education, ethics, inspirational, motivational, Uncategorized

Customer Service

Great Customer Service! In Trinidad that is an oxymoron. However I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised on Monday 5th June.

Image result for customer service

There I was harassed and concerned about obtaining my International Visa Travel Card. I had joined a queue. You know how waiting multiplies times. Well… I felt that I had been there for a long, long time.

Just as I got to the top of the line, from almost nowhere, another bank customer rushed to the counter to “ask a question”. I was so annoyed but I kept my peace and waited to see what would be the outcome.

Thankfully, something wonderful happened. Something I hardly ever witness. The attending clerk very politely informed said customer that there was a line and everyone else was waiting to ask a question also.

I was relieved. I really thought that the person would have gotten through by breaking the line and it was a breath of fresh air to encounter fair customer service.

I got through but ended up having to visit another section in the same branch. Again, as I sat awaiting my turn, a hot and bothered woman rushed to the counter, with the look on her face that she was very busy and needed attending to right away.

There was already another customer at the counter, so I told her that she had to take a seat and wait her turn. Her response? “I just want to ask a question.” Well ‘dearie’ that is exactly what I was waiting to do as well. I shrugged and let her be.

The clerk noticed her standing impatiently in the way and addressed her with a pleasant, “Good morning”. That was her cue to rush in and “ask her question”.

Again I was fortunate to witness another moment of impartiality, rightness, courtesy, integrity…call it what you will, I witnessed it and was so pleased.

The clerk very nicely asked her to sit and wait her turn. She sat next to me and sought a sympathetic ear. I usually do lend such an ear but not this time. I could not condone her actions.

Would you believe that I witnessed yet another such incident mere hours later at another financial situation? My, my I just may have to reassess the level of customer service in Trinidad. It seems that slowly the apparently uncaring servers are evolving into people with a conscience and a kind, considerate and gentle disposition.

Kudos to those two financial institutions. My faith in humanity and goodness was nurtured on Monday.

inspirational, motivational, peace, relationship, Uncategorized

Relationship Tape

What a wonderful metaphor I encountered innocently last week!

One of my students claims that she is very clumsy. This I learnt as I observed that her 12 inch (30cm) ruler was broken and repaired with…scotch tape and her spectacles handles were taped to the frame as they had broken off sometime ago.

As we joked about her clumsiness, a thought hit me. Many things can be broken and repaired simply by applying tape or glue. I myself had broken my cell phone once and repaired it with tape. Many torn pages were held precariously together with tape or staples.

If only it were so simple to mend broken relationships!

Image result for relationship tape

However relationships are formed between living, breathing, emotional beings. We grow into relationships, daily doing things to earn trust, to build rapport, to show support and to demonstrate our love for another human being or for that matter an animal, a pet.

The human ego , the psyche, is extremely fragile. Some more than others. It takes time to forge bonds. They are tested time and time again. And sadly in an instant of volatility, one mistake, one harsh word, one misunderstood emotion or one misstep can cause those carefully crafted to bonds to snap!

Perhaps it is a good thing that this type of breakage is difficult to repair. Had it been easier then less effort and time would be spent on trying to build rather than break down bonds.

What if there was some sort of relationship tape or staple or glue that  could be used to mend a broken relationship or heal a hurting heart?

After we laughed about this direction that our conversation had shifted into, it became clear that there is a way.

Of course nothing worthwhile comes without a lot of hard work. So this “relationship tape” comes through the practices of faith, humility, gratitude and forgiveness.

Each one of those is a huge mouthful for anyone. In today’s technologically advanced world, people have become worshipers of the Universe. Alternatively they claim to be atheists or highly open minded so that anything goes. Faith though is integral in any undertaking. We do things not knowing the final outcomes and that in itself is faith.

Spiritual faith gives us a freedom and strength to be able to release perceived or real hurts and helps us to see the good in spite of the bad. It provides for us a foundation of integrity, morals and values that is needed for the development of civility and social consciousness.

Humility, gratitude and forgiveness come with faith. That does not mean it comes easily. We are human and hence imperfect beings. No matter what our religious persuasion or faith may be, practicing these big guns of character definitions is difficult. Difficult not impossible.

By adopting a humble approach, we can see things with new lenses. We can learn to put others before self. Not easy by any standard but with daily practice it becomes more integrated into our behaviours.

Gratitude makes us cast a backward glance and recognize the good that others may have done for us, even the ones who are currently doing something to bring pain. It makes us see the small efforts, not just the large gestures.

Forgiveness is perhaps one of the most difficult practices. But when we incorporate faith, gratitude and humility into our habits, then forgiveness comes much more easily.

Our “relationship tape” then is formed by the melding together of faith, humility, gratitude and forgiveness.

The next time you mend a torn page or stick a broken ornament, remember that relationships can be mended too…with the right “tape”.

 

inspirational, motivational, public speaking, self help, Uncategorized

I Made A Terrible Mistake

I made a terrible mistake when I mounted the platform to speak officially for the first time. I had been invited by a prestigious insurance company to one of their breakfast morning sessions to end the year at Christmas back in 2014.

I was nervous because I so wanted to impress the person who had invited me to speak. More than wanting to impress him, I did not want to let him down. I also felt that there was a lot at stake here. This was my first speaking engagement. If properly done, it could open so many other doors.

Image result for first speaking engagement clip art

Given the theme for the session, I gave it much thought. I tried to find a unique, pseudo-intellectual opening and angle. I wrote, re-wrote, added, subtracted and just kept changing so many times in an effort to have the perfect speech.

I tried memorizing the speech just a few days before. I knew what I wanted to say. I knew my personal story. But I wanted it to sound exactly the same as I had it written down.

On the morning of the event, I got up early. I dressed in an immaculate white pantsuit with a sky blue vest. My accessories matched the blue of the vest. My hair was well coifed and of course although no one would smell my speech, I sprayed my best perfume that morning.

I thought I looked pretty good, all things considered. I knew I smelt good. I had lost a lot of weight since 2013; it was about twenty pounds or so. The pair of trousers was a bit slack but it did not matter. It fit well and stayed up without a belt.

Anxiously, I packed up the car with copies of my book for sale as well as the roller banner that my mother had given me as a gift at the launch of my first book.

We got there very early. “There” was a local hotel which was very close to the southern coastline in Trinidad. The view was magnificent. The cool morning air was refreshing and eye-opening. The sea was calm and the whole atmosphere was peaceful.

Final arrangements were being put in place as we walked into the hall where the breakfast was being hosted. We were greeted like celebrities. A special seat was allotted to us. There was ample time for the banner and books to be put in place.

Soon enough, the programme started but first we were invited to have breakfast. Breakfast was good I remember but I honestly cannot remember the various items.  As we ate, a couple performed several songs, some local, some oldies not local. I was blown away by how good they sounded and by their performance. Speeches related to the annual insurance performances by the various agents and agencies were next.

Then it was time for the guest speaker…me! I went with my notes thinking that if I forgot or stumbled, I would have the notes to help me back on track. Big mistake. I got up in front everyone and, although I taught for so many years, I somehow got stage fright. I started to read my speech.

Sure I looked up and made eye contact. Sure I ad-libbed to some of my past students in the audience. But that did not change the fact that I read my speech. I knew my story so why did I do that? I must have panicked. I do not know for sure, but that must have been the reason.

I felt that I did not connect with my audience… and I most likely did not. I felt so disappointed with myself. I had let down the gentleman who had invited me. All they needed was a testimony. I went with the wrong approach.

The good thing about making that terrible mistake was that I learnt a valuable lesson. I could plan my speech but I must not read it. I should not even walk with prompts because I may just revert to reading them instead of speaking from the heart.

Since then I have planned my speeches. I know what my message is. I adjust the speech to suit the theme or the audience and then I talk…straight from the heart. I allow my personality to show (just a bit because I am not sure how many can actually handle my personality). I relate with the previous speakers. I make references to current events if relevant. Perhaps the most important thing that I do is to give praise to God in all that I do.

Making that terrible mistake the first time may have prevented any further engagements as a result of that event but, it taught me how to approach future speaking engagements.

gun violence, inspirational, motivational, resilience, Uncategorized

How Victims of Gun Violence Cope

If you were a victim of gun violence, then this blog post is for you. I am reaching out to anyone whose life was drastically affected by an act of gun violence.

My story is told in part on my blog. You may read the older posts. I also wrote a book on my story of survival, pain and healing.

I would like to hear from you if you too suffered as a result of gun violence. I am particularly interested in how you coped, how the healing process is coming along for you and if you are now doing anything that you may not have done if you had not been shot.

The purpose of doing this is to start a blog series with stories from survivors. The intention is to provide stories that imbue hope for others who may be struggling to cope with a desperate situation. Through reading about the overcoming of adversity by others, perhaps someone might be able to make a positive change in their life.

Initially I am focusing on gun violence but I am willing to interview victims of violence generally.

If you are willing to be interviewed so that your story can inspire someone else, please leave a message in the comments below or you may email me at caron_asgarali@yahoo.com

The stories will be published with or without real names depending on your choice. Primary  (actually injured) or secondary (affected but not shot) victims are welcomed.

In my third book, I wrote about the value of deflecting attention away from yourself to help others. It really does work to help you heal when you help someone else. I look forward to hearing from some of you, as we take this leap forward to help others.

Leave a comment in the space below to let me know your thoughts.

book launch, bounce back better, Health and lifestyle, inspirational, motivational, self help

Bounce Back Better

My third book is now available online. I have included a link below. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Bounce Back Better

Bounce Back Better

For those of you who are interested in self-publishing or independent publishing, look out for some posts soon.

Those who are looking for different ways to launch a new book, I will keep you updated.

Thank you for your support.

Let me know, in the comments below, what particular questions are troubling you about the publishing process or about a launch. That way I can tailor my post to your needs.

Leaving you with my special brand of sunshine for now.

bounce back better, inspirational, motivational, resilience, Uncategorized

The Leaning Tower of… You!

Here is another offering from my new book, sent for publishing and soon to be launched.

“…making incremental changes, particularly during times of trauma or crisis, may be easier to do than making radical changes. Additionally, a shift in behaviour could translate into significant emotional and intellectual alterations.

 

Consider the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The Tower now leans at an angle that has been adjusted over the years since its construction. The top of the Tower is about 4.5 metres displaced from the vertical. What this means is that there is a slight displacement at the base of the Tower that manifests into an amazing tourist attraction at the top and a phenomenon of physics. Regardless of the reasons behind the leaning of the Tower, the result is indisputable. A slight shift is sufficient to create a wonder!”

Have you ever noticed any significant change in your life resulting from a minor alteration in your belief, attitude or behaviour? Leave a comment below to let me know please.

bounce back better, inspirational, motivational, resilience, Uncategorized

Locked in defeat’s dentate grip?

dentate

A little bit of sharing today – a quote from my soon to be published book, “Bounce Back Better”.

One of the things I do when one of life’s troughs dips into my life is that I get extremely quiet. It helps me to calm my mind and emotions and to come to terms with what is happening.

Leave a comment below to share with us one little thing that you do to help you cope with big or small challenges.

bounce back better, grief, inspirational, motivational, resilience, stress, stress management

When you crash into a rock…

 

The storms of life may become so intense, so severe that the figurative electromagnetic glow from your big dream becomes difficult to see. Perhaps you have lost a loved one or had a bad medical diagnosis. Maybe you lost a job or are in danger of doing so. There may be trouble in a romantic relationship or a pending poor examination result. There is a wide range of turbulence in this short life.

What may seem minor to you could prove overwhelming to another. We all have different coping mechanisms. Some of us are more emotionally vulnerable than others. That is a biological fact. Some persons are sensitive enough to detect very slight emotional changes that others may not notice. These people often also experience more intense emotions. Such individuals are susceptible to more frequent, unpredictable, extreme and long-lasting emotional attacks.

This emotional response is compounded by another biological response: impulsivity. There are a lot of people who have great difficulty regulating their responses to a variety a stimuli. Their actions tend to get them into trouble. They act responsively, later realizing that they ought not to have reacted as they did, to the extent they did. These persons act out in ways that are determined by how they feel. This type of action gets in the way of being able to achieve set goals. For impulsive people keeping their emotions and actions compartmentalized is a real challenge and as such they are unable to achieve effectiveness in their daily lives.

The social environment strongly influences emotions and actions. A supportive environment promotes more effective coping mechanisms for an emotionally vulnerable, impulsive person. I will talk about this in a subsequent post. For now I want to focus on how anyone of us could cope during a stormy life episode.

In the last post, which you may read about here, I wrote about the importance of having a detailed, passion-filled dream. When your ship of life crashes into a rock and thrusts you into  great physical, emotional and mental trauma is it possible to hold on to that dream? I want to suggest that you should hold on to the dream but… temporarily defer acting on that dream until such time as you need to feel, grieve and come to acceptance.

Research in psychology has shown that there Is a higher level of functionality after a critical incidence by individuals who were able and willing to embrace their pain. The idea is that experiencing pain to its fullest is a great form of therapy. It brings you to the point of being able to move toward healing. If you have to then cry, reflect, feel the hurt and pain and anger. Go inwardly to your lowest depths and feel. The emphasis at this point is to feel not to act. Do not act in haste. It may be best to defer making difficult decisions at this time. You want to act later rather than sooner to avoid impulsivity.

Not being able to feel and to grieve for what has happened leaves you imprisoned by the bondage of a lack of forgiveness, thoughts of revenge and your eventual anchoring in the past. To move on from a difficult situation means leaving behind the source of your pain after feeling it, grieving the resultant loss and coming to acceptance of your new situation.

Your circumstances are different after any trial but thankfully different may be better. Your trials are transient. Your challenges will bring change and creativity. Seeing it through those difficult times in your life promises that you will be able to recalibrate and begin to bounce back better.

bounce back better, inspirational, motivational, resilience, stress management, Uncategorized

The Lighthouse

 

Picture this: You are stranded at sea in a boat with a small crew and it is a stormy night. The waves are crashing all around and the night is outstandingly dark. The boat bobs unsteadily along as water sprays and hits you with unbelievable force. Navigation becomes difficult, almost impossible. Then… a brilliant, steady and reassuring light, gradually growing brighter, appears in the distance.

The captain steers in the direction of that lifeline, that glow of safety and comfort. The boat draws closer and closer to the shore. There is a huge crashing wave which almost sweeps the boat under. Almost. The boat is temporarily thrown off course but the captain soon recalculates and gets the boat back on track, a little closer to his destination. This happens over and over until finally he is able to cast anchor. Thank goodness for that beacon guiding him towards the harbor.

Your life’s big dream or goal is like that beacon from the lighthouse. It should remain shining brightly in the distance guiding you closer to its final accomplishment. No matter what life throws your way, no matter what obstacles you have to overcome, you keep your focus on that goal.

Having your life goal clearly defined and written or drawn to concretize it, ensures that it saturates your thoughts. It then directly influences all your actions and decisions. It impacts on your education, your choice of spouse, your house, your children…

The best dreams are infused with passion based on your innate gifts, your talents, your skills, your knowledge and your preferences. My own dream has always been to be a philanthropist. I started taking action many years ago; I started in a small way, working on my own. As time progressed I worked with some enthusiastic persons in a group we formed just for that purpose.

When my life was thrown into turmoil and my circumstances changed, I had to take some time to re- calculate my personal GPS. Having done that, I have readjusted my sight on the guiding light of my dream and am still slowly taking steps to achieve that goal.

All of us need to have a clearly outlined, detailed life plan or big dream as I like to call it. That dream ought to be guided by our unique gifts.  Having such a dream written or drawn so that each day you can look at it, means that even in turbulent times, you will be able to recover and take positive action steps to bring you back onto the course of your dream.

Do you have a tangible life plan or big dream? Are you working toward it consciously or not?

grief, inspirational, Uncategorized

Ode to True Love

My grief and gratitude are best expressed in the following:

Tall, black and beautiful,

Hair resplendent in the sun

Piercing eyes, frisky gait,

I can’t believe that it is now too late.

Once a roaring lion,

Fighting to protect your dominion

Yet with a heart full of love and devotion

I am filled with deepest emotions.

Even in your darkest hours

Moving to ease my insignificant burdens.

Love so unconditional, so true

I wonder how many have had a love like you.

Good bye my dear and trusted friend

You have served and served so well.

As the pain and suffering are put to rest

I rank you among the best.

Love comes not only in human form

But more genuine love comes from a dog.

My four legged beauty, my Girlie oh

I bid you now the final adieu!

girlie