Monday, October 6, 2008

All Fired Up

This is posted on behalf of JoAnna Brandi. It is co-posted on the Customers 1st Blog and JoAnna Brandi blogs.

Over the last year I’ve done some things that have some of my friends wondering about me. Maybe it’s that I’m getting better with age. Maybe it’s being afraid to age. Maybe it’s all these happiness coaches I hang out with and study with.

One of the things we learn in happiness training is that positive psychologists have proven that the more time you spend using your strengths the happier you are. That makes sense. When you are doing something you are good at you feel good, and you usually get better at it. When you spend a lot of time doing something you are not good at you usually don’t feel as good.

I can relate.

So it turns out that the psychologists have found – and have evidence to support this – that if you identify your top strengths and spend time each week deliberately working to improve them, you will be happier over time. Certainly happier than if you identify your weaknesses and spend time each week trying to improve them. (Which is basically what I HAD been doing.)

All righty then. Let’s get going.

And so I went to to identify my top strengths. (Warning: don’t go there without a food or at least a beverage – the instrument they use to determine your strengths is long and a tad redundant, you’ll need at least a cup of tea or equivalent to get through it.)

My first strength is creativity – that was fun. I knew that, so it’s always fun to find ways to be more creative. My second strength it turns out is bravery and courage.

What? Me? That was a bit of a shock. And so it was that I began challenging myself in ways I never thought I would. It all began with ziplining last year in Costa Rica. It looked something like this.

Soaring some 120 feet above the ground scared the devil out of me, but in the end, I was thrilled and excited that I had done it – and done it with a good attitude. I chose excitement over fear. I told everyone that would listen about my “SuperCheeka” experience and reveled in the admiration. Me, a perennial scaredy cat, doing something brave and courageous - how cool was that?

So I figured I’d done my brave deed and that would be that.

Until I got that email from Connie and Karen. They are friends of mine from South Florida. They do workshops too. We met about five or six years ago and have a lot in common. Except that when you take one of their empowerment workshops you break things, bend things and end the evening walking on fire.

I swear, I never, never had the desire to walk on fire.

They’d been kind about inviting me to come and see their work, but I’d declined each time, until one day I got an email that said they were filming a corporate video and we asking friends to participate since there would be cameras starting and stopping and bright lights in the night. They invited friends that would be patient and would work with the awkward situation.

It’s tough enough to do the activities in that workshop – and with a cameraman in your face – well!

Well 53 friends showed up! From early afternoon until late in the night we broke boards, bricks and arrows. We bent rebar, walked on glass and then at the end of the night topped it all off with a little walk on fire. Everybody chose to walk (they say that never happens.) Even the cameramen walked (on walked while pointing the camera down on his feet.

Everyone did the firewalk – about 1250 degrees at its hottest – and no one burned their feet. When you walk on fire things change. You learn that your mind is powerful. You get to see your patterns. You think differently about beliefs. There was no hypnosis involved. All choice.

I’m the second one you’ll see on the video – busting through the brick. And now I’m all fired up, because I have this belief that when I put my mind to something (and keep it there) that I can make it happen.

By the way – want a firepower seminar? Call me, I’ll fix you up. We now proudly tell our clients that board breaking and even firewalking are optional add-ons to any of our workshops. Empowered? You bet! Whooooooooooowahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Also, check out JoAnna's first customer service message for Customer Service Week here:

If you’d like to see more of Joanna Brandi’s blogs, visit JoAnna Brandi’s Blogs. You can also find out more by visiting her Customer Care Coach website. Joanna Brandi will be a keynote speaker at this year’s North American Conference on Customer Management, and has already been profiled on our Customer 1st blog. Stay tuned for her posts on the Customers 1st blog!

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