The Power of Attitude Choice: My Lessons from the Mall

christmas holiday shopping

Leadership Lessons from the Mall

 

The hordes of shoppers. Some striding with purpose while others aimlessly lollygag. Children lining up to see Santa. Holiday decorations more elaborate than the year before.

It’s that time of the year.

This year, more than ever, you don’t need to venture out to the stores. The online giants are delighted to offer an alternative. A few clicks replace endlessly circling in search of a parking spot and standing most of the day in lines.

I’ve never been one for shopping, malls, crowds, or any of it. It’s far better to avoid it all. I can rewind my own internal tapes and hear my dialogue: grumbling about the parking, the crowds, the waiting, the hassle.

But this year I suppose I feel somewhat nostalgic for it all. So, I do something unexpected and head to the mall.

 

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” –Zig Ziglar

 

Decide in Advance

I decide to enjoy it: the parking, the bitter wind as I leave the car for the store, the mall.

Inside, it’s warm, inviting. The first person I see is there to assist. He’s an older gentleman, kind, not intrusive and with equal doses of friendliness and helpfulness. We talk about his family and his plans to go home for the holidays. Like the song says, “I’ll be home for Christmas!” he says, laughing as much to himself as to me. He’s had some health problems, I learn, and they are behind him now. He’s glad to be back at work.

Classical music is playing and it’s live. I venture over to the piano and, eyeing a chair, slide into it and close my eyes. It’s a medley from the Sound of Music, which conjures up my childhood when we would all gather around for the yearly show on television. I must be getting old, I think, to be sitting here in a mall, listening to music, and not rushing in the least. Opening my eyes, I watch a young mom pushing a stroller. Her baby’s laugh seems to be part of the Sound of Music track.

 

“People may hear your words, but they you’re your attitude.” –John Maxwell

 

I get up and walk through the mall, enjoying the decorations and the energy of the crowd.

3 Leadership Lessons from Santa Claus

Leadership Lessons from Saint Nick

All year long he’s preparing for a single night.

Of course, he doesn’t do it alone. His faithful wife is by his side, a full partner in making Christmas a success. And the industrious elves are at work, focused, skilled, determined to meet the imposing deadlines. Oh yes, we can’t forget the reindeer, a critical part of his delivery team.

Christmas Eve is show time. There’s no room for excuses. It’s not possible to delay. Time waits for no man, not even Santa.

Santa’s leadership is fully on display on Christmas Eve.

1. Let go of the baggage weighing you down.

By the end of the night, everything is gone. He doesn’t hold on to anything. Every single bag is delivered, leaving him with an empty sleigh. Because of this, the year ahead offers unlimited opportunity, a fresh slate, a new outlook.

Are you holding on to baggage better left to the past?

 

Lesson from Santa: Let go of baggage weighing you down.

 

Lesson from Santa: Giving to others frees you up for new opportunities.

 

2. Remember the good and forget the bad.

Santa has kept a record. Sure, we know he supposedly sees the good and the bad, but no kid ever reports getting a bag of coal Christmas morning. I think he has an excellent memory for the good things, the kindnesses he sees, and he forgets a lot of the bad stuff. Santa focuses on the positive and uplifting.

Are you willing to overlook faults, forgive wrongs, and remember the best of people?

 

Lesson from Santa: Forget wrongs. Celebrate kindness.

 

Lesson from Santa: Focus on the positive.

 

49 Christmas Quotes and Sayings

For all of you celebrating Christmas, here is a collection of quotes and sayings to make you laugh, think, or remember. For those not celebrating Christmas, you may still enjoy some of the thoughts and sayings here.  Enjoy the season!

“What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.” –Phyllis Diller

 

“Mail your packages early so the post office can lose them in time for Christmas.” –Johnny Carson

 

“I stopped believing in Santa when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.” –Shirley Temple

 

“The worst gift is a fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world and people keep sending it to each other.” –Johnny Carson

 

“We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup.” –Buddy the Elf

 

“Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year.” –Victor Borge

 

“I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note saying: Toys not included!” –Bernard Manning

 

“A good conscience is a continual Christmas.” –Ben Franklin

 

“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly Merry Christmas.” –Peg Bracken

 

“Pets, like their owners, tend to expand a little over the Christmas period.” –Frances Wright

 

“One of the nice things about Christmas is that you can make people forget the past with a present.” -Unknown

 

“Love the giver more than the gift.” –Brigham Young

 

“I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.” –Harian Miller

 

“That’s the true spirit of Christmas: people being helped by people other than me.” –Jerry Seinfeld

 

“The real Santa Claus is at the mall.”–Lemony Snicket

 

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” -Charles Dickens

 

“Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.” –Eric Sevareid

 

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” –Andy Rooney

 

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” -Normal Vincent Peale

 

“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” –Charles Schulz

 

“The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value.” -Charles D Warner

 

“The only blind person at Christmastime is he who has not Christmas in his heart.” –Helen Keller

 

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men.” -Luke 2:14

 

“There’s nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.” –Erma Bombeck

 

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” -Calvin Coolidge

“Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.” -Dale Evans Rogers

 

“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know.” –Irving Berlin

 

“This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone.” -Taylor Caldwell

 

“Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.” –Dr. Seuss

 

“You know you’re getting old when Santa starts looking younger.” –Robert Paul

 

“Always winter but never Christmas.” –CS Lewis

 

“At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.”  -Chris Van Allsburg

 

“Christmas is a time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it. Deficits are when adults tell the government what they want and their kids pay for it.” -Richard Lamm

 

“Christmas is a time when you get homesick-even when you’re home.” – Carol Nelson

 

“And so this is Christmas…what have you done?” –John Lennon

 

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the Inn.” -Luke 2:7

 

“The two most joyous times of the year are Christmas morning and the end of school.” – Alice Cooper

 

“Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends.” –Margaret Thatcher

 

“There has been only one Christmas. The rest are anniversaries.” –WJ Cameron

 

“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.” –Alexander Smith

 

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” –Bob Hope

 

“Peace on earth will come to stay, when we live Christmas every day.” –Helen Steiner Rice

 

“Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.” -Larry Wilde

 

“It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you.” –Mother Teresa

 

“A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.” –Garrison Keillor

 

“Remember, if Christmas is found in your heart, you won’t find it under a tree.” –Charlotte Carpenter

 

“At Christmas, all roads lead home.” –Majorie Holmes

 

“The way you spend Christmas is far more important than how much.” –Henry David Thoreau

 

“I’ll be home for Christmas. You can count on me.” -Bing Crosby

 

 

Make Some Room in Your Heart this Christmas

A Chance Encounter

Dan Peterson was suffering the loss of his wife, Mary. Depression descended on him so profoundly that he spent his days staring out the window.

A chance encounter with a four-year-old little girl named Nora changed everything.

It’s quite a touching story about loss, love, and renewed hope.

 

“I know I made room in my heart for a lot more.” -Dan Peterson

 

And it’s a reminder that each of us, no matter our age, can have a profound impact on those around us.

Christmas can be a wonderful season, full of joy and family. It can be a time of deep spiritual renewal. It can also be a time of suffering for those who have lost someone.

Let’s learn from this incredible little girl. This season:

  • Make a stranger a friend.
  • Give a hug to someone in need.
  • Develop a sensitivity to others around you.
  • Express your heart.
  • Give more than you receive.

“We rise by lifting others.” –Robert Ingersoll

 

Be the Unsung Hero

Christmas Lessons from An Unlikely Source

This is a guest post by Tammi Spayde. Tammi is an executive specializing in human resources, marketing, and operations.

The Reluctant Dog Owner

“Mommy can we please have a dog? I promise we’ll take care of it!”

Every Christmas, the plea for a dog was made.  I was going to have to find another way to ask what they wanted.

“Oh honey, your brother is still small. It might not be safe to get a dog right now.”

“Ok.”   Head hung, she walked away and was soon on to other things.

 

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” –Roger Caras

 

Through the younger years of childhood, we successfully diverted the annual dog question. “Not this year, we’re going to take a special trip!” “How about a ping-pong table instead?” “We aren’t home enough to have a pet—it wouldn’t be fair.” “Mommy and Daddy already bought you a gift. You’re going to love it!”   Squeals of excitement and distraction. Dog day averted once again.

 

Be Open to the Unexpected

That’s why it came as a shock to all of us one year when the annual plea was made and I said “maybe.”

WHAT?! Who said that? My husband looked at me as if I had lost my mind. I had and didn’t know why. Seriously, I had no idea why I said “maybe” but now I was in trouble. Three pairs of eyes staring at me with a mix of sheer joy and astonishment. And then the questions. “When can we get it!?” “Can it be a puppy?” “Can I name it?”

“Uh honey, can I speak to you privately?” My husband ushered me out to garage. “What are you doing!?”

“I don’t know but I have a plan.” During the questioning and walk to the garage, I had devised a strategy. We would just go and look. I had to maintain credibility but was certain I could find a way out.

I phoned my friend Rene. Rene had recently assumed the leadership role at a rural animal shelter. “Hey Rene”! Had to be careful here…didn’t want to give her the wrong impression. “You probably don’t have any suitable dogs and I’m not really a dog person but you know…the kids keep asking. I might consider it if you had something in the range of a 2-year old, house-broken, non-shedding, hypo-allergenic, 15-20 pound, special breed, child-friendly dog.” I felt pretty smug and slightly guilty. When Rene said “no” I would just go back and tell the children they didn’t have any dogs this year that would be right for us.

“You know”, said Rene, we don’t get a lot of dogs here with that profile but we have a few that would be perfect for your kids. Bummer.   Again, my integrity was at stake. “Can you and your family stop by the shelter tomorrow night?” Moving too fast Rene.

 

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” –Josh Billings

 

“Sure” I say.

On the hour drive to the shelter, the excitement increased. The adults weren’t saying much and the kids didn’t stop talking. We arrived at a small, colorful little building and were met by Rene and her friendly team. Secretly hoped it would be dark and smelly but no such luck.

Rene handed us a family questionnaire. Huh. Weren’t we here to look at dogs?  We completed the survey with questions like, “Do you want your dog to excitedly greet you and follow you when you arrive at home, greet you and then return to his/her spot or not greet you at all?”

 

Life’s Greatest Joys Are Not Usually Planned

After our family questionnaire was completed and scored, we were given a color that represented our family temperament. Dogs with the same color were brought out for us to “interview.” We were deemed to be “compatible” with two color groups. Interesting. Maybe we could use this system when we interviewed people for jobs at my company.

FullSizeRender (21)Among the canine candidates was Miles the Beagle. My husband had beagles growing up, albeit outdoors. He was cute and I thought “maybe.” Then he hiked his leg on the drywall. Rene saw the horror on my face.

You see, I am an indoor person. I view the outdoors pretty much as the space between two indoor places. “Now don’t let that bother you”, says Rene. Our reception area ‘reads’ as an outdoor space to him because of all the dogs. He probably wouldn’t do that once he was settled in your home.” Just the mere chance was more than I could handle. We passed on Miles. Another few interviewees and I was thinking we were home free. Even the kids were a little put off by Miles’ behavior.

And then Bonita was ushered in.   Fifty pounds, shedding, black hair, not sure of her age, rescued from the roadside. Not at all my ideal dog profile. Handed to our son to walk, she stayed right beside him. Stopped when he stopped, walked when he walked, looked up at us all adoringly. She was apparently bi-lingual and responded to commands in English and Spanish. Danger zone. I had to do something.

 

“The simplest things in God’s creation, even an abandoned dog, speak volumes about love.” -Tammi Spayde

 

“Thank you all so much for introducing us to the shelter. We’ll think about it. We need to get back home. The kids have homework.”