health care

Your Personal Life Gauge

My wife is diligent about expiration dates on food, medicine, etc. Me – not so much. I use the sniff test on food and I figure meds all have some extra time engineered in them.

But what about  personal expiration dates. We all have one but we just don’t know when it is coming due.

Think about this. What if we were also born with a built in Life Gauge that tells you how much time you have left?

It might look like a simple gas gauge with a needle that moves from full to empty. And, what if we could change the expiration date by “filling up our own tank?”

How might we do that? Well, we could do that by how well we live our lives.

Are we taking good care of our physical bodies. Are we living a good life? Are we do the right things for ourselves and others? Are we making the world around us a better place or are we taking from it and not replenishing it?

From a very early age the majority of human beings know the difference between right and wrong.

But, too many of us compromise the way we live at times during our lives. We make excuses for lying, cheating, or being a Fox commentator. “Everyone else does it.” Or, “What’s the use. I’m going to get mine now.” “If you’re not looking out for number one, you’re a sucker!”

Other people give up on themselves. They spend hours each day in front of the TV. Or, they are afraid. They stop living and wait for the tank to empty. They quit learning and loving.

Then there are the folks who almost always have a full tank. You can recognize them by how they walk across the street. It’s almost like there is a cape flowing from their shoulders because their heads are high and they are LIVING.

They are the people who stop to talk and give a few bucks to the homeless guy on the street. They are the woman who organizes an Internet Fund Drive to build water wells in some of the poorest places on the globe. They are the old man who volunteers at the food pantry, the pet shelter and the nursing home. They are kids who build lemonade stands to help sick children they’ll never meet.

They spend their extra time learning new skills to help themselves and others. Eating right and moving is important to them.

Doing the right thing is the most important thing to them.

And, so the needle on their life gauge stays near full.

Now here is the good news! We already have a built-in Life Gauge!

It is your heart! Listen to it and you’ll know if you’re running full of life, getting low, or running on empty. When we were kids we knew this to be true. That’s why it is easy to live such full lives as a kid. That’s why a kid will just blurt out “I love you!” to everyone.

But, over time some hearts harden and are more difficult to hear. It’s not always your fault this happens. People do senseless and sometimes terrible things to kids and to each other. And, that can have the affect of blocking us from what our heart is saying.

But you can get unblocked. It’s starts by looking in the mirror and smiling and telling yourself that you are worthy of love, that you are lovable and that you can love others. And, then you begin with one act of kindness. Make it random if you want. Volunteer at the soup kitchen. Ask the priest or minister of the church down the street if you can do anything to help them out. Call a pet shelter and ask them what kind of pet food you can donate and then go buy as many bags as you can afford and personally deliver them.

Sign-up for a class in something you’ve never tried. Buy a banjo and find a teacher. Tutor for free. Hold a child’s hand.

Stand up to the bullies in the world and not just the ones in the playground. There are plenty of adult bullies masquerading as teachers, politicians, bankers, lawyers, judges, and consultants. Don’t let them get away with making the world worse and sucking some of your life energy away.

Do the right thing!

And, little by little, your Life Gauge will send a stronger and stronger signal.

Eventually it will fall to empty but it won’t be because you haven’t lived. You will have lived a rich and full life. And, you will have left your world – our world – a better place for having been here.

Peace and love to all of you this season of joy and remembrance.

What If a Party Broke Out In Your Doctor’s Office?

I was sitting in my family doctor’s waiting room this morning when a crazy idea flashed into my brain. Now, you should know I was fasting for the previous 12 hours so perhaps my brain was a bit addled. But, here it is and you can be the judge.

Wouldn’t it be a lot of fun if doctor’s offices had patient appreciation days? Your average doctor’s waiting room is about as much fun as the local undertakers. Actually, my local mortician is a whole lot more entertaining than any physician I know. I especially like it when he removes his toupee or puts it on backwards.

Anyway, back to the doctor’s office. At least once a month, I think they need to have patient appreciation day complete with balloons, costumes, some music (other than the usual PBS stuff), refreshments (they can be of the healthy variety) and some good, old-fashioned hugs handed out by the staff and physicians.

I know you’re thinking this is a dumb idea. I bet you’re worried about catching something from one of the other patients. Listen, as far as I’m concerned, I believe that if you’re sick with something potentially contagious what the hell are you doing mingling with people that are just trying to get their birth control or anxiety drugs?

Which leads me to my other idea for doctor’s waiting rooms – two rooms – one for sick people and one for well. I bet it would cut down immensely on colds, flu and dirty looks being spread around. And, we’ll make sure the sick people get refreshments too. And, yeah, a couple of the balloons. Sorry – no hugs.

Health care is one of the most expensive things we pay for in this country. Doesn’t it make good customer service sense to say thank you to the people footing the bill? And, if you think you’re not footing the bill because insurance is paying for it then you need to make sure you always go into the sick person waiting room.

So, what do you think? How are you going to feel if the next time you visit your doctor a party breaks out to thank you for being a patient?

Trust me, you’ll thank me.

And, while you’re thinking about it, how can you show your customers, clients, or patients that you appreciate them? When is the last time you said thank you? When is the last time you had balloons for them.

When is the last time you gave them a hug?

Image compliments of deltaMike

How To Stop From Getting Screwed In Your Small Business

A couple of days ago I wrote a post entitled – Insurance Companies Tell Small Business "You're Too Old and Expensive."

This is really serious and it is happening right now. After reading my post, one of my clients called to tell me his insurance company wants to raise his rates 34%. He is outraged and he should be. Of course, he is looking for a solution that isn't going to suck the profit from his small business so he can pay the insurance companies who are adding on rates like a loan shark charges interest. In fact, the comparison between our venerable banks, insurance companies and loan sharking is becoming more accurate every day.

At least the loan shark tells you he's going to screw you. The immoral and unethical managers who lead our financial services companies just raise your health care and interest rates and say take it or leave it – knowing that too often you have no other choice.

Well, there is another choice but that would require our elected representatives from the Oval Office on down to state and local government to grow some balls and do what they say they were going to do when they got elected and that's represent "we the people." Sadly most of them are so tied to the billions of dollars they receive from banking, insurance, legal, health care and pharmaceutical lobbyists that "we the people" don't stand a chance. 

But, there is one thing we can do. Besides increasing their personal wealth and power there is one other thing that politicians need and want even more. They want to be re-elected. One term is never enough. And, two terms is like being on crack to a bureaucrat. They've got to have more and more!

So here's the only chance you have. Small business makes up over 50% of the Gross Domestic Product. Over 70% of all the businesses in the US are classified as small business. Organized you have an opportunity to say enough is enough to your elected representatives. Organized you represent enough votes to keep them out of office.

There are over 25 Million small businesses in the country. And yet, an organization that calls itself the oldest small business advocacy association only has 150K members. That's not even one percent of the potential. What if an organization formed that really represented small business and was able to get 5% of the potential small businesses to join? That would be 1,250,000. And, what if the members paid $25 a month in dues? You'd have $375,000,000 to run what should be a small organization and to make your views known to the politicians.

You can do the math and see what would happen with modest growth of this organization. And, these 25 Million small businesses represent approximately 60 Million potential votes. In 2008, approximately 122 Million people voted.

That means that small business represents a potential of almost half the voters who voted in one of the most turned-out elections in our history. Do you think that might get someone's attention who wants to get elected and re-elected?

Are you an entrepreneur that knows something about non-profit organizations? Here's an opportunity to lead one of the greatest groups of people in the country. We're ready for someone to lead us. Are you the one?

Cool or Leadership

So, I'm sitting on the couch early this morning and catching up on Sunday's New York Times. I finished up a story by Simon Akam entitled "New York Cheer For a Friend In Harm's Way" and I found myself saying, "Cool!" Actually, I said it out loud even though I was the only human home. But, my two dogs were sitting next to me and they like it when I share my opinions of stories in the Times. Lord knows they have heard a few four letter words other than cool in reaction to some of them.

After I said it I started having some soul searching type of thoughts. "Is it cool," I wondered, "for a 60-year-old-man to be saying cool?" The truth is that it isn't a term I have used much in my lifetime. But, I find myself using it more and more in the past couple of years. Maybe it is because I'm now part of a tribe of younger people who use it quite frequently. Or, maybe the title of this blog which has cool in its name leads me to use it more.

We even have a President who uses it.

Then I wondered what other kinds of habits or words are rubbing off on me by associating with my younger friends. Awesome is one of their favorite words. I try not to use awesome despite seeing or hearing it many times a day. I'm saving it for a very special occasion.

I'm saving it for the day the politicians in this country make it illegal for lobbyists to spend any money on them. Now that would be more than awesome. I'd definitely call that a extraordinary awesome day. I might even call it a Fucking Extraordinary Awesome Day!

I don't expect I'll get to use that one soon.

But, back to cool. Is our president still cool? Or, is the lack of progress on all the ideas that made him very cool to so many of us now beginning to leave us cold. He talked a lot about not allowing special interests (lobbyists) to influence his administration. And, yet, that is exactly what has happened in the areas of financial market reform and health care. These are two areas that the majority of Americans want to see changed and yet nothing cool or awesome has happened.

Maybe he's trying to hard to be cool instead of being a leader. Personally, if I had a choice of being thought of as being cool or a leader – I'd chose leadership. I hope our president makes that choice and very quickly.

And, that would be both awesome and very cool.

Paging Doctor Empathy

I met my primary care physician for the first time about 13 years ago. She was a newly minted family practice doctor and I was newly moved to where I now live. I don't remember why I went to see her but I liked her and she's been my doctor ever since.

Last week I saw her again for a checkup. Things have changed over the years in how she practices. The practice is very large, she's now one of the senior partners and the insurance industry has changed how she sees patients. I used to feel like she had all the time in the world to talk to me. I never felt rushed. And, the truth is she still does a really great job of making you feel that way. But, I remember how it was 12 years ago and now she has to move much more quickly through her patient care load.

However, her care is apparently perceived as better than any other family practice in the area. I learned that she is the most requested physician in family practice in the area. She is so busy she can't take new patients. And, if you mention her name to people who she has treated they will unanimously say something like, "I love her!" or "She is the best." Or, "I've sent all my family and friends to her."

And, there lies a lesson for all marketers. You don't have to be the best in the world at what you deliver. You only have to be the best within your own market. Because it is within your market where your services and products will be judged. 

One way to accomplish that is to use the powerful technique my doctor uses – Empathy.

When she is with you in the exam room she is there 100%. And, she makes you feel like she is seeing and feeling everything you tell her from your perspective – not hers. She does that by actively listening and attuning to what your are experiencing. She looks into your face and eyes and listens with her heart.

You can do the same thing for your customers and clients. Empathy is free. It only has a cost when you don't use it.

Learn How to Recognize and Sell to the Four Personality Types

People do business with people that they know, like, and trust. Since we can’t pick or choose the “type” of person we are most likely to trust and like right away, we need to learn how to effectively with everyone’s personality style.” Learn how in this report and start increasing your sales right away!

Selling To The Four Personality Types