, I get inspired and feel peaceful. I think about the beauty around me as I swim, hike, relax, and make bonfires. I don’t miss a thing. One thing I fail to consider sometimes is that I am recording memories that I will summon throughout my life. I can use these as an escape from any stressful situation. Continue reading “Save Today’s Sun for Tomorrow’s Rain”

Customer Service and its Conundrums

I grew up in retail. My first job was at a grocery store then I spent over 10 years working for Pizza Hut. After that, I became a teacher where I have needed to handle customer satisfaction issues with students and parents from time to time. The first lesson of customer service is: never lose your cool. They are there for a reason and you need to take their complaints/needs 100% seriously. Without them there is no system. The measure of an argument’s success with customers is how well you kept your cool and how well you satisfied their complaint. This is simple logic that anyone in teaching or retail needs to remember. If we don’t remember this, no one is happy and that can lead to a breakdown of any company or system.

So what about when the customer is wrong? It’s been said, “The customer is always right.” That’s an illogical statement. What you can say, if you are using absolute statements like “always,” is that the customer is always “the customer.” Sometimes the customer is right and sometimes they are wrong. Being kind as you are realistic about what you can do for the customer should be second nature to anyone dealing with the public. We should never get so set in our ways that we let “gut reactions” cause us to be rude or even yell at them. Let the payoff be that you can celebrate when you’ve kept your cool. It is very gratifying also when you can get to a win/win with the customer, you feeling good because you solved the problem and them feeling good as well. If you ever get a direct complaint from a customer, return their call right away because if they want to talk, they are still open to resolving it with you. It’s not always true but sometimes when they go above your head they aren’t interested in resolution, they want blood (metaphorically). Good luck as you navigate customer service and its conundrums.