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.

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.

Gratitude for Life

Now that Thanksgiving is over so many people stop thinking about being grateful.  In this blog I have decided on monthly themes, November was Gratitude, but it is ever part of my life.  To close out the month here are two fabulous posts and sources that explain better than I how Gratitude needs to be part of your life;


First from Psychology Today

7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude

Please go read the full text but here are their bullet points;

  1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships.
  2. Gratitude improves physical health.
  3. Gratitude improves psychological health.
  4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression.
  5. Grateful people sleep better.
  6. Gratitude improves self-esteem.
  7. Gratitude increases mental strength.


The second is some out of the box thinking by Kristen Wong  about how to practice gratitude if you are not a traditional paper and pen type of person.  We referenced it 2 weeks ago and here is a more direct link.

Here is an important quote from within her article;

What made my original gratitude list so effective was that I put my eyes on it so frequently. It was on my phone in an app that was on my homescreen. I saw it a lot. And when I saw it and read what was in it, well, that’s when I felt grateful.

So I moved my lists into my to-do app, which today is Todoist. I look at it a lot; sometimes it’s just for a quick glance, but the point is my eyes go to it maybe a dozen times a day.


However you keep gratitude in your life, just keep it up, and if you would like to share your method please fill my comments.