The Service-Cycle Comes Full-Circle

I am old enough to remember a simpler time – the time before electronics and the information age took over our lives. Those were the days of “personal-service”. Live telephone operators, gas station attendants (who pumped gas!), car hops, the milk-man, door-to- door sales, travel agents, and doctors who made house-calls, etc.

Gas stations were not open on Sunday, but the attendant would check your oil and wash your windows while filling your tank. There were no ATMs so you had to get cash during banking-hours, but there were plenty of tellers and bankers so you did not have to stand in line. It was reasonably convenient.  Reasonable is the operative word here. Over the years, I observed these old-fashioned personal-services disappearing and being replaced by a self-service model. The shift was subtle, but the cumulative result has been staggering.

At some point, we entered the age of “self-service” which this generation might consider “convenient”.  I don’t think there is anything convenient about having to do everything yourself, even if the tools are handy and available 24 hours a day. In my opinion, it is modern-day conveniences that allowed life and work demands to become out of balance and unreasonable – forcing most Americans to live with increasing stress-loads.


One could ask, “Which came first, the need to automate or the availability of automation”. It was probably simultaneous. When these conveniences did not exist, people simply took care of business during standard business hours and after-hours was personal, family and household time.

It may be that the emerging generation will be able to leverage technology to its benefit and gain some sort of efficiency. But so far, I have noticed the more information we can process, the more we tend to cram into a day and the longer the business day becomes. If that is the case, this generation may sacrifice real human connection by automating it. Career and entrepreneurial aspirations might lose ground to playing catch-up domestically.

In any case, it seems that the service-cycle has come full-circle and personal-service is making a comeback. There are increasing businesses offering to deliver groceries, walk dogs, cut grass, provide laundry and handy-man services, wash your windows and even trim your house for the holidays! It isn’t quite the same, though. Some of those activities used to be enjoyable family time together. Now we are “outsourcing” our non-work- related activities. I am not sure this will give people more time to enjoy life. We need to simplify – for some thoughts on simplification watch for my Q-Note #1  (coming soon).


SHIFTING GEARS – Since returning to General Pattern a year ago, I have been working mainly in a strategic role, contributing to plans for business growth. Now we are ready to put those plans into action and I am shifting my focus. As Sr. Director of Sales, I will be active in “the field” – working directly with clients and other sales staff to bring new products to production in America! The official roll-out was June 17th and I have hit the ground running.


“Be grateful when you win and gracious when you lose” – Reaction

I like this little story. However, I do not particularly agree with the reference to indifference when it comes to sales. Win or lose, I can accept the outcome. But I would never settle for a spirit of indifference – no offense to the author. I appreciate the reminder that life deals us wins and losses – gratitude and grace help us move forward in all circumstances.

5 minutes a day to build a bullet proof brain

For all my “mechanically inclined” friends – The human body is the ultimate, most amazing, machine on the planet. I enjoy learning about diverse strategies for maximizing its effectiveness, since I plan to inhabit a body for as long as I am here… Please enjoy this perspective!
thank you to the artist of this picture Davit C Schultz for the image of both incredible beauty, and, how I feel about taking a cold shower.

Move and Save – a good walk could do both!

In early January, I posted a call for “no resolutions” and revealed my
personal tendency to choose themes or slogans instead of individual goals.
Of course, individual goals can support a broader mission but I like to keep
focused on the broader mission.  Choosing a theme for the year increases my
awareness and my daily commitment.  This year, my slogan is “Move and Save”.
The article I am sharing below plays to both those mindsets.

I have heard it said “What you don’t know can’t hurt you”.  This New York Times 
article makes clear that learning about the benefits of exercise can save you – both physically and financially.

I have learned first-hand is that exercise is its own reward.  Time that I
have devoted to moving or working my body has been returned to me in the
form of better focus and increased productivity.  It is like no time was
“spent” at all.  Those benefits along with the other obvious benefits –
weight control, improved blood composition, more energy and strength are
just the beginning.  If you want to live a long life of the highest possible
quality, join me in making exercise a daily ritual.

In future posts this year, I will share the tools I am using to “Move and
Save”.  I wish you all well on your own personal journeys.  I am also interested in any tools you have found useful.


2017 – Call for No Specific Resolutions

Happy New Year!  Though I have been doing it for decades, I still eagerly look forward to the beginning of each New Year.  It is slightly disappointing that our electronic calendars have eliminated both the tactile and visual excitement of turning a physical calendar page – not to mention the fun of shopping for just the right calendar!  But, it is a fleeting disappointment that is quickly replaced by the anticipation of impending change.  So, what will those changes be for 2017?

Like many people, I used to make specific resolutions but this strategy became counterproductive.  The overwhelming majority of people fail to keep their resolutions and I was no exception.  It seemed that there was almost more focus on beating myself up for failure than there was on achieving success.  I wanted to turn this around and simplify my self-improvement strategies.  Several years ago, I abandoned the specific resolutions in favor of slogans or themes.  These are easier to keep in mind and that makes it easier to succeed.  They provide for some wiggle room and allow for adjustments while keeping the focus on achieving success.

This practice began one year when I was particularly frustrated because I was plenty busy but not feeling very effective.  That New Year, my slogan was simply “Do Less”.  It was easy to remember and prompted me to back off on the number of obligations I made in favor of doing a better job on those that mattered most to me.  I liked the result so slogans and themes have become my New Year’s resolution strategy ever since.

In 2014, I decided I wanted to live to be 100 and live independently as many years as possible.  I entered my 100th birthday on my electronic calendar so I can look forward to my “party”.  Making it to the party is going to depend on healthy lifestyle habits and serious financial planning. fullscreen-capture-192017-101751-am-bmp

My 2017 theme is “Move and Save”.  This will keep my focus on being physically active and saving money for retirement.  Yes, I guess if I am going to live to be 100 – I have to retire at some point.  I’ll be writing more about these themes throughout the year because they will certainly be on my mind.


Giving of Self – in the news

In this month where we often focus on gifts tied up with ribbons and bows, there is another type of giving that is more rare, and, much more personal.  Giving of yourself.  Where you go, what you focus your energy on, how you spend your day.

I find myself drawn to the situation at Standing Rock.  We will never know the whole story, we can only see how it is evolving.  I could focus on the negative, the news truly does, but in between the sensational headlines you see countless numbers of people giving of themselves.

This article from The Guardian has an important message;

Frank, “from right here”, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux. Somewhere in the conversation he said : “I wake up happy every day about this.” I asked him how this changed the past, thinking of the losses the Lakota/Sioux faced over the past 150 years, but he heard the question differently. He mentioned that their old enemies the Crow and the Cheyenne came to stand with them, and that the old divisions are over.

This image, found many places on the internet, is from the evening that the decision to stop the pipeline was made.  However fleeting that decision may be, that night the decision was to give joy and hope.


Finally, what compelled me to focus on this, is the gift of time from 2000 veterans that joined the action in the freezing cold, giving freely their time and presence in a very tense situation.  I hope that the mission of peace quoted in this article is what is remembered.

Chicago native David Hulse, 34, a Navy veteran who served in Iraq told ABC News that he decided at the last minute to join the protests, describing his involvement as “not a mission of war, but a mission of peace.”

“Seeing so many veterans show up,” Hulse said. “Out here, it’s brotherhood.”

Hulse added that the goal of protecting Native American protesters at the site is “a frightening task,” but he said he hopes to serve as a witness.

“Violence will not end violence,” he said. “Peace will end violence.”

I can not say how this will end, I can say I am giving it my thoughts and attention.