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Tis the Season…To Be a Frog Kisser!

With less than 10 days to go, I know that your Christmas to-do list is overflowing with the presents you have yet to buy and the outrageous number of parties you ought to attend. The LAST thing on your mind is trying to come up with a way to be kind to the office Grinch or neighborhood Scrooge. However,

Did you ever consider that the holidays are the easiest time to practice “ frog kissing”?

Frog Kissing Girl - Sticks and Stones Exposed by Dave Weber(By the way, if you don’t know what “frog kissing” is, I recommend you add my book, Sticks and Stones Exposed to your wish list.) A frog kisser is someone who intentionally chooses, through their words and actions, to support, encourage, and affirm those with whom they come in contact. I find the holidays to be one of the best times to develop your “frog kissing” skills for two reasons:

  1. The holidays occasionally bring out the frog in all of us. Between crowded malls, buzzing airports and hectic family get togethers, it’s enough to make the sanest among us want to shout “Bah, humbug!” In spite of all the seasonal cheer, most people are busy, stressed and tired. Now, more than any other time of the year, people need words of kindness, encouragement and positivity. View this as an opportunity, not an inconvenience, as you put a new habit into practice.
  2. The holidays also give us plenty of “kissable moments”—I’m not talking about anything that happens under the mistletoe, but rather about the parties, end-of-year reviews, and jam-packed social calendars that are perfect opportunities for you to be a “frog kisser.” Thank a grumpy co-worker for his assistance on a project at the office party. Compliment the festive decorations in a stressed-out teacher’s classroom. Take a moment to wish a TSA officer, grocery bagger, or restaurant server, “Happy Holidays.”

If your own heart is feeling two sizes too small this time of year, I’d challenge you to try “frog kissing” someone else. Aside from brightening their day, it continues to create a new habit in you—one of building others up, fostering teamwork and opening up channels of honest, productive communication. Who doesn’t want to work with, live with, promote, or hire someone with those qualities?

Put “frog kissing” into practice this month and you may have the people closest to you wondering if your attitude isn’t the result of a Christmas miracle!

How will you be “frog kissing” during the holidays?

A Special Gift From A Participant

This past weekend I was doing a presentation for a group using principles from my upcoming book, Leadership Redefined in Las Vegas, NV.  After the presentation was over, I was surprised with a gift from one of the participants.  She had been in an “Overcoming Life’s Goliaths” presentation nine years ago and returned this year with a special gift just for me!  I couldn’t believe it!

If you have trouble viewing YouTube videos, click here to watch this presentation on WeberTV.

Be A Marvin

I had just finished an exhausting day of work. Three presentations — in one day — to three different customers — all in one city. Everything had to go perfectly and, thankfully, it had. I was finally on my way home. I dropped off my rental car and, bone-tired, trudged over to catch the bus that would take me to the airport.

As I climbed up the steps of the courtesy shuttle I was met by the most amazing deep, baritone voice, “Welcome aboard your escape from everything. Sit back. Relax. And enjoy the soothing sounds of some of the best jazz you have ever heard. Let these notes carry you away to a peaceful place, a beautiful retreat, an idyllic get away. My name is Marvin but you can call me ‘Velvet’ because my voice and my ride is smooooooth.”

Needless to say, me and all the other bleary-eyed road warriors, looked at each other with an “Is he for real?” expression on our faces. “In case you hadn’t noticed Marvin… er, Velvet, this is a shuttle bus not a stretch limo.”

Oh, but Marvin was just getting started. He introduced each song on his CD. Gave interesting background information about the artists. Asked if we had any requests. Played mini trivia games with us. Got us all interacting with him and with each other.

It was amazing to watch! In less than 10 minutes he had transformed the “same old boring shuttle ride with a bunch of tired strangers” into a positive, upbeat, fun experience.

As we exited, every single passenger thanked Marvin (of course, he was already up on his feet to high-five each one of us). He thanked us all for choosing his company, wished us all well in our endeavors, and asked that, when we returned, would we please, once again, allow him to serve us.

It was the single best rental car company experience of my life!!  And, trust me, I rent a lot of cars.  And the reason for my positive customer experience: not the reservation specialist when I made the reservation, not the counter agent who got me a map of the area, not the security guard as I pulled out of the lot who made sure I had the right vehicle and a full tank of gas…nope. It was the shuttle bus driver.

Will I do business with that car rental agency in the future? You bet I will! I’ll probably even wait an extra few minutes if the delay will allow me to ride on Marvin’s bus.

There is no such thing as an unimportant job. You have the ability, with whatever you do, to make it extraordinary. Choose to be a Marvin.

The Fourth

While warming up on the driving range I had already met Ed and Steve. They were in Orlando for a conference and were playing hooky on the final day to sneak in a day on the links. As we now stood on the first tee, the sun was bright and warm in the Orlando sky and it was shaping up to be a beautiful day for a round of golf.

It was Steve who first noticed him. “Oh great…get a load of this.”

We turned and saw a tall, thin teenager approaching the tee box. He shouldered a worn out golf bag, and was sporting a tattoo on his arm which nicely accessorized his four inch neon yellow mohawk. Clearly, he was to be our fourth.

“I do not need this today,” moaned an exasperated Steve.

“Why do they even let people like this on the course?!” added Ed.

Still 30 yards behind us, the kid yelled, “”Y’all go ahead and hit. Let me swing for a couple of minutes to warm up.”

“Like that’s gonna help,” muttered Ed. “This could be a very long round.”

The three of us took turns teeing off and, for our first hole, each of our drives was respectable enough. The hole was a dogleg to the right and all of our shots landed in the fairway in the neighborhood of 250 yards away. We were off to a great start and the compliments were flowing: “Good ball.”  “Nice shot.”  “That’ll play.”

Then we turned to let “our fourth” come up and drive and were shocked to see that he was still 30 yards behind us, two tee boxes away, with his ball teed up where the professionals play.

When his club hit the ball, it sounded like a cannon. Our heads whipped around as we followed the flight of the ball straight toward the trees. But rather than drop out of the sky like our shots, his ball continued to rise, completely cutting the corner and landing in the fairway at least 75 yards closer to the green than any of our shots.

While Ed and Steve pulled away in their cart, I waited to share my cart with our newest companion. He slowly loped  over to my cart and plopped his bag on the back.

“Great shot!” I said.

“Hit it a little thin,” he said. “But thanks.”

The three of us hit our approach shots on or near the green and then watched as this kid dropped a wedge to six feet from the hole. Then after about 20 minutes of watching us chip and putt, he stepped up drained his birdie putt.

The kid lipped out his eagle putt on hole 2 and tapped in for a second birdie. Needless to say Ed and Steve were now chatting it up with him…wanting to know what driver he was using, his thoughts on putters, what his best score was.

As he sat down next to me to ride over to the third tee, he grinned and said, “I hope I don’t slow them down too much.”

I laughed and said, “Me too, son. Nice birdie. Mom would have loved watching that one!”

Logan, my son, was a scratch golfer and on a number of junior PGA tours at the time. He was also the co-founder of a non-profit organization and had already literally travelled around the world building deep water wells in bush villages across Africa. He was and is truly a world changer.

But Ed and Steve almost missed getting to know what he could do.

Be aware of the preconceived notions you have of others. While none of us thinks we judge others, sadly we do it way more often than we think.

Slow down and give folks a chance before labeling them.