What would you do if you graduated debt free?
“Take greater risks!”
“I was born in Pakistan and since then have lived in Canada, New Jersey, and now Cincinnati, Ohio. My family currently lives in Dubai! I plan on visiting this summer!”
We live in a time and place of material things. When does the new iPhone come out? What can I buy with my birthday money? At what point did it become so important to have useless, nonessential stuff? How can we revert back to more thankful and grateful individuals? Brother David Stiendl-Rast is somewhat of an expert on the art of grateful living. He says that, “Ninety-nine percent of the time we have an opportunity to be grateful for something. We just don’t notice it. We go through our days in a daze”.
What are some ways that you can begin to live every moment gratefully?
If you never do anything to understand how others live, you may just go through life unaware. So one must inform themselves if they are to live gratefully. There are a couple of great ways to do so. Those things are to: travel, research and compare.
When you travel, go to a third world country, do a service project or something fulfilling so as to get the most out of it. When you venture to a third world country and see how the people there value things differently, it will give you a greater appreciation of what you have.
*(For affordable service-learning experiences visit: www.n2nvision.com. N2N Vision Inc. offers service trips to various locations throughout Central America and one service trip to Eastern KY).*
Traveling is expensive. If you’re not able to do it, you could always research how the other side lives, and learn that way. There are plenty of resources out there like blogs, YouTube videos, etc. that offer great information on such things. Literally go to GOOGLE and type in: “third world living” and prepare to be amazed by what you see.
Once you’ve traveled and/or researched, you need to compare how those people live to yourself. What is it about their life that makes them so much happier? In traveling to Guatemala twice, I found myself coming home both times with the realization that material things just do not matter down there, rather they cherish just the opportunity to be alive. Once you’ve seen the world through an orphan who has no earthly possessions but a few pairs of clothes, you realize that the real treasures in life are your family, your friends, and the fact that you are blessed to have meals daily.
Think back to a time of personal struggle
Has there ever been a time where you felt like you were at rock bottom? Maybe there was a death in your family. Maybe you lost your job and had no idea where your next paycheck would come from. Think back to times like this, and that will help you realize how much better life gets once you get past the tough times.
Leave Signs for Yourself
Some people need constant reminders in their life to remind them how blessed and fortunate they are. Leave signs in your life to give yourself that boost of positive energy you may need. Elaborate? SURE! Take a sticky note and leave a smiley face on your computer screen, car steering wheel, or closet where your clothes are, that way every time you get to your computer, hop in your car, or pick out a new outfit for the day, you’re reminded how fortunate you are to even be able to use a computer, drive or wear a new pair of clothes each day. Just stopping and reflecting on your gratitude will help reinforce the lifestyle of living gratefully. Set an alarm on your phone every 2-4 hours throughout the day, and take 10 minutes to write down everything positive that happened within those 2-4 hours. You’ll be surprised at how much your own positive vibes will begin to take over your attitudes.
Another great way to come to gratitude is to give back to the community. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, hospital or an impoverished area in your community. Along with the first point, once you see how much people who “have less” value the few things that they do have, your eyes will be opened to an appreciation that you’ve never felt before. Seeing people that are struggling just to survive still be happy, content and loving – it’s life-changing.
Live out these four steps and you will begin to come to a greater self-actualization than you’ve ever had in your entire life. People will enjoy being around you more, and you will also be happier with yourself.
This blog was inspired by the TED TALK, Want to be Happy? Be Grateful by Brother David Steindl-Rast:
Post by Kyle Craven – Follow him on Twitter! @
The perfect formula to create a contact center culture lies within leaders’ ability to listen to agents’ needs and balance it with the needs of the business. Although both needs may not always be aligned, the duty to create a positive experience for agents inadvertently produces awesome customer experiences.
In 2012, we started the Education at Work journey to bring together two different worlds: a contact center created on the basis of a non-profit. As our company grew, we identified ways that we could to fine-tune our culture to represent the energetic, tech-savvy, and ambitious agents who brings purpose to our mission to reduce student debt.
Wondering how you can change the atmosphere at your contact center? Here are four thoughts that you can put into motion:
Each morning shift, our agents are greeted with 90s throwback music (compliments of Pandora!) and high-fives from our senior leadership team. The expression of appreciation helps agents know that their work is valued and creates an opportunity for our contact center leaders and agents on the front lines to connect and build rapport with one another.
Bottom Line: Positivity is contagious. Spread energy and appreciation to help boost morale and build relationships.
At the beginning of 2015, we set out to build community and competition among agents and supervisors in our largest retail program. Each supervisor created and decorated their own space on the floor to encourage agents to sit with their team members and be positioned for open communication and updates from their supervisors. Supervisors promoted team-specific incentives to create healthy competition among each team based on customer satisfaction scores. The outcome helped agents reconnect or network with other agents in their cohort and create access to their supervisor while creating an atmosphere of good ole’ fun.
Bottom Line: Structure does not have to equal being strict. The concept of gamification and incentives help push past resistance to change and gives agents a sense of competition that helps them improve their performance.
Our mission and purpose to exist as a contact center is centralized around our workforce, which is comprised of college students. Instead of bogging agents down with traditional lingo, we incorporate elements of a college campus that remind them of their purpose of being at Education at Work: to gain transferable skills in customer service and reduce student debt through school and work performance. Supervisors are advisors, the break room is a student union, the recruitment office is Educational Outreach and our facility is not just a place of work – it is a campus.
Bottom Line: The power of language creates a difference in a contact center. Design language that reflects the culture, motivation, and goals of your agents.
Burnout is real. Although most of our agents work within our part-time student model with an average of four hour shifts, taking high call volumes can leave agents desiring something more than their contact center duties. We offer students alternative ways to become involved with our company through our campus ambassador program, event planning and student-run Twitter account and blog. Our contact center is based on a social responsibility of helping reduce student loan debt, and we promote opportunities for teams to get involved in community projects like the Special Olympics auction and walks for the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society. These opportunities allow agents to give back to their community and add additional skills to their resumes.
Bottom Line: Engagement is everything. When agents are provided opportunities to become involved outside of their traditional role, it can help change their attitude about work and add value to their experience.
Creating a culture in a contact center (especially a start-up) requires the willingness to accept trial and error. It can take months or years to perfect; however, the goal should always be to progress towards an environment that promotes the empowerment of your workforce. We’ve experienced bumps in the road; but, we’ve gained success in our efforts to create a fun, friendly, and engaging atmosphere to work. Despite the hustle and bustle of a contact center, it’s important to ask questions, listen closely, and observe your environment. After all, a contact center culture in progress is a culture moving forward.
By: Whitney Barkley, from ICMI
For original post, see: http://www.icmi.com/Resources/Culture-and-Morale/2015/02/4-Fresh-Thoughts-to-Reimagine-Contact-Center-Culture
“I really want to start my own magazine someday. I want to gear it towards African American women in their early 20s!”
“That’s awesome! What inspired you to write?”
“I read ‘Jason and Kyra’ and ‘Played’ by Dana Davidson. Those books really inspired me to be an author one day.”
“I want my series to be the Naruto of story lines. Typically, the bad guys are all the same. Break out of prison, rob the same banks… I want them to fight for a purpose in life.”
So, why electronic media?
“The goal is to work for Tina Fey… she’s basically my mom; she’s so funny and inspires me.”
When you were little, what did you always want to be when you grow up?
“Well, for the longest time I’ve wanted to be one of the guys from Sports Center. But I love Legos. I used to sketch designs of Legos and try to build them when I was a kid.”
You’re a senior at Mount St. Joseph University?
How have you paid for school throughout your years at MSJ?
“Well, every single year my dad and I paid out of pocket for my school. However, my dad has a heart condition… he’s had surgery twice. I think the tuition assistance will help so that he won’t have to work and worry as much.”
So, you’re in social work?
“Yeah, I’m in the macro field – which is planning and fundraising.”
Why planning and fundraising?
“I like to communicate with people, but you have to be able to take the stress off when you get home. For instance, I volunteered at a day camp before and got too attached to the kids – I could never be a camp counselor. My heart is too big.”