Service. Recognition. Personalization. Dedication.

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In the past month, I decided to take on a part time job at a Juice Bar in the city. A great opportunity to get out from behind a desk, with the hopes to make a difference in the day of a customer who entered this small establishment. I have found, way too often, that the level of customer service has declined, and there is the ongoing question “How do we fix this?”

Learning a new skill, task, and the quantity of what you put into a juice and what is the filler is a bit daunting. My pride and my ego came into this job with the attitude of I CAN DO THIS, but when put on the spot, I felt as if I had no idea on what I was doing, and this was somewhat correct. I could have failed completely and walked out, but I had a great mentor, and she took the time with me to get me where I needed to be. It wasn’t a sink or swim type of situation, it was a guided learning path and this is what is missing these days.

Great service comes from individuals who have a passion to want to serve and also nurtured by a seasoned coach to get them from Point A to Point B. If you dedicate the time and energy to train someone new, you will reap the benefits of the time invested into them. Recognition is key too. Let them know how they are doing, be upfront and honest, and set an example on how you want them to be like. If you are not being genuine, service oriented, attentive, then how you can expect your new recruits to do the same.

Of course we have all of the different Generations that can come into this. You can put somewhat of a stereotype into this, but at the end of the day we are all human. We all have the ability to connect with each other, and service is all about the connection. How do we interact with each other? Do we decide to make eye contact, smile, listen? It all comes down to a decision, and that is in the mindset of the individual. How do you nurture that person to enhance their ability to provide that service? Recognition. Try it – see what happens.

So how do we fix this? Listen to your team, what is it they need, what can you do as a Leader to help them reach their goals. Also at the same time, lead them into greatness. Show them, teach them, educate service with the small things you do. Personalize the experience, and they hopefully will do the same.

What I enjoyed the most about my part time job at the Juice Bar is the ability to connect and personalize the interaction. Not being afraid to speak up, get to know them in a 30 second window and bring their item to them with the straw, or fork, or whatever it might be. Knowing that they could choose anywhere else to go, and hopefully I have helped to create a loyal customer to the Juice Bar with the decision that I made to make it special and unique.

Get back to the basics; make someone feel special, and go with the flow. It’s that simple – but are you ready?

The Checklist

In a few months I will be 33. I will continue to be employed. I will be living on my own helping to pay the mortgage of a really nice landlord. I will be happy. I will be successful. I will be who I am. I will not be pretending to be who I am not, and spending time with those who may drag me down. I will be more confident, more outspoken when needed, and more responsible. I will be the best that I can be leading up to 33, and even better when I get to this stated age.

So where does this all come from? Leaving the life at sea brings many challenges and awareness. From the life of everything being available and basically handed to you, to a life of making an extra effort to make things happen, it all comes down to the attitude and determination that you have. So what is this checklist all about? It seems to be what I need to look at when getting into a situation, going somewhere, or lately pretty much anything at all. When I was younger, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be let’s say for this debate, single at 32. Not engaged and no where close to that, not married, no kids, no house, but I do have a beautiful car, a great job, and an amazing family that I am now here to see more of.

I have been out there meeting people along the way, and prior to being back on land, I didn’t really date in the “Canadian pool” of guys. I was more of an “International” dater, as the people I met where from around the world on the ship. The only thing that I knew for sure was that they had a job, had passed the requirements to be onboard and that was pretty much it. Here on land, you just never know what you might run into. I feel like I am in a foreign land of lies, a bit of weirdness, and very much the unknown. So my new checklist going forward, working up into my 33rd year includes the following items:

1 – Do you have a job? A car? A place to live?
2 – Do you own any thing that would let’s say shoot something?
3 – Do you have a goal to achieve?
4 – Do you have a valid passport?
5 – Where have your travels brought you to?
6 – And the questions go from there.

My questioning and interviewing skills have become more sharper being back on land and I wonder to myself, when will this all come together. Each day is different but kind of the same. Each day I think of the choice that I made to leave the life at sea to be back on land, and contemplate and remember that I did make the right decision. My checklist is a starting point, but if you don’t have any guidelines or directions, you might just end up off track and that’s ok. But getting close to 33, I want to be on track, making it all happen, and feeling more of the success that I truly am destined to be.

Check.

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The Return to Land

After a relationship of almost 7 years (on and off of course) at sea, I have cut my ties (or ropes in a more nautical term) and I have made the decision to stay on land. Gone are the days of packing for 4 months at a time with the hopes that I did not forget anything in my 50lb allowance per bag, and gone are the days of waking up in a new location be it at sea or in port. I will miss so many aspects to life at sea and the people who I was so lucky to work with throughout the years, but there are things that I now must pursue, and taking a chance on land is one of them.

For those who understand a life at sea, this might all make sense to you (the fear of going back on land, not always being around people if you want, etc) and for those who are thinking about going to sea, this post will be entertaining to you. For those who have no desire to go and work at sea, read away and I hope this will bring a smile to your day.

Here is my top list of what I have learnt/experienced/advice to you list:

  1. People are very nice. Do not be scared of going to work in a new environment. Yes – you are away from home, you will miss your friends and family, but you will create a new ship family, and they are pretty awesome.
  2. Real Estate. Do not get caught up in the whole, but he/she has a port hole, but is married at home. You will end up getting hurt in the end, and enjoy the company of your roommate. It’s not worth it in the end.
  3. Social Activities. You do not have to go out every night. You will be working until the day you disembark, so use your time wisely. Being tired at work, is not fun, either is going home due to your party style. Be wise. Be smart.
  4. Fresh Air. Go out and get a breath of fresh air, even for a few minutes. Your work day can be so busy that you might forget to go and get some well needed non-circulated air. Find the Crew Deck and just have your “ahhhhh” moment. Trust me – fresh air does wonders for your body and soul.
  5. Don’t be afraid to speak. What I mean by this is that if you have an idea – share it – however be careful of being arrogant – with so many different nationalities onboard, you might be misunderstood as well.
  6. Everyone was new once. It’s your first day, people are looking at you, you have been lost since you stepped onboard the ship, you can’t find your cabin, it has a different smell, people are running around, you feel that you are from another planet, yes – all of these can happen, but everyone has gone thru it, so you are around experienced people. Ask questions, smile, get to know others, and it will all work out. You will then see on the next turn around those who look lost, help them out – you were in that spot once.
  7. Take pictures. If there is one thing that I wish I had done more of, was take pictures to be able to reflect on the fun I had at sea. Even if it is with just your phone, or a disposable camera, do it.
  8. Along with take pictures, write a journal. The memories, the laughs, the events and activities, the ports, etc. Write it down and take a photo. You will not regret doing this years done the road – it will be all that more special to you.
  9. Stay connected. Communication at sea is tough, but make it work. Budget your phone card/internet card, because your friends and family at home will be curious to how you are doing and of course miss your presence. Life is like a roller coaster, you will be glad that you have the extra time saved on those days you need a smile from home.
  10. A smile is contagious. A smile is internationally known as being positive. A smile can brighten up the day of someone you just passed by. A genuine smile. Go and try.

Of course there are so many more points that I can make, and I am being quite sentimental – but it was a time in my life that I will never forget, and not be able to go back to. The friends that I have made, the places that I travelled to, and the opportunities I have experienced, have shaped me to who I am today.

Go out and make the most of your day, no matter where you are. And to my past life at sea – Thank you. I could not have become who I am today without the life I have lived being on the ocean.

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What good stories are made of – Faith, Trust, and Love Boat Pixie Dust

In the beginning was the word and in the word was the beginning.  A prophecy was made that would outline the 30 years to come under the roof of Deck 15 in a sheltered booth which had beautiful drapes to block out the paparazzi as this journey was one to be captured by the most curious of them all.

Waves were made and created with a defecto on the horizon, children were borne out of a sneeze and had henna tattoos and cradled in Mexican ponchos as the on lookers did their water aerobics with ease.  The wind was blowing ever so gently and the sun beating down on the locals and tourists and it was easy to recognize that this was a day to be remembered for many years to come.

The memories continued with strong winds blowing up the dresses of those who decided to Dance on Deck 15 and sing along to The Love Boat while doing the latest dance craze – The Issac and after throwing in a peg leg or two.  The night continued into the wee hours of the morning, when a small Asian Magician came to fetch his magical cash card and stayed for a word or two.  Eyes were tired, but the conversation was not.  It was well worth the talk that night, as it started something good.

The next two days were a blur of fun, snuggles, and a great photo shoot with backgrounds that only the best of the best Cruise Lines could provide to their savviest of passengers.  With columns and ships, the night was captured on a digital memory card, as being in the year of 2015, this was how it was done.  The time was ticking by quickly before the time to say til we meet again grew close.

A special dinner was had after a very notable Katy Perry performance at the Super Bowl, and the Asian felt as if he did not exist when the two at the table were smitten as it was told by each other and could be seen.  Snails were consumed, hands were held, and it ended with a snugglicious evening of a very sweet nature.

The vessel in which the journey started sailed out in the choppy distance from Los Angeles as the two had to part their ways for a short period of time, as they knew that they would both be seeing each other again soon as this journey was far from over.  I mean, there was 30 years still left to go as it was only like 4 days into this thing.

Days had passed, emails were exchanged and a friendly voice was heard on the phone.  There will be plenty more laughs, giggles, late nights of wine and conversations, jet skis, well anything with skis on it – brewski, ski, Hawaii-ski, and this will all come in due time and it will be what the best memories are made of.  This will happen for the next 30 years to come and each day will unfold a new adventure and the adventure will be good – just like the word.

You say goodbye and I say Hilo….Hilo Hilo

After a choppy 4 days at sea, it was worth the bouncing and early nights of sleep to make it to the first port of call on the Hawaiian Cruise – Hilo which is situated on the Big Island.  This island in the chain of Hawaii, holds a very special place in my heart, as many memories were made on this island during my time at Kalani.

Oh Kalani – if you have never heard of it or been – just put it in Google and you will find out where I decided to volunteer and spend not a lot of time at.  Kalani brought me a realization that I am not one who can be completely disconnected and live off the land, and share a bathroom with 15 other people in a hale.  However, it did teach me respect of the ‘aina (land), a quick snapshot into the beautiful culture of the Hawaiian people, and that I was able to drive a car, which was really an automatic car but almost like a standard which I don’t know how to drive, into the town of Hilo when you really needed to escape from being in Pahoa.  Again, Google Pahoa and if you know me well enough, you know that I would need a bit of an escape.

Friends were made on the Big Island.  A threat of a tsunami had be scared out of my pants, and it inspired one of my few tattoos, which is the Chain of Islands, and yes call me a tourist – but a proud one at that!  Volunteering was a great experience, and I was able to teach a Yoga Class, learn how to use silks, and also how to make lei’s.  I learnt about Pele, and even made a lei to offer to the goddess to protect me, as I felt that she was always close by.

Today I strolled the Saturday Market, tasted new food, had fresh pressed juice, spoke to locals in the running shop and learnt about an upcoming trip to Europe.  I was able to share my passion of Hawaii to the locals who came onboard the ship in the morning, just to be told that I looked like Dorthy from the Wizard of Oz, which is funny enough because she says “There is no place like home” and this is what Hawaii feels like to me – so fair comment and thank you sir.

Hawaii is a place that I want to share with others.  I hope that this small insight into the Hawaii that I see has given you the inspiration to see what the Islands are truly about.  It is very simple, and I like to call it “Aloha”.

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11 months have gone by

Can you believe that it has been 11 months since the last time that I posted by thoughts, my words, my desires on a screen to be shared with those who enjoy what I have to say and share? Wow – how the time does go by fast.

Life has thrown some interesting curve balls my way throughout the past year, which have included new love and saying till we meet again to that love, travels to Asia numerous times, being in Alaska for the summer, enjoying time in Mexico for my birthday, being in and out of Florida and going to the Caribbean and Jamaica, and then travelling across the States to go back to being based out of LA and sailing to Hawaii.

Yes – Hawaii – I am currently en route to the land where I believe is my true calling home.  The place where I feel the magic of the islands embrace me as I come closer each day while sailing at sea.  When I arrive to the Islands of Hawaii, I immediately feel centered and at an indescribable peace with myself.  The surroundings are beyond familiar, and the people are like from a movie that I have watched hundreds of times as they are that familiar.  The smell, the sounds, the natural feeling of being home brings me to state of calmness that I can not explain.  As I write, I am being bounced around on a ship and I don’t mind the rough seas, the windy weather, because I know what is on the horizon and in less than 36 hours I will be saying Aloha to Hilo.

Things have started to make sense to me again.  I have felt like I was lost in a sea of the unknown and questioning to who I was, what did I truly want, and do I really care about what I do.  I feel that this year is going to be a real year of positive change, and a year of exploration to get to the core of who I am and not to be persuading by other influences to say what is right and what is wrong according to those sources.  This is a year to step beyond the boundaries that I have created for myself and not to fear the fun that can exist outside of those parameters.  It is time to say “Why not, let’s do it” and just get out there.  To know that there is more than just looking for a place to sit, eat, drink and unwind.  Because life is an adventure, and when sitting still, where is the fun in that?

It’s nice to be back writing to you all, and I hope that you enjoy all that I have to share because this year is going to be epic!

Mahalo!

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