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Time

by Adam Zack — May 25, 2022

“Days are limited, you don’t get do-overs…”

I know I’m not the only one who has a major problem with the passage of time. I just looked at the calendar and realized that we are already FIVE months into 2022. That’s right. Summer’s nearly here, fall’s around the corner, football season is just a couple months away, Holy guacamole! Former L.A. Times columnist Chris Erskine put the value of time in a unique perspective. He likened his life to how many summers he has left. The best time of the year (unless you live in Palm Springs. Or Phoenix) goes by so fast. BBQs, beach, no school, cold beers on warm days. Summer is just the best. And how many do you actually get? Maybe 80 or 90 total in your life. Only about 40 or 50 that you really can savor and enjoy. I figure I have maybe 15 – 20 great summers left. When I think of it that way it’s humbling and scary. Don’t have wasted days that you can never get back because of feuds or grudges. Make the most of all you have left, because before you know it the kids are off to college and summers spent together turn into a few days each summer together. Knees start to wear out, hips get broken and then boom, no more summers for you. Summers become memories of “the good old ...
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Freshman in Life

by Adam Zack — May 18, 2022

Every career change, no matter when it is in life, is like being a freshman again.

Graduation time is here. I remember just before my freshman year in high school my friend, who was a year older and going to be a sophomore, told me harrowing stories of how freshmen were despised, ridiculed and stood somewhere between dog crap and an ant’s ass on the high school pecking order. I was warned not to ever sit in “Senior Square”, look an upperclassman in the eye or draw attention to myself in any way. All the girls were out of my league (definitely true) and the guys who had facial hair loved to beat up freshmen. Well it didn’t exactly turn out like that, although it was a little intimidating and more than a little scary. Whenever I went from one school to another or one school level to another there was some fear of the unknown. I think we tend to think about our graduating seniors – especially college – as having made the major accomplishment with the expectation that they are done and ready. In reality, graduating college (and high school for those who choose not to attend college) students are really freshmen in life. New jobs and the start of careers are scary endeavors that are not always put in perspective, especially by parents who have paid f...
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No One Is Coming

by Adam Zack — May 11, 2022

We are each responsible for ourselves.

In the movie Castaway Tom Hanks is stranded on a very remote, deserted island all alone. He figures that since his plane crashed, searchers would be looking for him and eventually he’d be rescued. Weeks go by, and he comes to the realization that no one is coming. His survival and any chance of escaping the island is totally up to him. It’s like that for our personal paths to success and happiness. Prince (or Princess) Charming isn’t coming to sweep you off your feet and whisk you off in a Rolls Royce to live in the castle. No one is coming to motivate you to work harder so you get that promotion you want. No one is coming to make you a better money manager to pay off your bills. No one is coming to tell you to eat better and exercise so you can lose weight. No one is coming to clean your house and cook your dinner. (Unless you have a housekeeper and a personal chef!). My wife, who gets many of her life hacks off Tik-Tok and saw the no one is coming video, reminded me that we are each responsible for ourselves. In this era where blame and finger pointing are the norm, it’s time to control our own destiny and make it happen, because no one is coming.

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Above Average

by Adam Zack — May 4, 2022

Adam Zack

“It takes so little effort to be above average.”

My mom was in town visiting last night and we were all sitting at the dinner table eating and we got to talking about employees, and just how hard it has been lately to really find good help. She said something very insightful. “It takes so little effort to be above average.” Wow, that really made a lot of sense. I got thinking that “average” is smack dab in the middle. Not horrible, not exceptional, just middle of the road, solid C material. So often we think about wanting to be great, and to develop greatness that we lose track that even a small step toward bettering ourselves, or bettering our employees elevates us to being above average. It is easily achievable and when just a small effort is made by management to improve the entire staff of average employees to being above average, you are now better than your competitors. The idea can even be applied to below average AND above average people improving a level. It’s not hard, and it’s not a major undertaking. Think of one thing you can do, and do it. Turns out that there is a book by Florence Littauer written nearly 40 years ago called “It Takes So Little to be Above Average.” Sounds like a quick read. I ordered it just...
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Pure Joy

by Adam Zack — April 27, 2022

“These employees are really having a good time.”

As a parent one of the greatest, purest joys of parenthood is the sound of your kids having so much fun as they play that the sounds that they emit are uncontrollable laughter. Their smiles are ear to ear and contagious, and the innocence of their fun makes you want to be a kid again. It’s tremendously satisfying to observe kids of all ages be blissfully happy. Then we grow up and there’s this thing called work that happens and the belly laughs and unabashed joy seem most of the time like distant memories. Bosses get serious and production is much more important than having fun. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of being the boss that shushes employees that appear to be goofing around or being a little bit too boisterous, think back on the joy you felt when your kids were so happy they’d pee their pants rather than come in and miss out on the fun. Creating a culture at the workplace where everything, all the time, is not hush hush, strictly professional, don’t disturb the customers is a great feat. Instead of focusing on keeping it all buttoned down, think how your customers must feel shopping in a store where the employees can joke and laugh and actually seem to enjoy their job. They...
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Listening Backslider

by Adam Zack — April 20, 2022

Adam

You make that effort, see results, and then gradually (or sometimes suddenly) slip back into old habits.

PONDER: to think or consider especially quietly, soberly, and deeplyI’m thinking about how hard it is to be a good listener. I think about it every day. I can kind of relate it to the person who wants to eat healthier. You do it for a while, focus and start to see results. Conversations are clearer and more meaningful. Interaction is mutually satisfying. The weight of having to speak and anticipate what your answer should be starts to drop off. You’re feeling good about yourself and those you interact with daily. You’re getting to be a good listener. That wasn’t so hard, right? Then when you’re getting comfortable, the unexpected double cheeseburger is before you. Just one, right? You listen to the guy explain what’s in the smoothie for breakfast, then you add ice cream (because it’s so delicious). A bag of chips here, Fettuccine Alfredo instead of grilled chicken and salad. Two cookies and a Bailey’s instead of no dessert. Your good intentions, initial success and great feelings are back the way they were not long ago. It’s the same with listening. You make that effort, see results, and then gradually (or sometimes sudd...
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Over Promise and Under Deliver

by Adam Zack — April 13, 2022

Adam

Promise fair prices and a convenient way to keep our customers’ families fed and healthy.

Remember two years ago when the president promised that the Covid pandemic would be over by Easter? It was something that everyone wanted to hear and believe, but as you know it just wasn’t true. More than any other holiday, Easter is based on belief and faith. Belief in resurrection and afterlife. Belief in forgiveness and redemption. Belief that hollow chocolate bunnies and dyed eggs are delicious and fun. OK, that last one is more provable than any of the other beliefs surrounding Easter. Like that promise two years ago, as retailers we have to promise to deliver what we can actually do. We promise clean stores and friendly service. We promise freshness and selection. We promise fair prices and a convenient way to keep our customers’ families fed and healthy. Unlike promises that can only be verified after death or science, our promises are easily fulfilled. And when we fail to live up to them, our customers start looking for another store that will. Or another president.

Read More – Accurate Self Assessment

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Appreciation

by Adam Zack — April 6, 2022

Adam

The people we see most often are the ones we most take for granted.

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”
  – Eckhart Tolle
The people we see most often are the ones we most take for granted. The little things that happen every day – from that customer who buys a coffee and a muffin every single morning to your spouse who makes sure your work shirts are clean and looks you over to make sure you have no boogers showing before you head to the store. Proximity and familiarity are the easiest thing to take for granted because they’re, well, they’re just there, everyday. Routine becomes part of the landscape and you don’t miss that routine until it’s not there anymore. Just like real listening takes effort and thought, your appreciation level needs a kick in the ass every now and then too. It’s the spouse who one day thinks “I’ve been making his coffee every single day for 20 years and he hasn’t even said thanks for at least five. In fact, when’s the last time he even made me a cup of tea?” And the next thing you know the routine is interrupted because the need for ap...
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Mentor

by Adam Zack — March 30, 2022

Adam

The chance to deeply, permanently impact someone’s life is the rare reward that only happens occasionally.

“A good mentor hopes you will move on. A great mentor knows you will.”   – Leslie Higgins “Ted Lasso”A lot of people, in fact most, love that show Ted Lasso. Being of limited patience and deeply rooted in “Oh, come on, be serious, that’d never happen” vision, I am not one of them. I only gave it a one episode audition, so I’m clearly not a good judge. I do get regular updates from my wife on how sweet the show is, how optimistic it is, and how it really inspires with its combination of innocence, hope and perseverance. Mentoring is a privilege and an extraordinary responsibility. The chance to deeply, permanently impact someone’s life is the rare reward that only happens occasionally. Some people never get the opportunity to mentor anyone. Many people never get mentored. It’s an extremely unselfish undertaking that requires an abundance of time and patience. More than that, it takes a deep, authentic sense of caring about the success and g...
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Authentic

by Adam Zack — March 23, 2022

Adam

Authentic speaks of honesty, reliability, transparency and trustworthiness.

I’ve been thinking a lot about authenticity lately. I don’t know why, but in personal encounters I find myself thinking about not only my authenticity, but more closely about the person I am conversing with. Am I getting the truth about who this person really is and what their values are, or am I getting some kind of glossed over People magazine version of them telling me what they think I want to hear. Authentic speaks of honesty, reliability, transparency and trustworthiness. Authentic people display their true values in their actions and words. It’s the real thing and is verified by what we do everyday. But there are some people that are authentic a-holes. Their true character is one of deceit, selfishness and dishonesty. Keeping authenticity at the top of your mind will automatically direct you to relationships that share your values. Our relationships with the businesses we deal with share a similar authentic relationship. Once a store promises to deliver something you want, then fails repeatedly to deliver, you start to see that their authenticity is not what was initially represented. It’s like People Magazine or Instagram and ...
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