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Journey to My SoulFollowing Divine Navigation
By Terri Lynn
Balboa PressCopyright © 2012 Terri Lynn
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWhat You Think Matters
How do you view the world? Are you a glass half full person or do you subscribe to the glass half empty theory? How we view the world really does impact our lives. One friend of mine has the opinion that if she empties her glass at the end of each day, she will get more in her glass the next day; another friend tells me that her glass is so full that it spills over the top!
So which philosophy will bring more happiness to you? How does your belief system serve you? The creative power of the mind is beyond what we can even imagine, and most of us aren't even aware of what we are thinking. How crazy is that? What you think matters.
Every thought is a seed, a spark of creative energy. One brief thought does not carry much power; however, the same thought over and over produces results, even if we are not aware of what we are creating. This is why it is important how you view the world, what you think, and especially what you believe. Are you happy? On a scale of one to ten, where do you fit? What do you do to increase your level of happiness? Do you believe you are able to control your own happiness?
There is an old saying that "ignorance is bliss," that to be happy means to be stupid or unaware, but studies have shown just the opposite. Happy people make better employees, are more resilient, have a broader scope when faced with problem solving, possess a better immune system, bounce back faster, and the list goes on. So why are more people not focused on being happier?
We each hold the power to happiness in our own hands. Daily circumstances may vary the degree at times, but the strongest control lies within us. We are all different and what makes me happy may not be the formula for you. Only you have the power to increase your own level of happiness.
Faith gives me much happiness. Believing in a power outside of myself helps me see that all things are possible when I let go of the control. My life gives witness to the power of God and the way happiness can develop from a conscious decision to be happy, even in the midst of hell. Faith is a huge piece of my happiness.
Gratitude multiplies happiness more than anything. Appreciation can only add value; just like math, positives add and negatives subtract. Setting goals gives us focus, but being happy and grateful takes us wherever we want to go in life faster. Being grateful makes you feel good, and when you feel good, good things happen. Making a gratitude list is a great way to increase happiness over time. A gratitude journal works wonders for me. Once a month, once a week, once a day, whatever effort is put in is a plus. The more focus put on good things the better life feels, and gratitude breeds happiness. It takes discipline and training to change old patterns, but it is well worth it. Once the effort is made to get to the top level of happiness, it is much easier to maintain.
To reach my top level of happiness I meditate, exercise, follow a healthy diet, and get sufficient sleep. Meditating decreases stress, improves health, and helps me to become more aware of my thoughts. Meditation is definitely a catalyst that transforms my life into the life of my dreams. Good diet and exercise make a body healthy. Healthier is happier, for sure. Getting adequate sleep goes without saying. So how many things do you do to boost your own happiness? What are you willing to do?
When happiness comes first, everything in life is enhanced - everything! But so many people don't make the time to enhance their own happiness. Many folks are just stuck, putting all their efforts into getting by when they could be enjoying so much more. Are you stuck?
Many people I know just focus on the negatives, stuck in anger, bitterness, resentment, or being a victim. Whatever negatives you may be holding on to, please for your own sake, let them go. Even if the anger is directed at someone else, that anger only takes away from the person holding it. Here's an example:
Sitting at my desk one afternoon a young gentleman entered my office. He worked part-time answering phones at the BMW center where I am the Sales Manager. He handed me a little piece of paper from his fortune cookie he had eaten for lunch that read, "Focus on the positive and you will flourish." He says to me, "This reminded me of you." His thoughtfulness really put a smile on my face. When he started working at the dealership, he was so negative and down about life. His father, who had the same name as he, took his social security number and ruined his credit before he was eighteen years of age. This young man was so bitter and angry about this betrayal. He barely knew his father and just had hate spewing out of him about how his life was ruined. The anger showed in his demeanor. He was a very smart, polite young man, but he believed there was no hope for his future. He was all doom and gloom. Every day I talked with him a little to try to shine some light and get him to see a brighter picture. Months passed and I got nowhere; he was certain his life would suck forever! Finally, one day as he was ranting on about how it really doesn't matter what he does, his future is ruined, blah, blah, blah. I got so angry and said in a forceful manner, "What if you get to the end of your life and you realize you were wrong? What then? It will be too late! Isn't it better to think of all the possibilities that may be ahead then to doom yourself before you get started? What if you are WRONG? What if you are WRONG! I said again. Use your imagination to think of something good that might happen!" and with that being said, I walked off. Something happened that day. My anger got to him. I see it as a true miracle. His whole personality changed. A door opened that allowed him to see the possibility of a great future. He realized that the horrible situation he was living with would pass one day. He also awoke to the fact that his anger was hurting him, not his father. Once this young gentleman let go of his anger, his whole expression changed. Everyone could see the difference in him immediately. His whole attitude shifted to the positive side. He became more alive and focused on his future. He began filing for grants and scholarships, and sure enough, he got what he needed. He became so grateful to me for helping him see the possibilities, and he made sure everyone knew how I was the one that helped him make the shift. Even after he stopped working with me, he occasionally popped in to get a pep talk or to let me know how he was doing. So, on that particular day when he gave me his fortune cookie message, it made me feel good knowing that I made a difference in his life. It is also one of those messages that the universe sends out all the time, and I call these messages, Godsends.
The positive message from that fortune cookie is a good daily reminder for me to keep a positive focus. I tape the message on my computer keyboard. Life on the job is pretty hectic, and that little message I see every day makes me feel good. Over the next several years that fortune cookie message gives me a positive focus whenever I need it. And believe me when I say, "I need it often."
That incident occurred a few years ago. In the end, the young man that awakened to new possibilities, and delivered the fortune cookie message to me, ended up giving me as much, if not more, than I had given him. You get back what you give ... and often times more.
The BMW center where I work is getting more chaotic with each passing day, not so much due to business but because of a dysfunctional hierarchy. Four General Managers have been replaced in a two year period. Working with a new General Manager is always a major adjustment for all employees, but especially managers.
The owners are not hands-on people because they travel a great deal, but all is fine until they purchase a second BMW center in 2003, and business takes a little dip. To me it appears that they have become nervous. They do have a lot riding on two BMW franchises. They begin making change after change; to me and other employees their actions feel frantic.
After the purchase of the second franchise they begin to handle business from a distance so to keep an eye on things from afar. This seems to make things a little crazy. When it comes to the business, in my opinion, things would have been better if they were in office full-time or allowed the person in charge to make the decisions.
Both owners are wonderful, fun people to be around, and I enjoy working for them. The Mr. is easy to get along with, has an obvious love of life, and lives with exuberance. They lead an active life but always find time for charity events. They are true pillars in the community.
Because the owners' extravagant lifestyle keeps them away from the two centers much of the time, they hire a personal secretary to keep them filled in on the daily happenings. The personal secretary is a very sweet woman who has worked in several different departments over the past several years. She knows everyone in the workplace and is liked by all because of her lovely, caring disposition. Her job is to let them know EVERYTHING that goes on. We nickname the secretary 'the spy:' she fills them in by phone on the day-to-day happenings. This communication creates a full three-ring circus.
'The spy' lives in fear of losing her job, as many employees do at this time, because heads roll constantly. The employees term the firing of people as the 'revolving door.' So, 'the spy' has reason to have concern. Therefore, out of fear she reports every little detail, and some things would be better omitted. When confronted about her daily reports, she explains her fear to me, and I understand.
My current boss, the General Manager, does not have sales experience and appears to have no idea of how to handle the owners. He was previously service and parts director for all the stores and did an excellent job. I had worked with him for a few years prior to him becoming my boss. He is congenial, but from what I see, he has far too much responsibility for one person to handle.
In March of 2005, the GM calls me to his office. The owners are off on their yacht and have called in because the Mrs. suggests we serve hot dogs during our sale on Saturday. So my boss says to me, "I will get 'B' to get the hot dog cart out and clean it up. He can handle the hot dogs." I say cheerfully, "Whatever the Mrs. wants, the Mrs. gets!"
As I head back toward my office, there are three salesmen lined up outside my door. The first salesman says, "Mr. Jones placed his order, and I need to know the timeframe for delivery." So I check the availability sheet and answer the question. The next salesman needs a price for a phone customer. At that moment the GM calls me on the phone. He tells me there's an issue with the hot dogs and can I return to his office. I tell him, "I'll be there as soon as I can. I'm working a deal." The salesman in front of me is new. He tells me that he needs a price for a car in stock. I ask him who the phone customer is, and he gives me a name. I ask him where did he live, did he test-drive the car, did he set an appointment, is this the car the customer wants to buy or is he shopping other makes? He has no answers for me.
As I glance down, I happen to see the fortune cookie message that is taped on my computer, Focus on the positive and you will flourish. I take a deep breath and say, "I know you are really excited and want to sell a car." He agrees and answers in an excited frenzy that we have the exact car the customer wants in stock. I tell him that his enthusiasm is great. (Someone else comes to my door. I look up and ask if it can wait a few minutes, and I proceed.) I ask him what his job is here. He looks puzzled and says, "Sell cars?" "Yes," I reply, "but I think you are forgetting one thing." (Another interruption, the lot attendant comes rushing in and lets me know there's a damaged car coming off the truck. "I'll be there in a few.")
"Any idea what you forgot," I ask. "I did get his phone number!" he says with enthusiasm. "The one important thing you forgot is that price does not sell the car. You need to get more information so you know that the client understands the brand value and what he is getting for his money. What if he's looking at a Honda or a Toyota and is just looking at the price? Does he know that our car has a better value, free maintenance, a better warranty? Did he drive our car? Maybe our shopper does know all about BMW, but you'll never know if you don't ask."
"There's so much more to selling cars than just price. I need to go and take care of a few things. Why don't you call him with the MSRP price and get some more information. Ask him if he'd like to take a test drive. Ask him if he is shopping any other makes. Try to set an appointment with him. Since we have the exact car, ask if you can take it to him. If it's only price he wants, ask him what price does he have in mind?" The young salesman still looks so excited and replies, "Thank you!" As he was walking away, I tell him to keep up the good attitude! With his bubbling enthusiasm, somehow I know he will sell that car, and that is what he does.
As I walk out of my office, another salesman tells me that he needs me to locate a car ASAP. I excitedly reply, "You sell them, and I'll get them!" Just leave the locator sheet on my desk. "Great job," I say to him enthusiastically. He shakes his head and laughingly says, "I don't know how you stay so upbeat with all that goes on in your office, thanks."
I return to the GM's office to tell him that I'm needed outside and I'll be back. It is never pleasant to handle a new car that arrives with damage because it creates stress for all parties involved. On my way back I run into 'B,' and he's very upset. He speaks with a heavy accent and when he's upset, he's difficult to understand, a bit comical actually. He's ranting that he's not cooking hot dogs on Saturday in the freezing cold. The GM walks by looking very frustrated. He says to me, "Ask 'M' if she will serve the hot dogs if I can figure out who will cook them." I agree to ask her and head back to my office. 'M' helps the sales team with clerical work.
Back in my office the work is piled high. I have five voice mails and another few people waiting, plus the car to locate, and a report to finish. The first line of duty is a salesman who wants to know if I will take a deal he is working. I check the numbers and say, "Great job!" The second salesman needs help working some numbers on a deal. As I am working figures on a lease, 'M' walks by and I ask her about the hot dogs. She replies that she's not comfortable handling food and would rather not.
As I continue working on the figures for the lease, the body shop calls about the damaged car. As I hang up the phone, a customer arrives with an issue that needs to be resolved. I send the salesman out with his lease figures and turn my attention to the customer. By the time we resolve his concern, we are both laughing. Most customer issues are easy enough to handle; I just do the right thing.
By now, two more salespeople need assistance. Do you see the picture? It's a non-stop pace. That is why the fortune cookie message taped to my computer helps me stay positive. I actually love the pace of the job. It is pure action, and I enjoy it. It is the other nonsense that has nothing to do with being productive that takes the pleasure away for me.
When the GM discovers that 'M' does not wish to serve hot dogs, he rolls his eyes. He's angry now and blurts out that he has better things to do than this bullshit! I ask him "Why don't you just tell the Mrs. that the hot dogs are not a good idea for the March sale? It's too cold; we can have them when the weather gets warmer and be done with it. She's a reasonable woman. Did you tell her the temperature will be in the 30's on Saturday? When they left the weather was much warmer. The hot dog cart isn't for indoor use. You are in charge, right?"
He looks at me as if I am crazy for suggesting that he take control of the situation. He doesn't have the guts to suggest common sense to the owners. He is their yes man, and the circus is just starting. (Send in the clowns)
Excerpted from Journey to My Soul by Terri Lynn Copyright © 2012 by Terri Lynn. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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