Sunday, January 23, 2011

Guest Blog: Life Based on Wrong Assumptions?

What is the implication if we are living life based on the wrong assumption(s)? We all know that if we look back in history it is easily seen. At one time, between 1480 and 1700’s, we executed women because we thought they were witches. At one time the only people that had rights were kings and priests. We all chuckle and think it’s unbelievable that they thought that way; we would never do something as foolish as that. What happens if we do, what if these assumptions are so much part of the air that we breath that we do not see them?

What is the impact of basing our actions on the wrong assumption? An easy example is if you are at the airport renting a car and grab the wrong map. You try to get to where you are going and you get lost. Along with not getting where we want to go, we have the emotion that goes along with it, like being confused or frustrated. Being a professional in the software development field for many years, the biggest mistake in trying to resolve a bug in the software was making a wrong assumption on where you thought the problem was. Many times we spent hours and even days looking for the problem in the wrong area because we made an assumption rather than allow the facts to drive the direction of where and how we look for the bug. Also, during the process, there are all the emotions that go along with trying to get somewhere or solve a problem such as frustration, anger, and confusion which is also accompanied with our assessment which impacts our beliefs of ourselves. While these emotions can be positive, most of them are not. This repeated over time usually results in what we think as possible to shrink.

What are your assumptions? I claim they are all over our lives. They are in our beliefs and perception of how life shows up for us. And it’s not just you or me. These assumptions live in our institutions. There are many in our education institutions, in the institution of marriage, in our market economy, etc. Just look at marriage, 50% of first time marriages end in divorce, 67% of second time marriages and 74% of third time marriages. Underlying this level of failure are unexamined assumptions or beliefs.

Let me give you 2 examples from my life. When I was in my teens and twenties there was always a friction between my parents. So much so it got to the point that is was easier just to avoid them, just not be around. Not uncommon, yet I discovered something through the EST training that changed my life. Shortly after the training I had this desire, this internal pull to be with my parents. That was odd, especially given that I was living in upstate New York, some 4 hours away, which would mean taking a whole weekend to visit them. My underlying assumption was that my parents were always telling me what to do, and I kepttrying to let them know that I was 25 years old, living on my own, “please give me a break”. I took it to mean that they saw something lacking in me. This was the friction. Yet this time the experience was different. There was no friction, and in fact, there was an easiness about being with my parents. Here is what shifted; while my parents acted the same, I had a new understanding. My parents telling me what to do was their way of expressing their love for me and this would never change. See, love is a verb; it takes form in our actions. So I could allow their expression and did not have to react to it or prove anything. Ten years later my mother was still telling me when I was visiting to come home early. I would just smile and tell her; “I love you too”, then kiss her and leave smiling.

Another situation occurred while in St. Lawrence Hospital when I was with Marcie while a doctor examined her. He spoke to me afterward and told me that Marcie would never walk again. Yet, in this case, I did not accept his declaration. I felt that his assumptions were not correct. Marcie and I worked on her legs and did other exercises and within 2 months she walked out of the hospital.

We have been told throughout our lives that our DNA determines what is possible, that our genetics determine our physical possibilities. Yet that has been changing and a new science called epigenetics states that something outside of genes determines behavior. That outside influence is our thoughts and belief’s. Now science has new evidence of this. What if what you believe has a direct impact on your life? Bruce Lipton has written a book, “The Biology of Belief” that is based on scientific research that goes in depth on his findings.

So, what is possible if we start operating from the correct map? What would you do if you could not fail? I do know from direct experience that our thoughts shape our experience and our possibilities. Remember; shift how you look at things and what you look at changes.

-- John Wienecke

Monday, January 10, 2011

Customer Disservice: When Personal Drama Effects Professional Drive

Steve is having a financial crisis. Steve is in over his head and is quickly running out of options. He says he has sterling credit and a home that is worth far more than the remaining mortgage, yet he cannot get a home equity loan. Steve has children that are in college and is struggling to find the money he needs while putting the kids through school. How do I know all of this? Steve is a tour guide in Boston. More specifically, Steve was my tour guide in Boston.

My family and I just returned from Boston for a trip that was part business, but mostly pleasure. As January in Boston is not known for its mild weather, we opted to spend our sightseeing hours in the comfort of one of the tour trolleys that proliferate this beautiful and historic city. We felt that we made a wise choice when our guide, Mike, was not only knowledgeable and entertaining, but also personalized the tour as we were the only group on the trolley while we were riding with him.

What did Mike do right? He learned about my husband and me by asking questions, then pointed out items and fun facts that he thought would specifically pertain to what we most enjoyed. When we stopped for a 15 minute potty break, he gave us directions to the cleanest restroom for changing the baby and even a spot where we could get a free chocolate milk for our four year old son. Before we hopped off the trolley for lunch, he made suggestions for eating establishments and assured us that we could pop back on any of the trolleys at any time and would receive exceptional service.

Mike was right about dining (I ordered the chocolate sambuca cake he suggested and he was right, I nearly died from joy), but he was wrong about the service of his fellow tour guide. Steve offered to drive us directly to our hotel rather than make the customary stops, but the excellent service ended there. As soon as we were on board, Steve fired up his cell phone and spent half of the ride negotiating finances. When he was off, he apologized, then proceeded to tell us of his financial difficulties until he was near tears and even my eight-month old seemed uncomfortable. Noticing the looks my husband and I were exchanging, he apologized again, pointed out the architecture of a building nearby, then promptly dove into a diatribe on the banking industry and the economy in general.

What did Steve do wrong? Basically, everything. Whereas Mike allowed his personal experiences to enhance his customer service, Steve allowed his personal experiences to not only interfere but to completely overwhelm the task at hand. Steve’s lack of professionalism affected him personally as he received a smaller tip from us, and it also affected the company as a whole. Whereas our experience with the first tour guide left us wanting more, the experience with number two cost the company repeat business and valuable word of mouth. Imagine Steve conducting tours eight hours a day, five days each week, fifty weeks per year. Granted, he may not always be experiencing a “financial crisis” (his words), but it is clear that he does not know when to leave his personal life at home and it became clear to us that the tour company does not put customer service first.