Tag Archives: business

How to Improve Customer Service

Customer service. It’s a pet-peeve of mine.

Good service, bad service. Good customers, bad customers.

Here’s some simple techniques on how to improve customer service, whether your business is online or off, brick ‘n mortar or virtual. We’re all customers at some point, and we all deliver customer service sometimes… whether we realize it or not.

Follow this one basic rule and even if you DON’T attend all the seminars or read all the books or focus on honing your skills… your customer service skills will open many doors for you.

Join the conversation below, and add your comments.






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How to Choose the Best Network Marketing Company

So, maybe you’ve read a previous article about network marketing and the companies that utilize direct sales as their marketing and distribution platform.  And, maybe (hopefully) you’ve taken the next step and reviewed Robert Kiyosaki’s video describing the type of person who will do best in network marketing.  If not, you may want to do that now.  Okay, now that we’re square on that, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

First, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:

Not all network marketing companies are created equal, in my opinion.

Second, they span across a multitude of industries.  As of today’s date, when I Google “network marketing companies”, there are 52,500,000 results!  Yes, that’s 52 million.

52,500,000 Network Marketing Results in Google

Now, in all fairness, it is Google, so it’s also likely that not ALL 52+ million results are actual companies.  Some of these results are likely network marketing haters and nay-sayers posting videos and articles bashing one company or another.  Still, there are a lot!  Agreed?

How do you even begin to find the right one for you??

Although I’m really going to hone in on the business-savvy and logical aspects of targeting the best network marketing companies, I also believe whole-heartedly that it’s vital to find one that’s aligned with you, your personality, and your passions.  Why?  Because it’s going to be difficult to do what you need to do if you’re dreading dumping yourself out of bed every morning and there’s nobody and nothing “there” to motivate you to do it – like a boss who you have to answer to if you’re late… again.

So, to begin with, I think it’s best to ask yourself what’s really important to you about a company you’re going to align yourself with.  Truthfully, this should be a consideration and thought process that takes place whether it’s network marketing or a traditional employment situation.  I mean, you can get just as burned out (if not moreso) at your j-o-b than working as an independent contractor in a network marketing situation.  If you’re in alignment, that’s less likely to happen.

Where do you begin paring down 52 million results, though?                        Man holding head leaning by question mark

Well, for me, some important things were:

  • transparency (in dealings, complaints, value, compensation, and so on)
  • a fairly wide open market (leaving plenty of room for growth in all directions)
  • stability (I think the stats are something like: 50% of all new companies – traditional or not – fail within the first five years and 50% of those remaining fail within the second five years)
  • leadership (both of the company and my sponsor)
  • consumable products (or at least those that I can see people paying a monthly subscription for)

When you start looking at these things, the list gets shortened pretty darn fast.  Believe me, though, I’m in no way trying to say that even with all these things in place a publicly-traded company – with all it’s “transparency”, years of operations, seemingly stable leadership, in-demand and barely tapped market, and needs-based products that are consumable – can’t dupe the American population.  They can and will – even with the government’s knowledge!  History has shown us that.  It’s no different than a traditional business, however – whether online or off – as we’ve witness by the dot-com bubble, real estate bubble, pending economic bubble, and the list goes on.  We’re just hedging our bets here.  Even with a traditional job, you can be hired this week and the business be insolvent in another one or two.  (This actually happened to a friend of mine.)

So, to further narrow down the search…  IF your list is similar to mine…  It may be wise to check into DSA (Direst Sales Association) registration, listings, complaints, and standing status.  See, the DSA only ranks about the top 200, I think, so you’ve now gone from 52 million to 200 with just this one criteria!  (For instance, the company I chose to align with is within the top 10, I believe, and is the only one in that range for its industry – health and wellness.)

New York Stock ExchangeWith this knowledge in hand, you should be able to wipe out the vast majority of even the DSA’s list of 200.

  • Find something you feel passionate about and can “get behind”
  • Check the DSA for stats, complaints, standings
  • Look at company performance on the NYSE

Next, are there any documented endorsement or testimonials.  Be sure you understand I said “documented”.  How come?  Because – especially with the use and ease of the internet – people can throw whatever they want up on a web site.  Again, using my company as an example:  Would you agree it’s pretty powerful to be able to tell people (customers and potential network marketers, alike) that the company’s products are endorsed by over 600 professional athletes – some of whom are Olympians??  I mean, those people are tested, right?  And they have to be in optimum physical condition.  Those things help in terms of customers wanting to do business with a company backed with that kind of confidence by people who use the very same products they’re considering using.  Plus, those building a home-based business within the company get the confidence of knowing that that very same confidence exists outside of themselves, their sponsor, or even the company president.

Then, the biggie:  earnings.  As discussed in a previous article, network marketing is a place where you can make no money, some money, or an Shiny Gold Dollar Signabsolute abundance of money… depending on your own focus, efforts, growth, etc.  The company’s statement of average earnings should be a great indicator if you’re serious about your business and know the income level you’re aiming for.  (Some people just want a little more money at the end of their month, and some want six and seven-figure earnings and beyond.)  Again, almost every company has at least a few who are or have been quite successful.  As is said in the industry, though:  “Those results are not typical.”  I’m the kind of person who (although I’m tend to be very optimistic) will always evaluate for worst-case scenario, knowing that everything above that is “gravy”… a “bonus”, if you will.  With that said, I look at a company’s average earning statements this way:  If I can accept the lowest amount on the statement for average earnings, then I’m pretty good with everything above that.  See, one of the companies I was a part of did have million-dollar earners… but the majority of people aligned with them made no money.  None.  Conversely, when I saw my current company was paying out an average part-time income of $25,000, that seemed reasonable to me.  (I supported my son and myself on less than that a few times during my 16 years as a single parent!)

And lastly, let’s look at the leadership.  This applies, in my opinion, to both the company and the sponsor.  (No, I don’t believe your sponsor directly determines your level of success.  One of the beauties of direct marketing is that your “boss” can be a total jerk, know less than you, etc., and you can still go on to earn more money than them!  I do believe having a great sponsor as a leader can dramatically reduce your learning curve, though — and thus, speed at which you achieve success.)  I’d suggest you really evaluate why the company was started, how it’s been developed, whether or not it’s aligned with your personal values (One of mine is philanthropy, so it was important for me to find a company that also “gives back” in proportion to its success.), and what their overall mission statement is.

Believe me, if you’re seriously considering a network marketing business for yourself and just spend a few hours on one day to go through these things on your own, I have no doubt you’ll find…

The absolute best network marketing company for you.

Your partner in success…

Crystal Schwindt

www.crystalschwindt.com






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Passive Income vs. Residual Income

What’s the difference between passive income and residual income?

Many people don’t know… and it’s easy to understand why.  In some instances they can be interchangeable.  In other cases, not so much.  And, according to the IRS, not really at all — but that’s a topic for a whole other post.

Let’s see if we can make sense of this.

Passive income is monies derived from sources or investments that require no active participation on the part of the benefactor.  Most commonly, this is associated with things like rent.  It could also be pensions or other retirement payments, inheritances, and so forth.  The term passive income is also fairly synonymous with “unearned income”.

Residual income is monies derived from recurring sources that require the benefactor to only do the work once but receive payment again and again.  This could be everything from royalties on a song or book to sales of consumable products that create auto re-ordering to online membership sites to affiliate sales to network marketing.

In all fairness, there are times and in some circumstances where residual income really can and does become passive income in the sense that a sale is made and the residual, recurring payment from that one sale is now passive.  Does that make sense?

If asked, probably everybody would say they want passive income.  The picture below of Robert Kiyosaki’s Cashflow Quadrant illustrates the various sides and where (and how) you need to be positioned to capitalize on passive income.

Robert Kiyosaki's Cashflow Quadrant illustrates where passive income resides and how to get to it.

Learn more about passive income and the Cashflow Quadrant with Robert Kiyosaki’s book.

                     Cashflow Quadrant (EN - Paperback) by Robert Kiyosaki          Cashflow Quadrant (Spanish) by Robert Kiyosaki          Cashflow Quadrant (Kindle) by Robert Kiyosaki

Paperback                                  Spanish                                   Kindle

Improve your financial IQ… then grow your residual income into passive income.

Your partner in success…

Crystal Schwindt

www.crystalschwindt.com

          

Goals-to-Results in 3 Easy Steps

Dreams to GoalsAs the year winds down, many of us will sit down to think about and set New Year’s resolutions.  Less, but still some will go a step further and call them goals.  Still fewer will take another step and actually write them down for frequent reflection and reminders.  And, only a fraction of the original lot will put in the time and effort to reverse-engineer those goals, putting action behind them so they become quantifiable results.

 Do you want to make this the year that your resolutions and dreams begin to come to fruition?

Or, are you going to be happy and satisfied with yet another year of making resolutions that fail to last even three weeks into the New Year?  Decide now.  If you’re in the second group, you can stop reading; I have nothing to offer you.  If you’re in the first group, however, hold on to your hats because we’re about to embark on the journey of a life-time – and I can hardly wait to hear about your successes and achievements!

  1. Make a list of dreams you’d like to turn to results in the coming year.

Remember:  This is one year – not two, five, or ten.  Keep them realistic and manageable.  That said, this year’s goals can be part of bigger goals that will take a longer time frame to accomplish, which is okay; just see and know it for what it is.

  1. Pare that list down to your top three-to-five highest priorities.

It’s not “bad” to have more, and I don’t personally think there’s a right or wrong answer here.  What life has taught me, though, is that, for the majority of people, focus is easier to achieve and maintain when there are fewer distractions.  So, the more you can place a laser-focus on your target, the better your results are going to be and the faster they’ll come.

  1. Reverse engineer the goal.

What does that mean?  Well, this is the part where you really begin to exert some mental power and time into the process because it means you need to actually think about the steps it will take to achieve that goal.

For instance, if you want to lose weight or become more healthy in the New Year (unsurprisingly one of the most common – and least fulfilled – resolutions that people make each and every year), put some thought into what this means for youWhat defines “weight loss” for you?  Is it 10, 30, or 100 pounds?  Everybody’s different, so define what’s best for you.  Then, choose the steps that are going to help you make this a reality.  You may end up with an action plan that looks something like this:

GOAL:  Weigh “X” pounds by December 31, 2015

  1. Eat one serving of fresh fruits and vegetables each per day
  2. Weight LossEat six small meals each day instead of two or three big ones
  3. Go out to eat one time per week as a reward for sticking to my plan
  4. Enhance my food regimen with high-quality vitamins and minerals to maximize my energy, stamina, mental performance, etc. (Free Health Assessment available here)
  5. Do some kind of cardio workout 20 to 30 minutes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
  6. Do some (light) weight training 20 to 30 minutes ever Tuesday and Thursday
  7. Weigh myself every morning and record my progress
  8. Envision myself as this lean, healthy machine daily (5 to 15 minutes)

Make sense?

But what if your goal is non-physical?  Let’s say… financial, since most people rack up a lot of credit card and other debt at Christmas then try to recover from it all year long — so they can do it again next year, right?  This is the year that pattern gets interrupted, and the way you look at and feel about money moves to a higher plain.  Your plan may look more like:

GOAL:  Eliminate “XYZ” Credit Card Debt

  1. Create and adhere to a budget (based on percentages, not dollar amounts, for psychological reasons; aligned with your frequency of pay)
  2. Credit Card DebtContact my credit card providers and request a lower interest rate
  3. Improve my financial education by reading on the topic 20 minutes daily, by those who are where I want to be or are at least debt-free
  4. Apply a consistent additional amount to my payment every month – or make a partial payment every time you get paid
  5. Set-up separate accounts for different purposes:  savings for short-term accumulation, checking for paying expenses, special-purpose savings for taxes or insurance or household expenditures…
  6. Give to some cause or charity every month (or pay period)
  7. Match your “giving” to yourself, and put it in another account or investment vehicle
  8. Plug-in to a free Financial Freedom Friday call for knowledge, strategies, and support (click the link or send a blank email to awlist3692158@aweber.com for details)

See, the thing is, most people make resolutions and goals with the greatest of intentions; they simply fail take actions that drive results.

And, honestly, most people try to rely on themselves to “make the magic happen”.  In reality, though, the encouragement, support, and sharing of ideas and knowledge you get by working with others who have (a) either “been there, done that” or (b) are like-minded and also taking action will compound and accelerate your progress, getting you results beyond anything you can imagine.

Make your plan today – not midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Keep your “head down”, focusing on  your goals; and by this time next  year, you’ll come up for air, look back at how you and your life has transformed, and be amazed by how much you’ve achieved.

Your partner in success…

Crystal Schwindt

www.crystalschwindt.com

Leverage: The Key to Success

Ask any truly successful person you know what the secret to success is, and I have no doubt they’ll tell you, “leverage”.

Gates, Buffet, Kiyosaki, Gates CollageStudy notable, successful people – Donald Trump, Robert Kiyosaki, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates — and you’ll also find they all say the same thing: Wealthy, successful people become that way (and, probably more importantly, stay that way) because they learn and master the skill of utilizing effective leverage.

 

Many people believe that the word “leverage” in this context only applies to money. You know, the use of “other people’s money”. OPM, right? We hear about this a lot. That’s certainly accurate, but also pretty narrow-minded, in my point of view.  If you dig just a bit further, though… below the surface… you’ll find that the truly successful, ultra-wealthy find and utilize not only the leverage created by using “other people’s money”, but also time, talents, skills, locations, and a multitude of other variables.

See, the poor and middle class are often slaves to their money because instead of learning to leverage their own money (or the use of “other people’s money”), they put their money in “investments”, where the person or institution handling those investments is actually leveraging that exact same money – for their own benefit.

It’s like this: You put your money in the bank – like, a savings account or something. Many checking accounts pay 0% in interest or dividends unless you already have upwards of $5k or more in that account. Well, the vast majority of America’s (statistically) have less than $1k in savings, let alone their checking, which tends to be the put-n-take account to pay bills from, as a norm. So, let’s forget about checking accounts and look at savings, right? Right! Okay, here it goes.

Your money goes into your savings account. IF your account even pays or qualifies (two very different things) for interest or dividends, it likely pays you 1% or less. That same bank, however, uses your money to fulfill loans to other poor and middle class folks who also have less-than-enough money – but they’re loaning it out at 7% and higher! Usually upwards of 10, 11, 12, 13, or higher percent! That means you get your measly ½ to 1% in interest or dividends, and they get the difference: 9% and up, on average. Are you excited yet??

“But,” you say, “I don’t have more money… or enough money… to do any leveraging with, so I can create wealth.”

That may be true… for now. What do you have, though, that you’re squandering — instead of leveraging — to put yourself in a better position? Understand this:

If you’re not using leverage to your own advantage, you (by your very essence) are probably serving the role of leverage, helping to grow somebody else’s wealth and success.

The big asset being squandered by most of us: TIME.

ClockIn my opinion, time is the most valuable asset each one of us has, yet it’s also the one most often wasted.  It’s spent doing nothing productive.  Sitting in from of the TV.  Playing video games.  America is the most entertained country in the world!  And, since the implementation of “No Child Left Behind” and decision to cease teaching things like handwriting in our schools, we’re also on the fast-track to becoming the dumbest, too.  (Don’t misunderstand, I don’t condone teachers or schools who pass children along into higher grades just to get them out of their classroom.  In their quest to slow things down for some children to catch on, however, they’re also damaging the more advanced students who need a faster pace and more engagement to keep their brains learning at an optimum rate.  Likewise, I disagree with things like removing handwriting in exchange for typing or computer skills because the mere act of hand-writing has been scientifically proven to create more activity and synapses in the brain than the act of pecking at a keyboard.)

Most people are just sleep-walking through life, never making good use of the time God has given us. So, here’s a novel idea for you: If you’re currently lacking money (but want some… more…) but have plenty of time, leverage your time right now to move yourself ahead, by learning new skills and trades or changing your mindset in preparation of the wealth you’re going to create, so you can recognize and take full advantage of those opportunities when they arise — then keep that money when you get it.

Once you begin to see results in this area, begin making the shift away from trading time for money. Leverage. Remember: What’s your most valuable asset? Time, right? I mean, you do realize that time on this planet for a human being is finite, yes? And do you also understand that none of us (Can you say NONE of us?) truly know whether our time ends today, tomorrow, or another 20 years from now? Internalize that for a moment. Truly. Stop and think about that fact for just a minute. Once you get that into your heart (not your head; your heart), you’ll find you better start playing life full-out!

“Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid!”
~ Basil King

A business acquaintance of mine recently shared with a group of us that about a week ago an incident occurred with his mom that shook him to his core and brought this realization into a very personal state for him. I mean, of course he logically always understood it… but now it’s really real.  Here’s some background and the way it went down:

He’s grown and successful with his online network marketing business. HE has traversed the “great divide” that many in network marketing seek: moving from a part-time to a full-time, self-sustaining business. One of his goals and reasons for getting into that kind of business is the fact that there are no “glass ceilings”, and he wants to retire his mom… who continues to work two jobs, despite some significant health challenges. He wants her out of that situation – and, for the record, I believe he’ll accomplish that in very short-order now.

Well, I believe it was just last week… His mom’s blood-sugar level apparently hit bottom in a fast way, causing her to have a reaction that HE mistook for her dying… in his arms! He said when he went to her, she was unresponsive, and he felt no detectible signs of life. He shook her. He yelled at her. He even called 911, I believe, because he felt her go limp in his arms and thought she’d died – right there, right then. Just a few minutes later, his mother “awoke”. She remembered none of it and was behaving as though nothing had happened. That moment, he said, changed his life and focus in a matter of just a few minutes. He said he realized – despite his work ethic and current dedication – he’s not doing all he could to achieve his goal of earning the income necessary to retire her for life.

Now, he’s already pretty darn good at leveraging his skills and focusing on the “tasks at-hand”… but do you think he’s even more focused now?? Of course he is! Do you think he’s coming up with some very creative ways to leverage his resources so that goal is met on a shorter timeframe? Yes, I can guarantee it! (By the way, incidents like this are not only motivational but, internalized correctly – like Bruce is – become leverage against the little voice that lives in nearly every person’s head that says, “You can’t do that, “ or “Slow down, what’s the rush,” or “It’s just too hard”.)

As we embark on a new year and you’re making whimsical resolutions Goals – or, if you’re more serious and intent with your life, perhaps you even take the time to sit down and write out your goals – don’t just make a list of stuff that you’re going to give up on three weeks after the new year starts. You’re already taking the time to do this task… Why not leverage that same time and energy to find even more resources that you already have that you can use as leverage to propel you into your future success for 2015?

That would be time well spent!

To your success…

Crystal Schwindt
www.crystalschwindt.com

Ditch Your Friends Now

I say to you, “Ditch your friends now.”

“But I like them!,” you may say.  “Why do I need to ditch my friends now?”  Have you ever heard…

‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’

~ Jim Rohn

The premise behind this quote, I believe, is because of two things:

The Law of Averages

The fact that most people reflect their environment

See, the Law of Averages dictates that when you “plant seeds” many will die.  But, because you continue to sow, some will also grow – simply because you continued to sow and the Law of Averages demands that, over time, you’ll reap rewards on that which you sow consistently.  That said, you may be thinking, “Well, Crystal, I continue to sow the seeds of what I want consistently, so I’ll reap those rewards eventually no matter what.”  In reality, no… because those who you spend time with and the environment you lock yourself into will affect the quality of seeds you’re sowing.  The seeds may be dropping, but the soil may be of poor quality or the water may be scarce.

Even I pride myself on my ability to submerge myself in environments and people who are far removed from “where I am” in terms of life, level of success, etc. and remain unaffected, but that doesn’t mean I’m totally unaffected and have total disregard for the influencers in my life and never need a reprieve.  For most people, if you spend the majority of your time around negative people, let’s say, it won’t be long before you’re talking and thinking just like them.  It’s very difficult to be unaffected.  Likewise, if those people earn less income than you want to, they’re unable to stretch you and your thinking to the point you need to be, to become the person necessary to receive and responsibly handle that which you seek.  Their view of the world is different.

For instance, the average person will use the terminology “spend time”.  I want you to think about that for just a moment.  Spend time.  Most of us would agree that “time” is our most valuable asset, right?  Time to “live”.  Time to learn.  Time to “spend” with friends and family.  Right?  Isn’t it fair to say, then, that we don’t “spend” our time anywhere, doing anything… we invest it?  When you invest, you do so expecting a return, do you not?  So, by the same premise, do you spend time living?  What about learning?  Do you even spend time with loved ones – because you at least expect to receive an enjoyable time and, perhaps, some great memories to take with you, yes?

 Measure Your Assets

Assets

Now take a quick inventory of two things:

  1. Who are the top five people you invest your time (really, your thoughts, energy, and future) with?
  2. Are those people where you’are currently “at”, where you’ve “been”, or where you want to “be”?

If you invest your money but get no return over time, would you continue to invest your money there?  Likely not.  The influence of your environment and those you hang around most are no different.

Now, am I saying that you need to ex-nay every person whose shoulders you’re unable to climb upon for your own personal gain forever and ever?  Absolutely not!  In fact, you should never, in my opinion, only gravitate toward people who are “ahead of you” for the purpose of your personal gain.  Despite the fact that you may be “behind” them at the current moment doesn’t mean you also have nothing to offer them.  Nor does it mean that those “behind” you have nothing to offer you.  Simply make a decision to make the top five influencers in your life of a status and quality that you seek to become.

Yes, I can hear you now, “Well, I want to be a millionaire, but I don’t know anybody who’s a millionaire.”

The truth is:  It’s great if you meet them, form a relationship, and so on… but it’s not required in order for them to influence you.  Read about them.  Learn their life’s lessons.  Glean their wisdom from interviews, auto-biographies, etc.  They’re still going to influence your learning and, hence, your life and lifestyle.  If you submerge yourself in such a way, you’ll find yourself walking in their confidence, talking like them, thinking like them, and taking actions they would take.  And, before you know it, you’ll look around and find yourself meeting real live millionaires!

So… take personal inventory today, look at where you are and where you want to be in life, and decide if you need to …

Ditch Your Friends Now!

To your success…

~ Crystal

www.imfreeandrich.com

How to NOT Be a Leader

Leaders are born, not made.

I’ve  heard that said.  In fact, I probably grew up being told and believing just that.  Truthfully, I’ve not believed that for quite some time; it appears society is taking a while to catch up with my progressive style of thinking, though.

See, I now believe that the capacity to become and be an incredible leader is likely within each and every one of us.  Does that mean we’ll all respond to the “call”?  Absolutely not!  You don’t even need statistics to prove that to you; just look around.  The majority of people won’t respond.  Why is that?

Because it’s just too darn comfortable to NOT be a leader!

Here the top four things you can do (or continue to do) to secure your spot in life as a “non-leader”:

  1. Cling to your title, position, or longevity at all costs

Once upon a time, title, position, and longevity (or you may know it as seniority) was everything; today… not so much – from the company and employee viewpoints.

See, respect (a characteristic found in all great and effective leaders, whether you like them personally or not) is something earned… not freely given.  Let me qualify that statement, though, because I can hear some of you groaning right now.  Take me, for example:  I’ll show a certain amount of respect to every human being on this planet – just for being who they are!  That said, I also keep some “in reserve”.  This means there’s some I hold on to, allowing people to earn and maintain the respect they actually deserve, from my vantage point.

And, sadly but justly, in my opinion… respect can also be lost – in the blink of an eye, by one single action done, statement said, or failure to do what you should.  Once lost, it can be extremely difficult to get back because we’re all human and forgiveness probably doesn’t come as quickly, frequently, or easily as it should.

For me, titles, positions, and seniority, well, they mean virtually Corporate Titlesnothing.  YOU are a person, and your “title” doesn’t define you!  My “judgment” and amount of corresponding respect comes in time and is solely based upon who you are and your personal actions and/or statements – never the words you may feel tell the world who you are.  (Note:  From a self-esteem perspective, allowing these things to define who you are can lead to a very detrimental outcome in your life one day, so be very careful with this!)

  1. Settle for mediocrity

As a non-leader you want to fit in with everybody else, right?  I dunno that I want to go so far as to say you’re a follower… but you are, kinda.  And, as a “follower”, the society of today would dictate that you just need to sit down, shut up, and settle for the mediocre, mundane life you’ve been dealt.  I view it as the “minimalistic mentally” in it’s healthy, thriving mode.  It can be very alarming to watch, let alone experience.  For example, today I went through my local Starbuck’s drive-thru.

I don’t go there a lot, but somewhat regularly at any rate.  I placed my usual order (tall, vanilla bean frappuccino – plain) and drove to the window, then handed the girl my card, which she promptly ran.  When handing it back to me, she said, “Okay, here ya go.”  No offer of a receipt, nothing about my order…  Nothing.  I sat and waited.  A few minutes goes by and another girl comes to the window with a vanilla bean frappuccino… with whipped cream topping!  As she opened the window, I told her I’d ordered my drink “plain”.  She asked if that meant I didn’t want whipped cream on it or anything?  I said yes… plain.  She replied, “We didn’t know what you meant by that,” and walked away with the drink.  She returned – mmm… fairly quickly, I guess – with a vanilla bean frappuccino… with “no” whipped cream and a flat lid.

Now, I’m relatively certain she just took the drink, spooned out the Mediocritywhipped cream topping (as evidenced by the indention that remained in the top of the drink), slapped a flat lid on it, and brought it back to me.  Some would say, “What’s wrong with that?”  From a business perspective, makes perfect sense, right?  I mean, “throwing away” that drink and making me a new one with NO whipped cream topping is throwing away product.  Here’s the thing, though…

What if I’d ordered my drink “plain” because I was allergic to whipped cream topping?

Can you say, “legal liability”?

Poor customer service… and likely the loss of MY business (and now I’m telling YOU, right?).  There are just too many other Starbucks for me to choose from if I want a PLAIN vanilla bean frappuccino!  Minimialistic mentality.

  1. Stand for nothing

Some people say, “go along, get along,” but I tend to not adhere to that credo.  I understand completely that no matter how I may try to be likable, please people, be a good person, etc., the fact of the matter is… not everybody is going to like me.  Period.  I’m okay with that.  I’m not going to “like” every other person on the planet either.  I love my fellow man, regardless – but that doesn’t mean I like all of them.  Nor does it mean that I’m going to allow others to dictate and control my own moral and ethical compass.

You’re likely a non-leader if you struggle with either of these things – not because you don’t want to be; more likely because, for whatever reason, your value is misplaced on a thing (i.e., title, sense of needing approval or acceptance of others, etc.) rather than found and defined within  yourself.  Leaders tend to stand their ground and speak their peace — at least unless provided a viable alternative that fits within their personal boundaries.  (Yes, they usually develop the skill of knowing when, where, and how to do so… but they do typically do so. Lol)

Just today, I’d finally had my fill of observing a particular scenario over a period of time:  A few people in an office receive a fair amount of flack for various things that it seems others are allowed to do,

Winston Churchillwith absolutely no recourse.  So, when the opportunity presented itself, I made a comment.  That comment led to the other person defending those who were being allowed to do these things (most of them have worked there a while together, are social with one another, and so on).  She also became rather worked up about my unwillingness to abate my position:  If it’s okay for some, it should be okay for all – in general terms anyway.  See, I didn’t really care which way it went (all allowed or all disallowed); I just cared that the “rules” be consistently applied to everybody.  Could I suffer some repercussion due to the expression of my “moral and ethical compass”?  Perhaps.  Time will tell.  I’d like to think not.  I think I’m right and believe most would feel as I do, given the same situation.  That’s not always the world we live in, however.

  1. Think small

Non-leaders tend to think small.  This doesn’t always mean “small” as in lack of a greater vision (although true leaders are, as a norm, very big “thinkers” and dreamers); it can merely be not thinking forward enough into the future to see what your actions today may bring you tomorrow.  Many people get tangled up in this.

When I was younger, I was fairly quick to say whatever I felt at any given point in time.  And, well, I’m pretty quick-witted, with a darn sharp tongue sometimes.  There’s no doubt I likely said some sharp, hurtful things.  We all start where we are, though, and that’s all the “tools” I had in my “tool belt” at the time to express and deal with things.  As I grew (mentally, emotionally, and in years), I acquired more “tools” that afforded me more choices when faced with things.  More ways to respond and deal with situations.  More “tools” also meant more… bigger… possibilities.  More ways to make my bigger thoughts and dreams become reality.  Life is defined by whatever it is you think you can do.

Henry Ford

So, if you simply adhere to these four things (forget about the plethora of other options available), you’re almost guaranteed to not stand out in a crowd – whether literal, virtual, or proverbial – and you’ll likely have mastered the fine art of…

NOT becoming a leader!

I challenge you to do, be, and become more… greater…

Starting today.

~ Crystal

www.imfreeandrich.com