Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 177, May 2014 )
Follow me on Twitter! You can find me here:
And find me on Facebook:
Free consulting newsletter: The Million Dollar Consulting® Mindset:
Few things, conditions, or eventualities ever make me speechless, but I'll admit to one questions which brings me to a roaring stop, ceramic brakes engaged and radical downshifting in action: "What will make you happy?"
I have a healthsense of healthy outrage. I expect people to make things right when they've first made them wrong. And I'm gratified 95 percent of the time by the response of a refund, or free night at the inn, or gift certificate, or special offer. But when they say, "You're right, we're wrong, what will make you happy?" I usually stammer, "Well, that's ah, er, good to know. I'm okay."
My point here being that we take on too much pressure, too much responsibility. Acknowledging and accepting responsibility for an error is laudatory, but then transferring the redemption to the aggrieved party is rather fitting (and brilliant). The therapist asks, "Well how do YOU feel about that?" when we seek the therapist's approval or remedy. In the Confessional, the priest says, "And do you think that was wrong?" (When I converted eight years ago I expected to be harshly reprimanded, not treated as a responsible adult!)
I had the good (and bizarre) fortune to meet Bill Oncken in the 70s, the legendary time management guru. He told us never to allow others to leave a "monkey" on our desk. I took that to heart, as many of you can attest, and never allow anyone to delegate to me (unless you've been married to me for 45 years). I think the same applies to penance for errors and sins committed: I've admitted it, now tell me what you need, because I don't want the burden of having to suggest it.
Ritz-Carlton, of the "ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen" fame (and too often deteriorated under Marriott ownership) famously used to empower employees to spend up to $2,500 to please an unhappy guest with a legitimate (or even vague) grievance. The problem is that employees, using "house" money and not their own, routinely over-compensated for the problem. They'd offer a free night when a dinner would have sufficed, a free dinner when a drink would have done the trick, a drink when a simple apology would end the issue. I believe that policy has since been abandoned under Marriott parsimony.
So, we all make errors. Ask the aggrieved party what will make them happy. It's often less than you'd imagine but more than enough.
The human condition: Hedonism
Hedonism gets a bad name. It's simply the pursuit of personal pleasure. Aristippus, a student of Socrates, is usually credited with the creation of "ethical hedonism."
I'm not talking about the more colloquial version, where personal pleasure is the sole goal, even at the expense of others. I'm talking, rather, about a philosophy of being comfortable and guilt-free in providing yourself with salutary circumstances.
I spoke to someone recently who has been under significant business pressure and has decided to relieve the tension and stress with six weeks in Spain with his family. He feels it's his due, and I agree. It's a wonderful reaction.
Yet I find many people—and, I beg you not to throw tomatoes at my cars—women are far worse at this than men, and they'll go to a spa for a massage to relieve stress while feeling so guilty that they build up more stress than the masseuse can relieve! (Do not lie to me, you know whom I'm talking to.)
What's wrong with treating yourself well if it enables you to treat others well? If I feel good about myself, I feel good about my work and my contributions. I don't mind traveling, or making extra efforts, or extending favors, if I am feeling good about it (as opposed to feeling prevailed upon or taken advantage of.) If you are in "doom loop" of feeling guilty every time you give yourself a break, the result isn't "merely" your own stress levels skyrocketing—it's also a deterioration of your ability to be effective and powerful.
If you are paying for or earning the privilege, why shouldn't you take pleasure in a limo, a suite, a first class suite? A starlet of the 1930s famously remarked, "A private railroad car is not an acquired taste. One gets used to it instantly."
So long as your endeavors are not at the expense of others, why not renew and regenerate your energy by treating yourself well? The airlines tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first before attempting to help others. You also need to attend to your own happiness first before supporting the happiness of others.
Hedonism gets a bad rep. There's nothing wrong with treating yourself well so long as you're treating others well.
RATIONAL PROCESS FOR THOUGHT LEADERS
IMPROV WORKSHOP: IMPROBABLY IMPROV
SPEAKING WITH ALAN
MILLION DOLLAR CONSULTING® COLLEGE
THOUGHT LEADERSHIP 2014
THE WEEKLY SABBATICAL
QUARTERLY TELECONFERENCE ON PERSONAL GROWTH
THE ALAN CARD and THE BENTLEY CARD now available for 2014:
SPECIAL ENDORSED PROGRAMMING
Digital Empire Creation
Balancing Act® is our registered trademark. You are encouraged to share the contents with others with appropriate attribution. Please use the ® whenever the phrase "Balancing Act" is used in connection with this newsletter or our workshops.
See Writing on the Wall, featuring Koufax the Wonder Dog.
Visit my blog
Two new podcasts every week. Special cigar smoking room.
Thought leaders don't have to justify their positions. Their expertise grants them the privilege of making predictions, citing best practices, and offering new ideas.—Alan Weiss
Having problems viewing this email, click
All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2013 Summit Consulting Group