It’s All About The Medal
If you follow me on Twitter or if we’re friends on Facebook then you are aware of the bicycle ride Karen and I took this past Saturday. We have ridden in the Hotter N Hell Hundred bicycle endurance ride several times. Karen has ridden in 10, I believe, and I have ridden in 15 or so rides over the last 27 years. This year marked the 31st anniversary of the ride. Since the 10th anniversary ride all riders completing their choice of 25, 50, 100K or 100 miles receive a medal for finishing the ride. Karen and I have always considered this medal a badge of accomplishment, proof to ourselves that we have done something that is not so easy. I have ridden in all of the routes and Karen has ridden all routes except for the 100 mile. (side note: Karen has completed a 100 mile ride, just not in this particular event, yes, I am proud that my wife can kick your butt on a bicycle)
This year we decided we would ride the 50 mile course. This is an important number; please remember it as you read on. Over the 31 years of this event the course has seen a few changes, this year we witnessed a change from the 50 mile course we have ridden in the past. Making certain we rode past certain landmarks, especially through Sheppard Air Force Base, which was awesome because the Airmen were lining the streets cheering for us. US! They were cheering for us; something was very backward about military personnel cheering for us. That was awesome!
As I was saying, the 50 mile course had changed slightly. The changes made in the 50 mile course resulted in Karen and I riding 52.49 miles. Now, 2.49 miles may not seem like a lot but this was at the end of 16+ mile trek that took us straight in to a 25 mph wind. When the odometer on my bike turned over to 50 we knew we had accomplished what we had set out to do, we could have stopped, gotten off of our bicycles and waited for the sag wagon to come pick us up and take us to the finish line area. I say area because if you come in on the sag wagon you do not get to cross the finish line, thus you do not receive a medal. We trudged on for that last 2.49 miles because we knew that was the only way we would get the medal. It was not an easy 2.49 miles to ride because of the wind and the fact we had already ridden 50 miles. Mentally we were prepared for 50 and so mentally, we were done. We were shutting down. But, we persevered because the medal was waiting. We did cross the finish line on our bicycles and we both received a medal. A medal that I now proudly display with my other medals and pins from other years.
The lesson here is simple and yet difficult. When you have given it all, when you have given everything asked of you, when you have done what was expected of you, go another 2.49. You’ll be glad you did and there just might be a medal in it for you.
August 1, 2012
Whatever You Do
We here at Caring are in the business of taking care of people. People often commend me for being in this industry. I hear what a worthwhile thing it is that I do. You all know it is not me performing the work for which I receive praise. But, I humbly accept the praise and credit my wonderful staff of Care Managers and Caregivers, the ones who are actually doing the work that gets me a pat on the back. I will, however, give myself a little credit. What I do behind the scenes allows my staff to perform their duties without having to worry about the little things such as, will there be enough money to pay everyone this week, you know, little details like that.
As a franchisee I have folks helping me behind the scenes and they probably have folks helping them as well. We all need some help behind the scenes and I am fortunate that the franchisor has a tremendous system in place to help me behind the scenes. That system involves some pretty great people. Tauni may not think about it much but she has helped an elderly person remain healthy happy and home simply because she helped me get some brochures which will be distributed and reach someone that needs our assistance. Michelle puts together an awesome company video each year that motivates offices around the country and reiterates that we are associated with a fun company. Michelle does so much more throughout the year to help us as well. There are many other great people at the corporate office that work diligently behind the scenes to make sure we can go about the business of caring for people. They all have an impact on caring for people in their home.
Whatever it is you do for your company I hope you realize you have an impact on the end product. Whether you are in a service industry or you deal with actual products, the happiness, health or just the feel-good of the client has a lot to do with how you perform your job. So, whatever you do, do it as though the ultimate satisfaction of the client rests squarely on your shoulders.
July 25, 2012
Care, It’s What We Do
If you are reading this on billarchinal.com and are not associated with Caring Senior Service please keep reading. Even though you are not part of the Caring family I think you will gain from this story. For those of you that are a part of the Caring family, thank you for what you do.
I am away from the office for a few days so I received the following news via text message from one of my Care Managers. Kathy simply stated that Mrs. J had passed away. Mrs. J had been one our clients for a little more than 5 years and she was a 24 hour client for that entire time. As a business owner my first thought was how would we replace those hours of service very soon. The 24 hour cases are huge revenue producers and not easily replaced, which is why I would rather have three clients at 8 hours a day instead of one at 24 hours a day. You see, the thing about this business that has always been a source of inner contention is that we deal with people who are, for the most part, at the final stage of their life. Our Caregivers do a fantastic job of ensuring that our clients live their remaining days in comfort and without want. If you have read even a few of these blogs then you know how I feel about our Caregivers so I will not dwell on that this time (but rest assured, I will at some point in the near future).
As I said, my immediate response was that we lost hours and those hours needed to be replaced. It is fortunate that I am out of town because my three Care Managers were not able to hear my response or see my face as I had a look of despair because I had lost revenue. I am somewhat ashamed and embarrassed to admit that so publically but I know my Caring family is quick to forgive and even quicker to love.
As Mrs. Jones lay in the bed at the on-site Hospice facility I am proud to say that all three of my Care Managers were by her side, she passed away shortly after they left. Michelle, one of our Caregivers was at her side when she passed. You see, Caring was the only family she had. For the last five years Kathy and Shelley were her family. Lori has been a part of it for the last six months. All three were dedicated to her care just as they are all of our clients. Of course I do no not want to neglect the Caregivers that were with her every day and night over the five years but they are too numerous to name. Normally if all three of my Care Managers were out of the office at the same place I would be very curious bordering on furious but this is a decision they made without consulting me because it was the right thing to do.
What my Care Managers did today was not file progress notes, they did not do any marketing, they performed no supervisory visits. What they did was care.
I normally finish WWW with the lesson learned, but………..
April 11, 2012
I Really Like Yu
Monday was a great day in sports for me. It was not as big as LinSanity or Tebowing or BubbaGolf but if you are a part of the Texas Rangers faithful then Yu know what I am talking about. Yu Darvish is the Japanese phenom that now pitches for the Texas Rangers. Last winter the Rangers won the right to talk to Darvish with a multi-million dollar bid. The bid was just for the right to talk to him although they did sign him which will cost them many millions more over the next few years. The point is the Rangers paid out a whole lot of money before this kid ever stepped on the diamond. So, Monday night was one of the most anticipated games ever for Rangers fans. It did not go well, at first.
The first inning of the game was a complete disaster for Darvish. He gave up 4 runs including a bases loaded walk, which is akin to the unpardonable sin in baseball. The Rangers faithful knew there was a slight possibility of this implosion happening. Here you have a 25 year old kid, a brand new resident of the United States who has been paid millions of dollars to perform at the highest level. I’m sure he was more than just a little nervous and it showed during that first inning.
As the game progressed one could sense that Yu was getting a little calmer, more in control and more confident in himself and that his team was going to be there to back him up. I guess the whole team was a little nervous for Yu because the defense displayed in the first inning was on par with the Bad News Bears. Well, the pitching improved, the defense improved and the Rangers offense came alive rather quickly. After spotting the Seattle Mariners a four run lead the Rangers came back to win the game 11-5. The game was a great demonstration of team work and stick-to-itiveness. The Rangers could have pulled Yu out of the game when he showed no command of his pitches and had given up all of those runs but the manager saw signs of improvement and signs of confidence beginning to show. The bottom line is Yu did not give up and the team did not give up on him.
As we go about or business each day we are always wanting the best performance not only out of ourselves but also from those with whom we work and when we don’t get the best performance we should not panic. Sometimes we need to work it for ourselves. If you see someone struggling then you may need to let them work though it or it may take a visit to the mound from the coach to encourage and make suggestions. Keep them in the game as long as possible, hopefully you will see that errors will be corrected and they’ll find their control thus increasing their confidence which will improve their performance. If you are the struggling pitcher, whether you’re a leader in your company or a worker bee, don’t be afraid to ask for help or even encouragement. Maybe someone can point out one thing that you may have overlooked and that could make all the difference. Once Yu got in the groove and the Rangers bats came alive they were able to cruise (Cruz) to victory. Both ingredients were needed just like we rely on those around us to succeed Yu could not have done it without the run support. Whatever your role is remember your team is depending on you because if you are not in the groove then victory just may slip away.
March 28, 2012
Hard Lessons Learned
(that’s a concrete reference)
I realize what you are about to read is not an earth shattering revelation, we’ve all heard this before, but I, for one, am often in need of a reminder of certain things. Ready? Here it is, we can learn from not only our failures but from our success as well. See what I mean? We’ve all heard that before.
I learned some lessons from my little ‘bust up the sidewalk’ adventure last weekend. I consider my project a success and a failure. I did not get the entire sidewalk taken up but from my weigh in at the city landfill I have determined that I busted up and hauled away approximately 4500 pounds of concrete. A ton of that went in my truck and the rest went to various dumpsters in my neighborhood via my wheelbarrow. I consider this project a failure because I was not able to get the entire sidewalk busted up and hauled away. I consider it a success because I was able to get as much done as I did without injuring myself or causing a heart attack. I will use this experience to make decisions in the future. If I am ever faced with busting up concrete and hauling it away I will politely decline the offer. I learned that much of the time was taken up by resting and drinking water. This, I determined, was time well spent. I also learned better ways of busting up concrete; call it “on the job training”.
We learn from the things we experience, whether they are successes or failures. The important thing is to act upon the lessons learned. If I were to go out this evening and bust up more concrete, assuming I could even lift the sledge hammer, then I would not be making a wise decision based on how sore I am. I would probably even do some damage to my 50 year old body, not smart.
The challenge to you, as you would expect, is to learn not only from the failures but the successes also. Erwin McManus, author and filmmaker, said “We cannot change our past but we can create our future”. I think that is the lesson we should learn from our successes and failures. Duplicate and improve upon your successes and tweak your failures to create your future.
March 21, 2012
Karen and I have been working quite a bit in our yard lately since we have had a few days of nice weather. We have lived in our house for exactly one year and in that time we have been compiling a list of things we would like to change, most of which are on the outside of our house. One of the things on the list is to replace our sidewalk. We live in an established neighborhood, which is realtor speak for old. We have several large trees in our front yard as well as along the side. If you have ever been to the panhandle of Texas then you know the phrase ‘we have several large trees’ is rarely uttered. Our part of town is the envy of all Amarillo because we have shade.
Well, with large trees comes large roots and roots wreak havoc on sidewalks. So, it is time our sidewalk is replaced. Karen and I decided that it would be much less expensive if we (I) did the demolition of the old sidewalk. I had a sledge hammer that I thought would do the job just fine. I had been using my six pound hammer with a 13 inch handle to bust off some old metal sprinkler heads so I thought I would use that until I actually used it on the concrete. I got a few cracks in the sidewalk but I could tell immediately this job would take a tremendous amount of time at the pace I was on. I went to the hardware store and the ‘expert’ there told me I needed a six pound hammer. I informed I had a six pound hammer and it was wearing me out. He then showed me a six pound hammer with a 33 inch handle, a full 20 inches longer than my other hammer. So I purchased the longer handled hammer and left the store hoping I had not just been had by a slick salesman. The difference between the two hammers was incredible. Here I had two six pound sledge hammers but the one with the longer handle was performing leaps and bounds beyond the short handle hammer.
By all appearance the hammers are the same if you look at the business end of them. The difference lies in what is behind the hammer. The long handled hammer has more backing it, more support, more umph.
Many of you reading this have people under your charge and many of you have supervisors asking you to perform a job. As a supervisor, it is your responsibility to provide that umph to those depending on you for leadership. You see, if someone has a job to do they can perform that job much better if the support and foundation is behind them. Don’t expect a short handle hammer to do the job that requires a long handled hammer. If you are the one being asked to perform a job and feel you need more support then it is ok to ask and be specific about what it is you need.
If you would like to hear more of my thoughts on this analogy feel free to stop by my house this weekend and bring a long handled hammer.
February 29, 2012
Today is Leap Day. Now that I have impressed you with my knowledge of the calendar I’ll let you in on a little known oddity about Leap Day. When a legal document contains a deadline in terms of days, months or even years, today does not count. It’s basically a freebie. Apparently it is not fair to other shorter years to recognize today as a real day. My guess is somewhere around the country there will be legal decisions made and for some reason those decisions will mean something even though today does not exist in the eyes of a legal deadline. I guess that is one for the legal minds to ponder and woefully try to explain.
Another oddity about today is I’m not getting paid to work today, and if you work on salary, you’re not getting paid to work today. It’s another freebie. My salary is based on a 365 day year and this year has an extra day so there is no salary allotted. Sorry to break the news to you and please don’t leave. Actually, you should take advantage of it. Think of today as the free play. In football if the defense commits a penalty during a play then the offense knows they have nothing to lose so, if they realize soon enough into the play that the penalty has been committed, the offense can ‘go for broke’. If it works then the offense can decline the penalty and take the good results of the play. If the free play does not work out so well then there is no problem because the defense committed a penalty and the offense gets another chance a few more penalty yards down the field.
Consider today your free play. Go for it! Make a difference, do something out of the ordinary to bring success to your team. What will you do?