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Survival ISN’T the Goal

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Survival is an uninspiring goal.achievement

It is a pre-requisite, obviously for everything else. Survival foundational to achieving the real goals of success: thriving and achieving.

A client once told me, “I didn’t go to college to learn how to survive. I want to thrive!!”

Of course if we don’t expect much in life and don’t get it, we aren’t as disappointed. Some people aim low–at surviving–with the confidence that at least they can achieve that.

During difficult times, both individuals and businesses are sometimes faced with survival as a primary goal. But like Robert Schuller says, “Tough times never last but tough people do.”

The danger is staying in survival mode longer than necessary. Anyone can become so accustomed to playing not to lose that they stop playing to win.

Have you dumbed down your aspirations? Have the challenges and obstacles slowly drained you of your aspiration to thrive? Does your team know what you’re trying to achieve, or only what you’re trying to avoid?

To change your future, change your present perspective.

You can do better than simply surviving. Determine to thrive and flourish.

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Customer Service Enemy #1

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Recently my friend Chris, a successful business owner, sent me this story:

“Vicki and I celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary in November.  I decided to buy her a new wedding ring.  I spent a fair amount more on the new ring than I did for her old one.

When I went to pick the ring up the gal showed it to me, rang up the sale, handed me a bag,  never looked me in the eye much less say thank you!

If it hadn’t been a custom ordered ring I think I might have told her ” no thanks” and gone somewhere else to shop.

Thank you is so easy, yet, it’s not as widely used as it should be.”i-dont-care

When a customer does business with you, they expect to be acknowledged. A simple but sincere thank you is a start. In the case of Chris, who I know invested significantly in a special ring, the attention and gratitude should be commensurate.

Indifference is customer service enemy #1. Chris is right: thank you is so easy. But apparently so is indifference.

If you are truly committed to customer service, the choice is easy.

Who will you share this story with today?

(Find out how you can Mark speak at your next event:

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Awesome isn’t Automatic

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Someone next to me on a recent flight was reading a book. The subtitle included “stop doubting your awesomeness.”

That made me wonder: is awesomeness automatic?

Is the real challenge doubting your awesomeness…or achieving it?mark sanborn

I believe anyone who chooses wisely and works hard enough and long enough can be awesome. We have the potential for greatness within us.

But it is harder than simply waking up, remembering or no longer doubting. We only experience awesomeness–at home, school, work, wherever–when we apply ourselves to expressing our potential.

It is a slippery slope from “you can choose to be awesome” to “you are automatically awesome.” Everyone has inherent value and worth but awesomeness is earned on the playing field of life, not in the recesses of the mind.

Don’t doubt your potential abilities. But keep going and do the work to develop them.

(For more insights about achieving your potential, visit

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5 Simple Service Strategies Everyone Can Do

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We all need to be reminded. In any business, there are lots of important things we need to remember.

Sometimes the day-to-day urgencies and emergencies cause us to forget the simple things we need to consistently do to deliver great service.

What follows aren’t grandiose strategies formulated by a room full of expensive consultants. These are strategies you and everyone on your team can easily do if you choose.

If you’re a leader, practices these and remind your team. If you’re someone who has contact with customers and clients, do these things and enjoy the benefits.

1. Be nice.


Pleasant, positive people are a step ahead of unpleasant negative people, even if you’ve given the latter service training. You can teach nice people to give better service, but it is hard to teach unpleasant people to be nicer.

2. Minimize suffering.

Ask yourself, what is your customer’s biggest problem? Solve it. Or at least minimize it. You’ll get credit for creating value.

3. Increase happiness.

Look for any opportunity to add joy to the customer’s experience. Appropriate levity, a kind word or a little encouragement are all simple things that can make a profound difference.

4. Ask customers what they want.

You don’t have to be a psychic to find out what customers desire of you and your business: ask them.

5. Give customers something to prove you love them.

Occasionally comping an item or throwing in something extra proves to the customer how much you value them and their business.

What? You’ve heard all this before? Terrific. How much of it are  you doing?

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5 Simple Things to Do to be a Better Speaker

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public-speaking-11. Start with certainty. Have your opening remarks prepared and memorized to be carefully delivered so you launch from a strong opening.

2. Make movement purposeful. Unnatural or nervous movement is off-putting to those listening and watching.

3. Provide evidence to prove the points you make. If you claim your staff is “awesome,” have a story to illustrate the point. Otherwise is sounds like exaggeration.

4. Be crystal clear on what you want listeners to do after they’ve heard you. A strong call to action is a powerful tool. What they should most remember after you finish is not what you said but what they should do.

5. End as definitively as you started. Don’t just run out of words and ideas. Have a strong statement prepared to conclude your remarks. Even mediocre speeches can be resurrected with a strong close.

Get a free ebook, “7 Reasons Why Executive Speakers Flop” here.

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