Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ben and Mickey: Check out the 1 Big Thing

April 7, 2010

“What is the one big thing?” This was the question that Ben Turpin asked his audience at his speaking engagement last week. I met Ben on my flight a few days ago en route home to the Gulf Coast of Florida; I too, had presented to young career professionals at a coaching speaking gig in Chicago. So I asked Ben, a speaker and author, what IS the one big thing?


Of course it is relationships. And as many Marketing Mindfulness newsletters go, it got me to thinking about all relationships: personal, professional, and perhaps most important, the relationship we have with ourselves. I carried our conversation with me as I wove through the Publix grocery aisles and checkout lane the next day. I smile every time I am in Mickey’s lane; she always has a positive thing to say to each customer.

As Mickey was about to check out my items, a customer came over to her with a bouquet of flowers. At first blush, I thought he needed a bar code reading. Nope. He handed them to her saying they were for her, “just because;” then he exited the store. Wow. Mickey graciously gushed and thanked the customer, and then rang up my items.

As I watched Mickey patiently scan the 4 different brands of apples I was purchasing (for my daughter to determine which brand she preferred), I realized too late that I had placed all the apples with different bar codes in one bag.

“I am so sorry,” I blurted out. “Of course they have to be scanned separately; next time I will put them in separate bags.” Mickey said: “This is no problem. It is because of you that I have a job.” “Excuse me?” I said. She repeated: “I am fortunate to have this job; it is because of you that I am here.”

Mickey looked at me with my mouth opened. I shared with her that I coach people to mindfully pave the way for them to market themselves into meaningful careers, and mentioned that I have a growing specialization with the twentyish population. Smiling tenderly, Mickey continued: “I worry about the young people today. They have no idea what it’s like to live and work in a time of simple means.”

Maybe Mickey’s seemingly inherent expertise and ease at cultivating relationships, is the exact template (if there were such a concrete schema), one needs to follow in today’s personal and professional world.

On the plane just 18 hours before, Ben and I had a lengthy discussion on the ins and outs of building the important relationships in our lives, and I think we agreed that our interpersonal relations need to have on-going attention, a sense of immediacy, and commitment.

Clearly Mickey cultivates an atmosphere of ongoing attention and graciousness; her empathic skills are impeccable. So how do we, or CAN we “teach” ourselves about the ways to cultivate and nurture relationships?

I am guessing that one of the ways in which Ben builds relationships is with his commitment to quick follow through. If he is with a prospect, referral, or client, I believe he decides to take swift action to address the needs that surfaced during his engagement with that person. So if someone were to ask him to make a referral contact on his/her behalf, I imagine that Ben would have the phone call placed, the email sent, or the Facebook personal message posted within the hour.

I believe that the relationship we have with the self will reflect our attitudes and behaviors with others. When we mindfully scan our thoughts, feelings and actions, and tweak them as needed for other-orientedness, we will then embrace a rich bouquet of relationships; we will own the one big thing.

In Ben and Mickey’s worlds, there are no bad apples. Both Mickey and Ben put the other person first, and this is the important part: no matter whom it is. When we do the pay-it-forward behavior, we will always be rewarded in kind, and then some. Check it out.

Mindfully Yours,


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