Martin Rutte - spirituality in the workplace

Martin Rutte


    Excerpts from Chicken Soup for the Soul At Work

    1996 by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Maida Rogerson, Martin Rutte, Tim Clauss

    From the Introduction

    Mother Theresa Story

    A successful businessman traveled to India to spend a month working in one of Mother Teresa's shelters. He longed to meet the tiny nun, but Mother Teresa was traveling, and it wasn't until the day before his departure that he received an audience. When he was finally in her presence, much to his surprise, he burst into tears. All the times when he'd been self-centered, busy or focused on his own gain flashed before his eyes, and he felt an enormous sadness that he had missed so many opportunities in his life to give of himself and his resources. Without a word, Mother Teresa walked over to where he was seated, put her hands on his shoulders and looked deeply into his eyes. "Don't you know," she said, "that God knows you are doing the best that you can."


    From Chapter 1 - Love At Work

    “Whatever you need”
    by Martin Rutte

    I was working as a consultant in a beer company, helping the president and senior vice-presidents formulate and implement their new strategic vision. It was an enormous challenge.

    At the same time, my mother was in the final stages of cancer.

    I worked during the day and drove 40 miles home to be with her every night. It was tiring and stressful, but it was what I wanted to do. My commitment was to continue to do excellent consulting during the day, even though my evenings were very hard. I didn't want to bother the president with my situation, yet I felt someone at the company needed to know what was going on. So I told the vice-president of Human Resources, asking him not to share the information with anyone.

    A few days later, the president called me into his office. I figured he wanted to talk to me about one of the many issues we were working on. When I entered, he asked me to sit down. He faced me from across his desk, looked me in the eye and said "I hear your mother is very ill."

    I was totally caught by surprise and burst into tears. He just looked at me, let my crying subside and then gently said a sentence I will never forget: "Whatever you need."

    That was it. His understanding and his willingness to both let me be in my pain and to offer me everything were qualities of compassion that I carry with me to this day.


    From Chapter 4 - Service Setting New Standards

    “The Massage Is the Message”
    by Maida Rogerson

    "The only real way to differentiate yourself from the competition is through service."
    Jonathan Tisch

    I like to cook. I especially like to cook when there is nothing at stake: no guests to entertain, no relatives coming to dinner. Then I throw a little of this and a little of that into a pot, and if it doesn't turn out, it's just Pepto Bismol for two and a couple of poached eggs on toast.

    But this was Thanksgiving—Thanksgiving in a new country, a new city and with new friends. This was important—so important that I had even prepared much of the dinner ahead of time. By Thanksgiving day I was feeling a little smug. Pies were made, the turkey stuffed sweet potatoes casseroled, and the house in that once a year state of cleanliness. Then in the early afternoon, I received a call reminding me that two of my guests were vegetarian. I'm sure they could have survived on the vegetables and salads I had prepared, but I was feeling so ahead of the game that I decided that while my turkey was roasting, I'd make a quick trip to Alfalfa's, one of our local vegetarian markets, to pick up a vegetarian entree.

    We live in the country. On a busy day, a car goes by our house once every hour, so I was ill-prepared for the number of people in town who also had last-minute shopping to do. Traffic was snarled and drivers snarling. I was starting to run late, and I hadn't even been able to get into the store's parking lot! But the minute I did, everything changed.

    The manager of the store was in the lot, directing traffic and showing people where there were empty spaces. I parked and rushed into the store. Inside, store personnel were everywhere, handing out tidbits of food, offering suggestions, and helping people find what they were looking for. I quickly got what I needed; but even though all the cash registers were open, the lines were very long. I could feel my teeth clench at the thought of my guests arriving to a burnt turkey and no hostess.

    The gentleman in front of me was also experiencing some panic, or so I thought, because an attractive woman was massaging his neck and shoulders. "What a lucky guy," I thought. Just then, the woman turned and said, "Would you like a neck and shoulder massage while you're waiting in line?" Would I! As she worked on me and I began to breathe again, I thought, "Isn't this great? An enterprising massage therapist plying her trade where she is most needed." When she finished, I asked her how much I owed her. "No, no," she said, "the massages are courtesy of the store."

    Now I ask you, was that inspired service or what? The rest of the day was a piece of cake, or pumpkin pie if you will. And the dinner, on a scale of 1 to 10? About a 14.


    From Chapter 9 - Lessons & Insights

    by Tim Clauss

    "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for the day."
    Matthew 6:34

    As a college freshman at Valparaiso University, facing all the uncertainties of future academic and work life, I had the opportunity to meet with the president emeritus and chancellor. Audiences were rare. Sitting among a small group of nervous peers, we anxiously awaited the arrival of a man revered throughout the school, let alone the country and abroad, for his excellence in achievement and esteemed wisdom.

    Dr. O. P. Kretzman arrived in a wheelchair, aging, with failing sight. You could have heard a pin drop. All too soon, the attention turned to us as he asked for questions from the group. Silence. I knew inside what an opportunity this was, so despite my fear, I got up the courage to break the ice and ask my question.

    "What advice would you give new freshman as we face all the choices and uncertainties ahead of us?" His reply was simple and strong, "Take one bite out of the apple at a time." No more, no less. A perfect stressbuster for the moment and for all the moments of my life to come. Now that I've been in the working world for 20 years, I've added a few more stressbusters to maintain a healthy life. Help yourself!

    1. Change your priorities
    2. Take stretch breaks
    3. Step back and observe
    4. Review your purpose
    5. Get a massage
    6. Leave five minutes earlier
    7. See a comedy
    8. Let go and let God!
    9. Use affirmations
    10. Organize your space
    11. Share your feelings
    12. Smell some flowers
    13. Ask for acknowledgement
    14. Listen to your intuition
    15. Help someone else
    16. Rub your feet and hands
    17. Visualize positive outcomes
    18. Take care of your health
    19. Don't judge; bless
    20. Work in the garden
    21. Create a budget
    22. Be empathetic, not overly sensitive
    23. Be still and meditate
    24. Use time-saving technology
    25. Carpool and enjoy the ride
    26. Set aside time for planning
    27. Count your blessings
    28. Don't forget, write it down
    29. Simplify, simplify, simplify
    30. Talk it out with coworkers
    31. Eliminate destructive self-talk
    32. Schedule play time
    33. Change your environment
    34. Go with your natural rhythms
    35. Find an easy place to give your gifts
    36. Fully express yourself
    37. View problems as opportunities
    38. Let go of "what ifs"
    39. Be clear what's expected of you
    40. Ask the experts
    41. Do your best and then stop
    42. Trust Divine timing and order
    43. Develop patience
    44. Breathe deeply
    45. Take a walk
    46. Complete things
    47. Take a nap
    48. Sing a tune
    49. Take a warm bath
    50. Talk out your worries
    51. Delegate
    52. Talk with your mom or dad
    53. Say no at times
    54. Shift deadlines
    55. Follow your passion
    56. Tell a joke
    57. Play out your fears
    58. Drink lots of good water
    59. Create a support system
    60. Divide up big projects
    61. Seek advice
    62. Be gentle with yourself
    63. Don't enable others
    1. Pray for openings
    2. Tell the truth
    3. Get more restful sleep
    4. Forgive and move on
    5. Prepare food ahead
    6. Fix it or get a new one
    7. Be prepared to wait
    8. Don't always be right
    9. Focus on the moment
    10. Take a lunch break
    11. Read a book
    12. Shift your attitude
    13. Laugh each day
    14. Develop self-esteem
    15. Take vitamin supplements
    16. Stop the “I should"
    17. Avoid excess
    18. Plan a special outing
    19. See through illusions
    20. Relax your muscles
    21. Slow down and notice
    22. Nurture good friends
    23. Be in nature
    24. Listen to music
    25. Limit caffeine and sugar
    26. Go on a fast or cleanse
    27. Be spontaneous
    28. Love your partner
    29. Get some fresh air
    30. Be pampered
    31. Volunteer
    32. Join help networks
    33. Maintain good posture
    34. Respect your limits
    35. Exercise routinely
    36. Go dancing
    37. Sigh occasionally
    38. Do yoga
    39. Have a good cry
    40. Make time for hobbies
    41. Limit work time
    42. Compromise/cooperate
    43. Don't procrastinate
    44. Unplug your phone/TV
    45. Relax your standards
    46. Journal your thoughts
    47. Take a vacation
    48. Organize your desk
    49. Develop flexibility
    50. Allow for imperfections
    51. Don't overschedule
    52. Expose your secrets
    53. Build a strong body
    54. Nurture your faith
    55. Open a savings account
    56. Take in the sun
    57. Love and be loved
    58. Get the facts
    59. Work as a team
    60. Smile—open your heart
    61. Validate yourself
    62. Daydream
    63. Know God loves you!

    To submit a story for an upcoming book in the Chicken Soup series, please click here.