Never Forget Who’s Paying You

If you have a job. Be thankful for those providing you an income.

Perhaps it’s a pet peeve of mine…maybe it’s generational…maybe it’s because in one day it seemed to happen everywhere I went, but I see a shortage of smiling, friendly faces in the work place. Some people simply don’t appear to enjoy their work and their customers get to experience that firsthand.

Perhaps it’s the way I was raised…

When I was 12 years old working in a grocery store for $1 an hour, I was proud of the $30 I took home each week. I put a smile on my face and treated customers well, even when I would have rather have been hanging out with my friends. Why? Because I was thankful for a job and knew their business at the store was helping to pay me. I’m not trying to sound boastful or arrogant or like a really old man 🙂 .  I wasn’t alone back then. It was the way most people I knew were raised also. (BTW, I’m not that old and never walked to school in the snow 🙂 )

I don’t know what’s changed…maybe it’s just me..but customer service seems to be lacking many places these days. In spite of the fact that many are looking for work, I seem to encounter employees who are rude, disinterested or just plain lazy many places I go. There still appears to be a desperate need for employees who are willing to work hard and be pleasant towards customers. I know small business owners who have agreed with and experience my observation.

Obviously there are plenty of places and individuals still offering a pleasant customer experience…I’ve had some very pleasant experiences with customer service even recently…so…if the shoe fits with this post wear it…otherwise I’ll see you next post, but if you have a job in…

Customer service

Retail

Restaurant

Medicine

TSA or other airport security

Government

And frankly…sometimes

Church

…if you have a job dealing with people, put your smile on, be pleasant to work with and be around, thank God for an income, and make your employer proud to write you a check each payday.

Any questions?

There. I feel much better.

Am I alone in recognizing the decline of customer appreciation skills? 

I also realize it goes both ways. Culturally speaking, the customer side may have changed too. I do know this…a pleasant attitude is more likely to attract a pleasant attitude. That’s why I’m making a pledge. If you work with me as a customer, I commit to giving you my best attitude as a customer. I’ll do my best to be a good part of your day. I realize how hard it is working with people everyday. I promise to be kind, courteous and patient (and that last one is hard for me 🙂 .) If tips are involved I will tip well. I’ll try to help you have a better day earning your income. Who’s with me in this? 

America’s Gonna Do It Again…

I grew up and live in the South. There was, and still is for some, a lot of pride in our state and region. When I was younger there was even a song…and kind of an attitude…that “the South’s gonna do it again…”

Frankly, I liked the tune, but I never was on the South doing it again bandwagon. (I never knew what we were going to do again.)

I was always more interested in the doing of our nation. Maybe it’s because I have always lived in a military town, so I’m passionately patriotic. Even though I’m now a pastor, called to different missions these days, I have a history with politics. I interned in Congress during college, I’ve served in numerous campaigns, and I’ve held an elected office.

I love our country.

I’ll be honest, maybe it’s just a perception thing…maybe it’s reality…

But it seems to me…

We’ve seen better days...

And we’ve seen worse days…far worse.

That’s not a political statement. It’s not against anyone. It’s a perception thing. I don’t see the pride of country developing in our young people I once saw. I hear more negative talk than positive talk.

Not as much as in years past, but I do still read/watch the news. We need more jobs. The economy struggles. The housing market…manufacturing…deficit… And, it seems to me, we are more divided than ever on deciding what to do about it…

Am I alone in this perception?

I wonder though what it would take to help our nation “do it again”…

A few more Christians praying?

A little more loving our neighbor?

Choosing to find some common ground?

Not looking for blame but for solutions?

Centering our thoughts on how blessed we are as people? (We still are…)

Using common sense in leadership and government? (In every party and every level…)

Looking for the positives instead of negatives?

It may be a simplistic approach, but I wonder if we started acting again like Americans, who by the way have a history as overcoming the odds, if we might see more of the America we love again… I honestly believe much of our problem these days is in our attitudes, as much as in our actions. Improve our resolve and we’ll improve our results. It works for individuals, organizations and nations. (Again, I said it was a simplistic approach.)

What do you think?

Will you join me in praying for our nation? 

(Interestingly, I’ve held this post for a couple weeks before making it live. I don’t want to appear political, yet I am concerned about our nation. Since then I received a mass email from Starbuck’s CEO Howard Schultz, stating that he is organizing a group of 100 business leaders to lobby Washington on behalf of the nation. Unprecedented. You can read more about that effort HERE.)

Scripture Memorization, Week 36

It’s been a long week. God was more real than ever before, but I was a true pastor this week. There were more needs than I had time or energy. On weeks like this, I need this type reminder.

Here is this week’s memory verse:

I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, Lord, make me live in safety. Psalm 4:8

God only knows what another week has for us.

Do you need this reminder?

Introducing: Open Church

Kent Shaffer is the mind behind Church Relevance and other online ministry resources. Kent is one of my early mentors for my blog and has since become not only a social media friend, but someone I’ve been able to hang out with a few times. I learned how to leverage influence by watching Kent online.

Now Kent has a new project and I’m excited to help introduce it to you here.

Introducing Open Church

Open Church is a nonprofit designed to empower global church leaders to equip each other with ministry ideas and free downloadable resources. You can visit http://openchurch.com to learn more about it, but consider this diagram to fuel some thoughts:

Be honest, did you know 80% of global church influencers are Americans, but Americans are only 10% of Christians? Have you even thought about learning from Christians around the world? Do you think they may have something they could teach us as Americans?

Social media has made the world a smaller place. I interact with pastors around the world everyday. Open Church is designed to allow believers to truly learn from one another.

Still want to know more? Check out this brochure for Open Church HERE.

We can only see what we can see…

I say this often…

We can only see what we can see…

I don’t know why…

I just find times that it seems to fit…

Sometimes the simplest statements have the largest meaning…

The fact is…

We can only see what we can see…

The rest requires faith…

In my experience, sometimes God lets you see miles down the road…

He told me once, for example, to plant a church…

17 months later we launched…

(That was after the 10 years I ignored what He was saying…but that’s another story…)

Sometimes God lets you see only a few steps…

It was that way when God called me into ministry…

I had no idea where I was headed next…

I could only see what I could see…

The rest required faith…

When you can’t see beyond the steps…and even when you can…

Remember “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7)

Because…

We can only see what we can see…

What about you?

Are you seeing the miles…or are you seeing the steps?

Scripture Memorization, Week 35

This week’s memory verse is not a complete verse, but the point I think it makes is captured in the first part of the verse.

Do you understand all the ways of God? Do you have questions about what God allows? Do you sometimes doubt?

Then this week’s verse is for you!

Please enjoy (and memorize) this week’s memory verse:

The secret things belong to the Lord our God…

Deuteronomy 29:29

Any questions?

A Week with Zig Ziglar: Part 5

I continue to share this week I”m sharing an interview I did recently with leadership master and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar.

Here are the past posts in this series:

Part 1 

Part 2 

Part 3 

Part 4

My questions are in bold, followed by Zig’s answers. Occasionally, Zig’s son Tom interjects some thoughts. My personal notes and thoughts are in parentheses.

Here is part 5 of my interview with Zig Ziglar:

If you were starting over in your career today, would you do anything differently?

No, here’s why…

If you say what you’re going to do…go do it…no excuses…
I lived by that…and I’d do that all over again…

What was the tipping point in your career?

Tom: His faith…

When he became a Christian, his motivations changed. When he purposed in his heart to do it God’s way…everything changed…

Zig: I remember saying, “You know what God? I’ve always done it my way…now I’m going to do it your way…”

(When Zig became a believer he was broke and in debt. Since then, he’s never even had to ask for a speaking engagement…)

What advice would you give to young leaders entering their careers today?

Whatever you are going to do…talk about your family.

If you are just getting into sales…talk about your family….here’s why (always have a why)…it makes you more real and people trust you…

Whatever you are going to do…talk about your family.

(He went on to explain again that family is the most important thing in a person’s life apart from faith in God. And then he said, “I’m still courting the pretty redhead.” 🙂 )

What concerns you most about the changes you see taking place in today’s workplace?

We need to protect the family. Some things aren’t relative…my wife would never ask, “Were you relatively faithful this trip?”

There are some absolute truths…when it comes to integrity, honesty, character…society sees them as relative, but they are absolute truths.

So you’re famous for motivational speaking. Do you ever have days when you are not motivated?

(Emphatically) Not ever!

I know exactly when I go to bed what I’m going to be doing tomorrow, because I’ve already thought about it. I wake up planned for the day. It helps remove the stress from the day.

I’ve always believed if you are a Christian you are so grateful because you know where you’ll spend eternity.

(Zig Ziglar is such a gracious man…As we ended our conversation he said, “I’m grateful that you took the time to call me today...”  Wow! What a generous leader!)

Have you enjoyed my interview with Zig Ziglar this week?

A Week with Zig Ziglar: Part 4

I continue to share this week I”m sharing an interview I did recently with leadership master and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar. If you missed part 1, click HERE or part 2 HERE and find part 3 HERE.

My questions are in bold, followed by Zig’s answers. Occasionally, Zig’s son Tom interjects some thoughts. My personal notes and thoughts are in parentheses.

Here is part 4 of my interview with Zig:

I learned one thing well talking to Zig Ziglar. An interview with Zig is a lesson in note-taking. He can spill out wisdom faster than one can type.

Here were some random quotes I was able to capture:

  • You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want…that works in the home, business, community and church.
  • If you thought before you talked, you’d have a better chance of coming up with the best answer.
  • I don’t linger very long before I take action on something. If I get an idea…I act on it…
  • One reason some people never wrote a book, is because no one ever told them they could…
  • Always have a notebook…two hours later I think…“What was that thought?”
  • If I think about it…I’m going do it…
  • Don’t ever tell people what you can’t do…if you don’t think you can do it…you’ll be right…
  • The more you know about anything the more creative you are…
  • The best way to close a sale, help them be a better person…
  • If people don’t trust what you say, they’re not going to listen to what you say…
  • Unless they have a why…most people don’t want to answer…Always explain the why if you are going to tell someone what to do…because then it will make sense to them…
  • Let your children hear you talking lovingly to your spouse….I always tell my wife, “I’m having more fun with you today than I did yesterday.” Let the kids hear you having fun together…(Zig has been married 64 years…)
  • I’m careful about who I read and who I listen to…
  • Tom: When Dad is reading a book, he quickly wants to see if the author is going to explain why as much as how…Dad also says, “Some people quit growing and start swelling.”
(I’m certain I missed some, but these were the ones I could capture.)

Click HERE for part 5 and the conclusion of my interview with Zig and learn the “tipping point” of his career.