© 1996 by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Maida Rogerson, Martin Rutte, Tim Clauss
From the Introduction
Mother Theresa Story
From Chapter 1 - Love At Work
Whatever you need
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
"The only real
way to differentiate yourself from the competition
is through service."
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 ThanksgivingThanksgiving in a new country, a new city and with new friends. This was importantso 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
"Therefore do not
be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious
for itself. Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for
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!