Showing posts with label Pay Attention. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pay Attention. Show all posts

Monday, July 23, 2012

Grocery Stores and Making People Feel Valued

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
 but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 
– Maya Angelou (American author (1928- )

On a recent weekend morning my husband Lee and I were running errands. We had five different grocery stores on our list because there were items we wanted that only a specific store carried.

And of course, that meant going through five different check-out lines.

It was fascinating to observe the culture of the store reflected in the person who checked us out.

In some cases the cashier never looked at us directly. The focus was on handling the tasks at hand – scanning the items and processing the transaction. If asked to later identify the customers who came through their lines, they couldn’t have done it because they hardly glanced up to see our faces.

At one store the cashier was engrossed in a conversation with another employee, talking about their upcoming break and days off. We might as well have been invisible because we were clearly not a priority.

And then there’s Trader Joe’s, our favorite place to shop. Not just because the food there is unique and delicious, which it is. (Every one of the salsa jars on their shelves contains fantastic flavors, for example.)

The food is just part of the secret to their growth, reputation and incredible base of raving customer fans.

Trader Joe’s makes a point of hiring people who actually like other people. So the employees (aka “crew members”) are downright friendly and helpful.

Which makes the experience of shopping there consistently positive and even fun.

If I appear to be searching for an item, crew members are proactive about approaching me to ask if they can help find something. They’ll go back to the stockroom to see if a specific product has come in or dash over to the computer system to check when it will arrive. And many times when I put something in my cart, an employee notices and spontaneously recommends a recipe that’s especially good with the product.

When we check out, the cashier looks at us, SMILES, and carries on an engaging conversation.

It’s a memorable, enjoyable experience every time, and as much as we dislike shopping in general, we actually look forward to going to Trader Joe’s.

If you own a store, the lessons here are obvious. But if you don’t, there are still important take-aways that you can apply to every relationship in your life.

Think about the people you come in contact with in your work and in your personal life.

What kind of experience do you create for them when they interact with you? Are you fully present? Do you really look at them and make them feel valued and important? Are you really paying attention to what they’re saying and “getting” the message they’re trying to send you?

It’s easy to be pre-occupied with your own thoughts and priorities when someone is with you. You have to make an effort, and you have to want to connect in a meaningful way with the other person.

The rewards are huge if you develop the habit of giving your full attention to the individual you’re with at the moment. You convey with your words and your behavior that this person really matters to you. And when people feel they matter, it gives their own lives more meaning and purpose. They will feel good about themselves and about YOU.

Maya Angelou is right. People always remember how you made them feel.

Why not make a point of behaving with them in a way that elicits good feelings…every time?
“Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift of attention.” – Jim Rohn, American author (1930-2009)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pay Attention to What's Around You

In 1997 I became certified as a SCUBA diver. I don’t get to dive very often, but when I do, each experience is memorable. The ocean world holds an amazing array of plant and animal life that’s totally different from what we see on land. I’m the kind of person whose mind wanders into the future a lot, so diving helps me focus on the present moment in two important ways.

For one thing, there are gauges to check. I have to be aware of how much air I’ve got in my tank and how deep I’ve gone because those factors determine how long I can stay underwater.

And then…there’s simply taking in the beauty that lies beneath the surface. The brilliantly colored fish and coral reefs are breath-taking. I’ll never forget the time I spent several minutes face-to-face with a red grouper, both of us hovering just above the floor of the ocean. While I was studying this beautiful fish (and it, apparently, studying me in return), time seemed to stand still.

Even though there’s much to appreciate in your own life, you may not always be aware of the positives. That’s because you have to make a concentrated effort to absorb what’s happening around you.

When you’re busy analyzing the past, solving problems and planning for the future—all of which are necessary—you can overlook the wonders right in front of you. The moment passes and you haven’t really experienced it because your mind was somewhere else.

The solution is to keep your eyes wide open to whatever presents itself each moment. That way, you’ll see things you might otherwise ignore…

Like a spectacular sunset… 

Or flowers blooming along the side of the road… 

Or the person sitting in front of you who’s trying to tell you something important. If you’re not fully present, you’ll miss their tone of voice and facial expression. You won’t detect the thoughts and feeling behind their words.

Remember, it’s important to slow down and pay attention to the details of what’s going on around you. When you do, you’ll see that each moment is uniquely valuable and offers you an opportunity to enrich your life.
“One of the earliest lessons I learned as a child was that if you looked away from something, it might not be there when you looked back.” – John Edgar Wideman, American author (1941- )

Friday, August 27, 2010

Awareness - Focus on the present moment.

With all the speed and distractions of life today, it’s hard to pay attention to anything long enough to really experience it. But it's possible to slow down and appreciate the miracles presented to you each day. Discover why it’s so important to make the most of the present moment.

What’s one thing can you do to make sure you are fully present for each moment of your life today?
“Normally, we do not so much look at things as overlook them.” - Alan Watts, American philosopher

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” - Thornton Wilder, American playwright

"The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend."
- Henri Bergson, French philosopher

“You can observe a lot just by watching.” - Yogi Berra, American professional baseball player