Not sure how to meditate? | Try a gratitude breakfast

cerealMany people tell me that they’re not sure how to meditate every day. Their brains get distracted, or their morning sleep-in gets in the way. The days slip by in busyness and then they forget altogether.

Meditation doesn’t always mean sitting cross-legged, on a mountain, chanting words to attain inner peace. At its simplest, meditation is focus and focus practiced regularly creates astounding results.

If you have trouble meditating try this simple practice at breakfast-time. As you make your breakfast consider each food and liquid and where they came from. Set your space at the table with deliberation, with the intention of feeling grateful for the food you are about to eat.

With each mouthful consider who helped it get to your table and offer thanks for their work. Consider and thank also:

  • the farmer who planted it, and their staff
  • the animals that were part of the process
  • the person that prayed for rain so that the crops would grow
  • the transporter of the raw materials
  • the manufacturer who formed it into the shape for your plate
  • the person who designed the recipe
  • the people who saw it on the process line
  • the people who stacked it on your shelf

And there may be more. A simple thanks makes the world of difference to our hearts and to the world around us.

Practiced regularly the food that you eat for breakfast becomes even more healthy for you.


Source: Million Dollar Relationships

The best laid plans | How I feel unsafe as a customer

I opened the door in my dressing gown this morning at 8.30 am and said, “You guys said you would ring me first!”

The floor installer replied, “Oh yeh, they lost the plans.” I assume that ‘they’ is the flooring company. “So what do we have to do today?” He asked me. That’s why the man came and drew up the plans, I thought.

I take him through the house and point out my non-negotiables. He tells me then that it looks like more than a day’s work. I reply that I was under the impression that it was a 2 day job. He then comments shortly that it looks like it’s going to be a 3 day job and that he’d be back soon after a trip to get more materials and a phone call to check he was going to get paid for the extra days.

I’m a pretty fussy customer. I’m so fussy that I often don’t haggle the guts out of price to make sure I get a premium job. Don’t get me wrong, if I think there is a commercial risk, I do negotiate to stay safe – but generally I pay well for a job I am confident that will delight me. Bear in mind that I have already paid for my floor and install in full – many thousands of dollars – and I know that these guys are independent installers for the company I chose but at this stage I am starting to question the result and my ensuing delight before they even begin. I must admin I was probably a bit heavy handed with my demands. I was scared that I wasn’t going to get what I asked for. I’m sure they were happy that I was heading off to work and handing control to my milder-mannered husband.

I did jump in the car, go to the store and tell them my concerns on my way to work. They shook their heads, copied the plan and I took it back home to the installers.

The job’s just begun – I’ll let you know in 3 days what the outcome is, but here are the four learnings from this for me for my own business:

  1. Always have a plan. Customers like to feel safe. They like a predictable outcome for their investment of time, energy and money and starting without a plan is not the best way to engender confidence. Having a plan creates safety and means that they feel as though they were listened to and understood. A plan is really just a customised system that you are following to make sure you deliver the product, service or experience that you promised.
  2. Customers don’t care about our problems. They want to know that you know your stuff and that you will deliver what you have promised.
  3. Contractors are representing your brand too, even if they don’t work directly for you and they need to follow your plan or system to make your customers feel safe. Whether they are an installer, a builder, the postman or a courier, you are paying them to be your representative. Make sure you pay premium contractors and make it very clear that they are offering your service to your customer.
  4. When you do have a problem, have a back-up plan. Customers really want to forgive us when we screw up, so make sure there something concrete in place to make them feel more comfortable.

Having to drive to the store to get their plan was not idea, but at least I felt better about the potential of the job. Most customers wouldn’t bother.

So how are you keeping your customers safe? What’s your plan?

Source: Million Dollar Relationships

A Clever Email Marketing Example

I am a quick reader and I read and quickly delete many of the emails that jump into my inbox. Unless they attract my attention they are quickly gone. Craig from Tech Precision sent an email this week that I thought was very clever.  I want to share it with you. Note they don’t know that I am publishing this so this is not a testimonial but a shout out to clever marketing.

Here’s what caught my attention

  • They made it about me, not all about them
  • The content was amusing
  • The advice was comprehensive.

Congratulations Tech Precision, very clever

The Subject: Danielle, What were you doing in 2003?

You weren’t using:
An iphone – Launched 2007
An ipad – Launched 2010
Watching YouTube – Launched in 2005
Or using Facebook – founded 2004

You may have watched:
Finding Nemo
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
The Matrix Reloaded

You may have been:
Using MySpace – the big thing before Facebook.
Using a new ipod  –  First 1 million sold – April 2003
or just started using iTunes downloads – launched 2003
Or may have just started playing with Linkedin  – Launched 2003
Or purchased the last production of the original VW beetle, number 21,529,464 – Mexico 2003

Many would  have just installed Windows Server 2003…

Do you still have Windows Server 2003? Here are 5 reasons why you could stick with this old software:

  1. Compatibility issues – live on the edge

In its recent alert, US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness team) warned that not upgrading from Windows Server 2003 could cause software and hardware compatibility issues, as most new applications will not be built for the operating system.

From a security perspective, that lack of compatibility can cause problems as older apps will need to be carefully isolated thoughtfully from the environment in order to be secure.

So don’t upgrade – live on the edge and see if your software keeps working with future updates. What’s the down side?

  1. Opening the floodgates – challenge the nasties of the internet.

Security experts agree the big-picture challenge for companies is that Windows Server 2003 vulnerabilities open the door for threats to the rest of the environment. This means other areas of your system that are thought to be secure might no longer be.

“If there’s a breach in one of those dozens and dozens of applications (running on the Server 2003) that could be exploited, then that could be, in effect, passed on to the other applications that could be secure” Samad Ali Vice president of HP Solutions at Logicalis US said.

So don’t do it – again live on the edge – challenge the nasties of the internet world to see if they can cause your business a problem. What’s the down side?

  1. Compliance – sneak it through the next audit?

While not a security vulnerability itself, businesses who must comply with regulatory compliance standards face extra security challengers by not upgrading Server 2003.

As security and compliance are usually tied tightly together, opening a major security vulnerability into a company’s environment could automatically violate compliance regulations, and put it in danger of earning a hefty fine.

So don’t do it – if you are in a heavily regulated industry do you really have to follow the rules? Couldn’t you sneak it through the next audit?

  1. Old Malware – take a chance.

It’s not just new malware threats that face those who don’t upgrade from Server 2003. There are also old, lingering threats that have been upgraded to exploit the systems – this coming from security experts.

This is a trend that has been seen again and again in the security industry as businesses and users continually fail to take measures to wrap secure policies around their systems.

So don’t do it – the chances of malware sneaking into your system and wiping out the business shouldn’t worry you that much. Should it?

  1. Patched Vulnerabilities – It can’t impact your business to much, could it?

At its most basic level, the end of support date for Windows Server 2003 means an end to regular patches for known vulnerabilities, resulting in an “elevated risk to cybersecurity dangers,” according to a November US-CERT alert.

For perspective Microsoft issued 61 security bulletins for the technology in 2014 and has already issued 25 security bulletins since the beginning of this year.

“Computers running the Windows Server 2003 operating system will continue to work after support ends. However, using unsupported software may increase the risk of viruses and other security threats. Negative consequences could include loss of confidentially, integrity and or availability of data, system resources and business assets,” the alert said.

Again do nothing – the server will continue to work just you are more exposed to attacks. It can’t impact your business to much could it?

Why so much Sarcasm?

In the IT industry you often hear about fear uncertainty and doubt. We only have ourselves within the industry to blame because this is often presented to clients in areas where it’s perhaps not so needed. I apologise for some of my sarcasm in this email-update.

The idea for using this methodology in this update is because staying with Server 2003 is going to cause your business future issues and should you really need to be planning to do something before the business becomes exposed and the issues possibly end up costing you much more. It’s not a matter of might something happen – it’s a matter of when something will happen.

So to be clear:

“After July 14, Microsoft will no longer issue security updates for any version of Windows Server 2003. If you are still running Windows Server 2003 in your datacentre, you need to take steps now to plan and execute a migration strategy to protect your infrastructure.”

Are you confident? Are you making the right changes? Do you need to embrace change?

For independent advice, please contact Tech Precision. We’ll help you relax.

I will leave you with this email quote;

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”

— Galileo Galilei, astronomer

Source: Million Dollar Relationships

People Who Serve Exceptionally Well Do These Five Things

Delivering great customer service is definitely an art. Some people do it well and others, well, suffice to say they could do with a few pointers.

The truth is that everyone serves someone. Sometimes that someone is the end customer and other times that someone is serving the person that serves the customer. In other words, they might be our internal customer but whomever we serve, we do so because we want some reward for our work.

Even our families are our customers. We want reward for our daily work for them in the form of their support, their cooperation or their love and appreciation.Good Service 5 things

If you want someone to reward you loyally for your endeavours, here are five things to do that will “serve you best” to get what you need from the people around you.

1. Be Present
Being Present means to be focussed on the communication at hand, not busy thinking about what we are going to say next, not thinking about what happened in the past and most definitely not focussing on what is happening in the distance (i.e. in the online world). Put that mobile device down, leave your problems at the door and focus intently on what the other person has to say. They are, right in that moment, your priority.

2. Pay Attention
Pay attention to more than just the words that are being spoken. Listen for pace and underlying messages and repeat parts of the conversation for clarity. If nothing else, your ability to match their communication style will help them to feel as though you understand them. And if they are less than happy, repeating their words will make them feel heard, a valuable communication skill in any situation.

3. Be Gracious
Grace is an often forgotten quality. It means to accept others for who they are without having to change them. It means to not react to their behaviour with our own internal stuff and also means not to blame others for the problems they might have encountered. It’s sometimes called unconditional love and it’s hard to do all the time but most people appreciate being accepted for who they are. Your grace will go a long way to building solid relationships.

4. Be Grateful
Much has been said about gratitude over the past 20 years. Gratitude means to be thankful for what we have and for what other people give us and for the situations we find ourselves in. Most people appreciate being thanked. After all they made a choice to spend time with us, as an external or internal customer. Too much gratitude can become a little tiresome though; being aware of why you thank people is a rare and fine quality. To be truly grateful without needing thanks in return is the ideal way to say thanks.

5. Be Reliable
Consistency is one of the foundations of great relationships and customer service. Mssrs Sands and Hallmark knew this, that is why Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Anniversaries are held every year, with all the card paraphernalia we could possibly need to remind us to say “hi” to the people we love. Reliability is actually a series of processes that make up an easy to follow system. Ad hoc performances can be so hit and miss and leave our internal and external customers feeling confused. And we all know a confused customer is less likely to buy than one who trusts that we will deliver what we say.

How many of these qualities do you display when talking to your customers? Most of us operate from our natural strengths and our habits and whilst it’s hard to change ourselves radically, small changes made consistently can make a massive difference to our results. I’d highly recommend buying a packet of post-it-notes and leaving little reminders for you to see when you next interact with your customers.

Doing so will vastly enhance your communication with internal and external customers and help you grow those relationships that make everyone feel like a million dollars.


Source: Million Dollar Relationships

Are you lazy? Does it hold you back or propel you forward?

Are you lazy? Are you Lazy

On the weekend I went to deliver some donation items to the Salvos in Ferntree Gully. It was 4pm and I was delighted that their donation roller-door was still up. Their warehouse was spotless but their response to me, their loyal customer, wasn’t. Unfortunately they refused to take my van full of great items. I think they were being lazy. It was nearly home time and they didn’t want to bother dealing with it.

It got me thinking about laziness. See, I am a lazy person – or to put it another way – I am great at being lazy. Until it begins to affect my relationships. In business I am the lazy person that always finds the best and quickest way to get things done – without missing a deadline or slipping into doing a shoddy job of course. I am great at self-care and I know my boundaries and how to say no.

I was surprised how angry I was when the store refused to take my goods. As a 15 year customer I expected better service. Fortunately, I drove to the Rowville Salvos store where the lovely Steve gratefully accepted my load. He deserves an award for customer service; I really hope he gets one. He’ll certainly get my custom from now on.

Are you a lazy person? Does it affect your performance or does it enhance your ability to get things done? And do you know the markers that signal when laziness is becoming unhealthy for you? For some people those markers are internal, perhaps a feeling of guilt and for others it’s indications of dissatisfaction emanating from the people around them. Laziness at its unhealthiest causes incongruence in relationships – with self and with others. If you can shift from lazy to industrious when you sense those markers you will likely find a happy balance and be able to celebrate being lazy. You’ll be able to celebrate that you know how to look after yourself.

I’d love to hear your take on “lazy”. Are you lazy? What are your markers to find that moving balance?

Source: Million Dollar Relationships