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I rarely fill in surveys for hotels or airlines when I travel. But yesterday, I took five minutes to respond to an online survey from Air Canada. They wanted to know how my Regina to Calgary flight was last week.
I had a great experience on this flight, and I told them so. But taking the survey made me think about a much bigger issue. What actually makes a great experience possible – whether on an airline, in a hotel, restaurant, workplace, or even a marriage? I have had some bad experiences with all of the above in the past. What is the common denominator? When I am honest with myself, I can see that every time I’ve had a lousy experience it’s because I’ve been in a lousy mood.
Quantum physics has discovered something that many mystics have long since known: that our perception of the universe actually invokes the very universe that we observe. If you change the way you view the environment around you, the environment around you changes. The world isn’t as it is. The world is the way we see it.
Don’t get me wrong. Bosses make a difference to the experience of an employee. Customer service people make a difference. Waitresses make a difference. And it is important to get feedback on how we are doing. We are all co-creating the world that we live in. We institutionally deny the fact that each of us – through our perceptions and our choices – is actually creating the culture – in our airlines, hotels, restaurants, workplaces, and marriages – that we so enjoy complaining about.
Deciding that I am creating the world around me – and therefore I am the one to step into healing it – is the ultimate act of accountability. A simple decision can change your life. Here are five decisions that will make your workplace a better place to work and your world a better place to live:
1) Decide to take 100% responsibility for your experience. When you decide, once and for all, that all blame is a waste of time, your life will change forever. I learned years ago that I attract, even in some small way, what is happening in my life. Operating from this assumption empowers you. If you are unhappy, look at how you are contributing to the problem. If you can’t figure out your part, take time to ask people around you. They will help you out.
2) Decide to give to others whatever you expect from others. My parents taught me to “be careful what you give, for it will be what you get.” If you want good service, serve the customer service agent – with kindness, patience, and grace. Treat others with the same care as you expect from others.
3) Decide to be a contributor rather than a consumer. Consumer means to “destroy, squander, use up,” whereas to contribute means to “build, serve, make better.” It’s interesting that we now call this a “consumer” society. Decide to be a giver rather than a taker. Look for ways that you can make life a little better for every person you meet today. A smile, a word of encouragement, a little patience. These simple acts of caring go a long way.
4) Decide to care. Caring makes workplaces worth working in, schools worth learning in, relationships worth being in, and lives worth living. Caring is everything, and caring starts with a decision. Caring isn’t a feeling. Caring is a choice. Make a decision to care – about your job, about your co-workers, about your employees, and watch how your world starts to change. The power of caring was evident this past month by those who so generously have been reaching out in response to the Fort McMurray evacuees. (See my blog on the Fort McMurray fire.) Caring makes all the difference.
5) Decide to be grateful. You can always find reasons to be grateful. Gratitude is the antidote to entitlement (the attitude that you have a right to something just because you want it). Gratitude makes you healthier and the world around you healthier. The real power of gratitude comes when you are having difficulty finding anything to be grateful for. Gandhi reminded us, “Divine guidance often comes when the horizon is the blackest.”