Friday, July 29, 2011

FRED Ellen Ruel

FRED Friday…meet Ellen Ruel

This edition of FRED Friday is a look back…somewhat of a nostalgic FRED Friday.  Ten years ago this summer I was a Management Intern at Disney’s Contemporary Resort; 21 years old, in my first job out of college, and scared to death.  My management internship was a 6-month program in which I spent 3 months as a Housekeeping Manager and 3 months as a Front Desk Manager. 

My program started in Housekeeping, and then I transitioned to the Front Desk…which was very intimidating – the systems, the processes, the many seasoned/experienced Disney Cast Members that could do their roles with their eyes closed and their hands tied behind their back because they had been doing it for so long.  Here I was coming in as one of their “managers”.  This was my first shot at being a real life manager, my chance to see how good of a leader I really could be.  I was nervous, scared, and intimidated.

Then I met Ellen Ruel…

I remember the first day I met her.  It was my first day at the Front Desk, transitioning from Housekeeping…a whole new ballgame; a completely different dynamic.  I had just gotten comfortable with my team, my peers, and leaders in Housekeeping; so the thought of having to start all over with folks at the Front Desk seemed daunting…and uncomfortable.  I was a nervous wreck.

As I walked into the back office one of my first days at the Front Desk, thank God Ellen was one of the first people I met…I remember it like it was yesterday…she said, “Well hello, my new friend…Taylor, right?”   She had heard I was rotating to her team…she was one of the other Front Desk Managers.    

I’m generally a nervous wreck about most things…as a general rule.  Needless to say, this particular day was certainly no different.  Ellen’s warm welcome, a genuine smile, and HUG upon meeting me calmed me down.  Yes, she gave this young, inexperienced, redheaded new guy whom she didn’t even know…a big HUG on day 1.  I went from zero to feeling Welcome, Comfortable, and Important in seconds.

Ellen would greet me in similar fashion for the next three months, every single day I walked into work, as I rounded the corner in the back office, she would shoot me a genuine smile.  It didn’t matter how stressed she was at the time, with undoubtedly 17 Guest situations/issues on her mind to deal with…she always smiled.  I took note of that.

At times I wouldn’t completely understand how to go about solving a problem or resolving a Guest’s complaint.  She would always be there in case I needed help.  She wouldn’t necessarily micromanage because we were peers…the same role – both Front Desk Managers.  However, she had a certain way about her…a presence.  I was most comfortable in my role that summer when Ellen was also working alongside me; not because she did my work for me, nor because I took everything to her.  She was present, in the moment from the time she walked in to the time she walked out for the night.  So it was her presence and compassion for others that just made me feel like no matter what could and would ever happen…Ellen would help me make magic for whomever, whenever, and whatever. 

I thought for the first several weeks that she was just helping me because I was so new.  However, the coolest thing was that I wasn’t the only one.  She treated everyone with this selfless compassion, and if you were to ask anyone on that Front Desk team at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in the summer of 2001, they would all tell you a similar story about how Ellen Ruel made them feel comfortable at work.  To this day, I strive to make people feel as comfortable as Ellen made us feel. 

She took advantage of teachable moments.  I can remember her being so dynamic that she would have eight things on her own list, her own To Do’s…yet she seemed to always make time to show me what she was doing, how she was doing it, and why.  She was careful not to do give you all the answers to the test, so to speak, but instead she would help us think about it so we would learn.  She probably didn’t know it at the time, but I would watch and listen to how she handled things as often as possible.  I knew my time with this wonderful person and team was limited, and I was a sponge, soaking up as much wisdom, knowledge, and magic as I possibly could.  She never disappointed…and I always learned…everyday. 

I can proudly say that ten years later, I now take ownership of Guest situations, staff issues, and make business decisions with confidence.  Sure I’ve gotten plenty of reps in over the years which allow me to be confident and more comfortable, but to this day visions of Ellen’s charisma, compassion, and her way with people are still crystal clear.  I remember how she made me feel.  I remember how she was able to empathize with Guests and turn their frustration into a pure, old-fashioned Disney magical moment.  So when I’m faced with similar issues today, ten years later…I think about Ellen and how she would do it.  Her teachable moments ten years ago allow me to be successful to this day. 

The tragic events of September 11th, 2001 occurred during my internship that summer.  So unfortunately Disney couldn’t status me as a full-time manager upon the completion of my program.  I was blessed, however, in that I landed a job on the opening team of a brand new 1,400-room resort across town as a Housekeeping Manager.  It was tough being away from Ellen.  However, we kept in touch.  We remained close though we saw very little of one another.  We kept in touch by phone and email.  She knew my passion for Disney, and she knew I wasn’t ready to leave the company after my internship.
Remember When...

Ellen would always tell me, “who’s your biggest cheerleader?”  Little did I know that as plans for the opening of Disney’s Pop Century Resort were materializing, Ellen was recommending me to the hiring leaders for the new resort project.   

So in September of 2003, with Ellen’s help once again, my dream of returning to the mothership, to the Walt Disney Company, came true.  Ellen and I reunited once again, both as Front Desk Managers on one of the most talented leadership teams I’ve ever been a part of…we opened the 2,880-room Disney’s Pop Century Resort.  We were back to our old tricks…and I was blessed with the opportunity to learn from her teachable moments as well as her actions. 

Here we are…several years removed from our time together.  I live thousands of miles away from her.  I work in Las Vegas.  She works at the magical world, at Walt Disney World in Orlando.  However she still shows compassion.   She still makes me feel comfortable.  She still brightens my days with random, unsolicited text messages that say – Just thinking of you Sweetheart, hope you’re doing well…I love and miss you!

I get those texts as a 31 year old, about to turn 32…and I smile from ear to ear just like I did when I first met her when I was 21, about to turn 22.  That’s legacy.  That’s compassion.  That’s leadership.  That’s going OneMoreStep…and that’s being a FRED.

I love you, Ellen.  Keep being you…it moves people, and you make us all better…and I can’t thank you enough for it.

“You just never know who’s watching and listening.  Our lives, to paraphrase Shakespeare, play out on a stage…

Freds find satisfaction in their passion for significance.  They distinguish themselves not by the results they’ve achieved, but by how they’ve affected and touched others.”- Mark Sanborn…The Fred Factor…page 69…Chapter 7

Happy FRED Friday.


What is FRED Friday?

Fred Friday is a series in which the OneMoreStepRevolution blog will showcase a real life "Fred" on select Fridays.   Reading The Fred Factor definitely leaves us with a desire to to be more Fred-like ourselves, but I also love looking for FredsFreds are everywhere. I love it when I experience a real life Fred.  I'm inspired just as I am every time I re-read the book.  I thought it would be fun to spread the magic of Fred to our OneMoreStepRevolution community.

Hopefully a few things will happen with the Fred Friday series:
1) Real Life Freds will be recognized when these stories make it back to them 
2) Companies for which these Freds work will have some positive feedback 
3) People will be inspired to go OneMoreStep just like the real life Freds 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The OneMoreStep Trifecta...

The OneMoreStep Trifecta…           

Wikipedia defines Trifecta as:

In horse racing terminology, a trifecta is a pari-mutuel bet in which the bettor must predict which horses will finish first, second, and third in exact order.

It is also used in sports to describe scoring three points at one time (e.g. hat-trick), or succeeding at anything three times in three consecutive attempts…

OneMoreStep thought for the weekTo make a positive difference for someone  – at home, at work, or in your social life – make him or her feel WELCOME, COMFORTABLE, & IMPORTANT…in that order.  It’s a OneMoreStep Trifecta…a lock…always a great bet that makes a true difference that matters every single time.

Make them feel WELCOME

We can usually rattle off more instances in our past of when we felt unwelcome than examples of when we felt welcome.  That sounds rather pessimistic, but think about it.  It is what it is…kind of sad but true.  However, among the many “unwelcome memories”, we all have that one memory of feeling ever so welcome into someone’s home, someone’s office, arriving to a very warm and hospitable hotel/resort, or even the time we started a brand new job and they welcomed us into the organization with open arms.  Do you have one in mind?  I do.  It felt so good to be welcomed with open arms that it really is tough to forget it.  Wouldn’t you rather someone walk away from a meeting, conversation, or interaction with you thinking about how welcome you made them feel vs. the alternative? 

Make them feel COMFORTABLE

How often do we have those little moments at the beginning, during, or after an interaction, with someone at work or otherwise, that we just feel like something is…off.  Unfortunately, that is often the rule as opposed to a surprising and delightful exception.  What if after we took the time to welcome someone into our home, office, or a simple conversation…we took the extra step to make him or her feel comfortable?  Often times we feel awkward or uneasy in certain situations...a new job, a new relationship, a new group of friends, or we’re just uncomfortable having those tough conversations about dicey topics.  Guess what…everybody else has those same worries, concerns, and anxious feelings.  Excellent OneMoreStep opportunity to take an extra five seconds or five minutes to engage an anxious or worried person in such a way that calms them down, eases their mind, and makes them feel comfortable.

Make them feel IMPORTANT

People have a natural desire to feel needed and they want to know that they’re valued…people want to feel important.  So why not go OneMoreStep in meetings at work, conversations at home, and in developing meaningful relationships in our lives…why not make them feel important?  Make it about them for that moment, that meeting, that conversation.  Ask them about their opinion.  Ask them to share their thoughts.  Tell them they matter, but go even OneMOREStep, and show them you truly value them, their insight, and especially your relationship with them.  

Sometimes the smallest gestures mean the most.  A quick email; a heartfelt handwritten note; a small gift; or even a handshake or hug can make someone feel important.  Once we take the focus off of us and turn it toward them, they become more comfortable around us, they begin to trust us, which allows for more meaningful conversations, which leads to strong, long lasting relationships that matter for everyone involved. 

3 for the road…


I took a few days off of work to visit my family in Kentucky this past weekend.  My mom and dad know that I love everything about summertime; especially grilling out…and they know that I like to eat plenty of vegetables.   

The very first night I was home, my parents prepared a beautiful summertime meal – shrimp (marinated in teriyaki ginger sauce), along with zucchini, peppers, asparagus, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes all prepared on the grill.  It was a very nice WELCOME home dinner with the fam.


We had a full house at my parents’ home this weekend, as my sister and her family were visiting as well.  With my sister and brother-in-law in one bedroom, my nephew, Henry, in the other…all of the beds were occupied, and I was thinking I would have to sleep on the couch.  Nope.  Not on my parents’ watch.  They rolled out a queen-sized air mattress for me to make sure I would sleep well while I was home.  After the first night, my mom went even OneMoreStep and integrated some feather top bedding to the mix to make me event MORE COMFORTABLE.  I slept like a baby…

Henry liked the air mattress too

I love my nephew, Henry.  He’s two and a half years old, but going on 32.  I don’t get to see him often, but when I do I’m always amazed at how fast he’s growing, how many more words he can say, and just how awesome he is.  I have an overwhelming desire to hug him, hold him, play with him, and just be involved in his life.  He’s only two…and he only sees me every five or six months so it takes him a while to warm up to “Uncle Taylor”.   

Often times he’s hesitant to play with me or let me love on him as much as others do.  However, on our way into church on Sunday, as we were crossing the road…the little fella reached his little right hand up and grabbed mine as we crossed the street.  That was the proudest I’ve been in a long time…I felt IMPORTANT.  See…sometimes the smallest things mean the most to people. 

So this OneMoreStep Trifecta really isn’t profound at all. We all like to feel welcome, comfortable, and important. The golden rule…TREAT PEOPLE HOW YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE TREATED.  It’s simple…but for some reason it’s not very easy.  That’s why if we’re the ones to take the extra five minutes to nail the OneMoreStep Trifecta, we’ll stand out in a crowd, we’ll gain trust, we’ll gain respect, we’ll become the leaders, and we’ll be the ones that make the difference that matters…

Have a great day.

Friday, July 15, 2011

FRED Friday...Mr. Dunn, the Chick-Fil-A Fred

FRED Friday…Mr. Dunn, the Chick-fil-A FRED  

(Special Capitalize on Life Experiences Edition of FRED Friday)

In The Fred Factor, Mark Sanborn, says that one of the ways we can all become more Fred-like is to “reinvent yourself regularly”.  One way to do that, he says, is to “capitalize on life experiences”.

From The Fred Factor…Chapter 7 – Reinvent Yourself Regularly:

Capitalize on Your Life Experiences

If you want to reinvent yourself and improve for the future, spend some time reflecting on the past.  What are the most important lessons you’ve learned?  What did you once deeply desire to accomplish that you never attempted?  Which people most shaped your life, and what did you learn from them?  Whom do you admire the most?  Which of their skills and characteristics would you like to develop in your life?

One of my best friends, Matt Olsen, often reflects on one life experience that left quite an impression on him.  When he worked for a Chick-fil-A just outside of Atlanta, GA back in 2008, he met a Fred…a customer…a Guest by the name of Mr. Thomas Dunn. 

Matt and I talk about Mr. Dunn quite often.  We love these Fred stories, and we particularly love this one.  Matt, being the ever-supportive best friend that he is, follows the OneMoreStepRevolution blog regularly…we share the same passion for making magic for people and going OneMoreStep whenever possible (hey…you can take the boys out of Disney, but you can’t take the Disney out of the boys)   

Matt called me earlier this week and wanted to share his story of Mr. Dunn for a special Capitalize on Your Life Experiences edition of FRED Friday…so please welcome Matthew Glenn Olsen to the tee box.

Enjoy his story about how he turned routine transactions into a meaningful relationship with Mr. Dunn.

Meet Mr. Thomas Dunn.
Mr. Dunn & Matthew Olsen...Two FREDs

In 2008 I had the pleasure of working side by side my college roommate, Chris Darley, while opening a new Chick-fil-A in Marietta, GA (just outside Atlanta).  

To this day I can't thank him enough for allowing me to join him in that venture.  During my time there I learned a great deal about myself, Guest service, being a steward, and the power of positive leadership.

While at Chick-fil-A I met one of our "raving fans", Mr. Thomas Dunn.  He would come in for breakfast every morning - Monday to Friday, rain or shine.  He was always there.  Within the first few months I noticed all of my fellow team members would meet Mr. Dunn with a friendly greeting and smile on a daily basis.  

Over time I started to get to know Mr. Dunn, as we would chat over breakfast ("my break") every morning.  Each morning I always looked forward to his visits.  I’d sit down with him as he enjoyed his coffee (with two hazelnut creamers and either a Cinnamon cluster or some Chick-fil-A Chick-N-Minis).  

He is such an experienced, wise man and shared many stories with me about his life, his wife, and his family.  We would talk about what was going on each day, plans for the week/weekend, each other’s trials and tribulations, life in general, and most of all…golf.   Golf was our one piece of common ground; we both have true passion and love for the game.  

In 2009 I left the Chick-fil-A store to pursue a career in another industry, and I relocated back to Orlando, Fl…home base.  I met with Mr. Dunn for breakfast on one of my last days in the Atlanta area, and he had a present for me.  As I stated before we both loved the game of golf.  The present he gave me was a golf ball from the Old Course at St. Andrews, which is the oldest golf course in the world (established in 1552 in Scotland).  He also gave me a pencil that says "St. Andrews" on it, which he used when he played a round at the storied course several years ago.  

While these gifts may not seem like they mean anything, they do to me.  You see Mr. Dunn knew I would love them.  He had listened during our conversations.  He clearly set out to create a little bit of magic for me…he truly went OneMoreStep.  St. Andrews is one course on my "bucket list" that I want to play some day, and Mr. Dunn doesn't know this, but when I do, I plan on using the pencil he gave me. 

At Chick-fil-A, they encourage all team members to deliver what we called "Second Mile Service."  The concept of going the second mile comes from the book of Matthew in the Bible. Jesus says, "If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles" (Matthew 5:41).  My faith is very important to me, so naturally I loved this part of the Chick-fil-A culture.  I tried to live it and breathe it everyday.  It’s the same idea as going OneMoreStep…as Taylor always talks about.

As weeks and months passed by after I left the store, I started to realize how much Mr. Dunn was showing me "second mile service" during my entire tenure at Chick-fil-A, and he’s continued to go OneMoreStep ever since.  Mr. Dunn started calling me on a regular basis, even after I left Atlanta.  He would simply call to "check-in" and see how things were going.  

Here we are, three years later, and we still talk once a month to catch up.  He always asks how my parents are doing (they came to visit me at the store one day and met Mr. Dunn, yet he still asks how they are doing during every single phone call). He always ends our phone calls by saying, "Matt, I pray and think of you often and please call me if you ever need anything."

To this day, Mr. Dunn still shows and exhibits his own "second mile service" and goes OneMoreStep as he continues to seek out ways to create value as he often brightens my day with his ever compassionate, genuinely interested phone calls to “see how I’m doing”.  
Second Mile Service

I'm honored and privileged to have met to Mr. Dunn when I lived in Atlanta, but the coolest part is that even after three years, I can still call him a friend.

Thanks Mr. Dunn for being a "Raving Fan" of Chick-fil-A.  I thought I was serving you, but you were teaching me then and you continue to teach me now - how to make relationships through giving "Second Mile Service" and how to create magic by going OneMoreStep. 

As they say at Chick-fil-A, “Eat Mor Chikin”…

And as T. Scott says, “when you think you’ve done enough, go OneMoreStep…”  You never know whose life you may impact when they need it the most.

Matt Olsen
Twitter - @T_Setter
Thank you, Matthew, for sharing you story.  I was proud of you in 2008 when you first met Mr. Dunn, and I'm still proud of you today...but as always, I'm mostly just proud to be your friend.  Keep going OneMoreStep.  See you in a few weeks...

Happy FRED Friday...


Monday, July 11, 2011's what we make it

LIFE…it’s what we make it
I'm Class of 2001...Ten Years as an FSC Alum

This one’s for the late Walter Coleman & Col. Chester Wiley: two great men who went OneMoreStep time and time again for their students at Florida Southern College.  I’m glad I was one of them…

Life…it’s what we make it.    

Cliché? Sure.    

Is it still worth talking or writing about?   

When we have no more doubt, worry, frustration, fear, disappointment, or challenging circumstances…we can all put this one to bed and stop going over it.  However, I don’t think that is going to happen anytime soon.  All of those things are just part of life.

As my mother and my 2nd Grade Teacher (Ms. Debbie Keeton) always used to tell us growing up, “Did you see a sign down the road that said life was fair?”   Nope.

OneMoreStep thought for this week: We get out of life what we put into it.  Even when we’re dealt challenging circumstances and things don’t go our way, the beauty of the situation is that we get to choose…It’s our choice to either let it happen or make it happenWe are what we think we are

Life…it’s what we make it.

We are what we think we are…

I had a professor over ten years ago at Florida Southern College by the name of Walter Coleman.  He taught Human Resources as well as the capstone course for all Business & Economics majors – Business 499: Problems & Policies.  To this day I can still hear his voice…he used to tell us almost daily, things like, “Mr. Scott…you are what you think you are.”  I remember hearing these words of wisdom as a 21-year-old college kid.  Now, as a 31-year-old young man in the midst of a career, I understand them.

If we think we aren’t good enough, we probably never will be.  If we think we will never be promoted, there’s a good chance we won’t.  If we think we’ll be single forever, we run the risk of never opening up our hearts and minds to finding that special someone.  If we think our dreams are too far fetched, then they will never become a reality.  If we go into each day thinking we’ll have one negative experience after another, we’ll rarely disappoint ourselves.

Here’s the good news…it’s up to us!  We get to choose whether today will be a “good one” or just “another long, frustrating day” fighting the good fight.  Focusing on the good stuff helps…thinking about the positive things and/or the things that we have the power to impact beats the heck out of dwelling on ALL of those things outside of our control.  (Philippians 4:8 is a great resource… that basically says, think happy thoughts, and in turn…we’ll be happier)

Make it Happen

I also had a professor in college by the name of Colonel Chester Jeffrey Wiley.  He taught Principles of Management and Managerial Accounting.  If you got an “A” on a test in his class, he would give you a grape soda…and he’d shake it up and throw it to you across the classroom so you wouldn’t and couldn’t open it and drink it during class.  So old school…I loved it.   

He also was known for his 30-minute seminar on how to become a millionaire.  The deal was…when you became a millionaire yourself; you had to send him a case of grape soda, his favorite.  At the time, around the year 2000, he had received over 15 cases of grape soda from former students…

I also loved that.

Professor Wiley used to tell us that there are three types of people:

·      People that LET IT HAPPEN
·      People that MAKE IT HAPPEN
·      People that stand around asking WHAT HAPPENED?

If you want the job, the promotion, the responsibility, and all that comes along with it, there’s only one thing to do…and that’s to simply reach deep down, go OneMoreStep when nobody else does…and make it happen.  Stay late.  Go in early.  Personally walk over and conduct business, engage in conversations, or call meetings in person vs. over the phone or email.  When everyone else is coasting along, refusing to do MORE, refusing to step up, and simply letting it happen, if you want it bad enough…go make it happen.  It’s up to you.

If you have an idea, a passion for something or someone, and you know deep in your heart that your idea will work…and that if leveraging your own passion can make a difference that matters to something or someone…you owe it to yourself to make it happen.  The time is now.  Don’t listen to the voices in your brain telling you ALL of the reasons that it’s a bad idea…if it’s your passion, if it will work, and if it will make a true difference that matters…go OneMoreStep.  Make it happen.

If we want something bad enough, we must MAKE IT HAPPEN; because if we sit around just letting it happen, we’ll soon be asking ourselves “what happened?”

Life…it’s what we make it.  We get out of it what we put into it.  Go OneMoreStep when you have a great idea, when you find your true passion, or when you can make a difference…MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Thank you Professor Wiley & Professor Coleman...and thank you Florida Southern College for an education that has prepared me and continues to serve me well in life and in my professional career.  Also, thanks to my parents for sending me to Florida was a great choice.  I am very grateful.


Have a great day.

Florida Southern College '01

Friday, July 8, 2011

FRED Friday...Meet Carlos, the Disneyland Fred

FRED Friday…Meet Carlos, the Disneyland Fred
Carlos...loving life

This past weekend I enjoyed a quick, 36-hour mini retreat to Southern California to visit one of my best friends, Sonny Ritacca, and to escape the Las Vegas summer heat.   

My goals were to see the ocean and Mickey Mouse…in that order.  Mission Accomplished.  Sonny and I had a great couple of days, enjoying each other’s company, the California weather, and of course some long overdue Disney MAGIC.

The idea was to experience Americana at its finest…Main Street U.S.A., at Disneyland, an American institution…on the Fourth of July.  Short of being on the mall in the District of Columbia or in New York City…it doesn’t get any more American than that. 

Plus…Sonny and I, having met exactly ten years ago at the Walt Disney World ® Resort while on summer internships, have an absolute passion for the Walt Disney Company to this day.  We love it.  We love the brand, the theme parks, the resorts, the stories, the memories, and we especially love good old fashioned Disney MAGIC.

A FRED Sighting…

As we strolled through Disney’s California Adventure, we passed by a Disney/Pixar CARS area in which Guests could have their picture taken next to Lightning McQueen.  I was pointing Lightning McQueen out to Sonny when we heard a CastMember by the name of Carlos say, “hi there fellas…did you want to get your picture taken with Lightning McQueen?” 

Sonny and I smiled, looked at one another…we both sensed Fred-like potential from Carlos.  Our intuition was correct.  Carlos, a merchandise Cast Member working a Cars merchandise stand directly across from the Lightning McQueen photo op area, went OneMoreStep after he initially opened up the conversation…he engaged further…

This is Disneyland…everybody can be a kid here…forget about work for a while…Are you guys having fun?  Is this your first time here?  Where are you from?”  Carlos further engaged with a charismatic, interested tone from the start.

I told him that we were big Disney fans and that both Sonny and I had been to the Disneyland ® Resort as well as the Walt Disney World ® Resort quite a bit.

Carlos then went OneMoreStep…he engaged even further, “Well, then…do you know the secret to spicing up a couple of our most popular attractions?  Let me give you a couple tips…” He spoke with such passion and conviction in his voice, again genuinely interested in making magic for us.  He continued:

 “…Okay, so when you go on Hollywood Tower of Terror, make sure you sit in the middle row – row #5 I believe it is – sit in the very middle seats in that row, and as you go up in the elevator car, just before it drops, pick up your feet and raise your knees up towards your chest…you’ll fly right out of the seat as it drops, and it’s just an unbelievable ride…it really makes it so much better.  Try it.  You’ll love it…”

Sonny and I found ourselves wrapped up in this conversation now…totally giving this some thought.  This seemed like it could be way fun and quite the rush.

Carlos wasn’t finished!  He went OneMoreStep…

“So that’s one…ya gotta do that on Hollywood Tower of Terror.  Now…when you go back over to Disneyland, go on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad…on the second hill, there’s a spiral-like turn on the way down…off to the side you’ll see a goat.  Fix your eyes on that goat the entire way down the hill as you spiral around, and make sure you look at the goat the entire time…you’ll experience a very cool g-force effect.  You’ll love this one too.  That way, since you’ve already done these attractions a million times, if you do these tricks on them today, you’ll have a new experience.  I promise, you’ll love it.”

Sonny and I thanked Carlos and gave him a quick high-five as he wished us a “magical day”, which of course I loved.  As we walked away, Sonny and I were all smiles.  We not only had a couple cool stories we could tell others about these two attractions, but we were both taken aback by the fact that Carlos had just taken a completely ordinary moment, in frankly a rather ordinary area of the park (relatively speaking), and turned it into one of the coolest experiences of the day. 

We went on multi-million dollar attractions and roller coasters that day.  We walked down the storied Main Street U.S.A. on the Fourth of July at the original, the one and only Disneyland.  We saw one of the best live theatrical performances I’ve ever seen at a Disney theme park, Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular (really a fantastic show…very impressive). 

However, we couldn’t stop talking about Carlos and how he created a moment, an experience, and truly made a positive difference out of thin air…and it didn’t cost a penny.  We didn't even go back and actually ride the attractions with the tricks Carlos taught us.  The five minutes with Carlos was cool enough in itself.  It was the thought and the passion with which he delivered his suggestions that made the real impact.  That’s what Fred’s do.  They create value by simply choosing to do so, with what they have.  They create art and flat out make magic.

Carlos proved that no matter what our role, regardless of how ‘significant’ it appears to be, anyone and everyone can make a difference.  It’s up to us what kind of difference we make and how we choose to perform our roles.  Carlos could have very easily mailed it in…a holiday…88 degrees in the shade…it was a boring time in the mid-morning, an hour after the park had opened…a “boring job…selling boring Cars merchandise”.  Instead, he chose to make a positive difference just like Fred. 

Page 9 of The Fred Factor

Mark Sanborn talks about Fred Principle #1 – Everyone Makes a Difference:

“…Where others might have seen delivering mail as monotonous drudgery, Fred saw an opportunity to make the lives of his customers more enjoyable.  He chose to make a positive difference.”

It's amazing how every single time the difference between the ordinary and extraordinary is just One…MORE…Step; just that little something extra.

When you think your role isn’t significant enough, you don’t get paid enough, and what you do doesn’t matter…Go OneMoreStep…think about Carlos and the value he created just by being himself. 

If he can do it, so can we…

Thanks Carlos, for making magic.  Your approach to your role in the show is just the way Walt would have wanted it.  Keep being you.

See ya real soon…


(Wondering what I mean by a FRED?  My favorite book, The Fred Factor, written by Mark Sanborn, tells the story of how an ordinary man, in an ordinary job as a postman goes OneMoreStep after OneMoreStep to make magic for his customers.  See the explanation of what I mean when I say "a FRED" on the original FRED Friday post  

Related posts...Meet other FREDS:

FRED Paul from U-Haul 

FRED Friday...Meet Van... 

FRED Friday...Meet Jennifer Le

FRED Brighton experience 


FRED Friday...Lou saved the day

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Second Half...

Second Half… 

This week marks the very first week of the second half of the year.  It’s hard to believe that yet another year is half over.  I’ve been thinking about this for several days.  It’s somewhat of a wake up call.  How will we remember this year?  Will it be a “great year”?  Or will it be “one of those years we can’t wait to forget”?

OneMoreStep thought for this week:  This week is the beginning of the second half of the year…wherever we are physically, professionally, psychologically, spiritually, and/or emotionally  - close out this second half strong.  Make each day count.  We have plenty of time to make it a great year…for ourselves and for others.

I ran across an Arthur Ashe quote last week that really struck a chord.  I actually tweeted it, texted it to a friend for encouragement, wrote it on our team’s white board at work, and now I’m sharing it with the OneMoreStepRevolution community:

“Start where you are.  Use what you have.  Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe

Start Where You Are

Sure we’re already six months in…sure it’s already halfway over…but there’s still time on the clock.  It ain’t over ‘till it’s over…so to speak.  So even if you’re not feeling 100% warm and fuzzy about the job, the girl, the guy, the city in which you live, or perhaps life in general – start where you are.  Make the decision to think about the good stuff…go into each day with a Positive Mental Attitude - PMA. 

Take a mental inventory of the things you can control…start there.  We’re much better off spending our time and energy thinking about and acting upon things we can control vs. dwelling on those things out of our control.  What positive impact can we start making TODAY…in our current role, with our current title, with our current company, in our current situation? Who can we lead, inspire, or motivate TODAY?  How can we improve today, this week, and/or this month?  What can we read?  What can we learn?  What can we write…that will result in positive outcomes?  Focus on those things.  Remember, you don’t need a title to be a leader.  We should start where we are

Even if you’re not in the role or position in which you think you should be…even if you aren’t technically supposed to lead certain individuals, processes, or teams…if you feel it’s productive, professional, and will make a positive difference – LEAD ‘EM ANYWAY.  Soon you’ll have the title, responsibility, and position…but the beauty of the situation will be that you made an impact for others without having been asked to do so. 

Use What You Have

We should also take mental inventory of our strengths and God given talents.  If we’re great writers, we should focus on writing inspiring/motivating/encouraging emails or hand-written notes to people that will pick them up when they need it most…a great OneMoreStep guaranteed to make a positive impact to anybody, anywhere as long as it’s done with a loving, serving heart. 

If we’re great speakers or communicators, we should find ways to touch individuals and/or groups of coworkers, friends, or family members with our words.  If we’re incredibly strong in math…financial analysis or the business side of things, why not leverage that to make an impact for our team, our boss, our families, or our coworkers?  We should use what we have…today…to start making a real impact to make a difference for someone or something.

Do What You Can

We should simply focus on the things we can control vs. those things we cannot.  If hiring decisions are out of our hands, then why worry about who gets selected or hired for this job or the other?  If other people in the organization make more money than us, but do less…can we really do anything about other people’s salaries?  More often than not…we can’t do anything about it.  So why worry about it? 

We should focus on the things we can control; the things that we can roll out of bed today, tomorrow, and the next day and truly impact, change, or influence.   We should focus on impacting the things that matter most to us and for others…but most of all those OneMoreSteps that will help others.  Try it.  It’s just more productive, more meaningful, more fulfilling, and really…it’s just more fun.  This is the essence of going OneMoreStep – doing things for others.

One of my favorite bands, Zac Brown Band, has a line in one of their songs that sums it all up:

“Save your strength for things you can change…forgive the ones you can’t…you gotta let it go…” – Zac Brown Band; Let it Go

So we have two choices…

1.    We can look at this as:  This year is already half over…dwell on all of the things we aren’t yet, haven’t been able to accomplish yet, and/or all of the time we’ve wasted – which makes us feel defeated, become depressed, and lose all hope.


2.    We can look at this as:  This year is ONLY HALF OVER…we have plenty of time to make this year a productive, meaningful, and fulfilling year for ourselves and perhaps…just maybe, we can help someone else salvage their year as we go OneMoreStep for them in as many ways as we possibly can. 

Make the Second Half of the year about creating value and making magic for others…we’ll have plenty to celebrate come New Year’s Eve because we’ll have truly made an impact on people’s lives, and at the end of the day…or in this case, year, that is what it’s all about.

Go OneMoreStep in the Second Half…finish this year strong.

Have a great day.


Related Posts:

Do it Anyway
It's Friday...Finish Strong
It's My Job
Keep Doing the Little Things