My Wife – A person I can only dream of being.

After listening to my wife complain for a year that I never write about her, I finally had that moment sitting on a plane last week on my way to Vegas, when feelings are turned into words that follow ………

Ask me how many years I have been married, I have to really think. Ask me my kid’s birthdays or cell phone numbers I have to think harder. Ask me how I would describe my wife and no thought is needed.  My wife is the definition of compassion, caring for others and what a best friend is. Period. No discussion. She would do anything for anyone at anytime. She is a person I can only dream of being.

If some people have a heart of gold, she has one of platinum. Her life is a constant stream of calls, texts and Facebook chatter. She is the center of attention, with a calendar always full of invitations. She is the best friend to me, to her kids, and to everyone she meets.

The only comments that people will have about her are positive. She was a stay at home mom for many years. Then she then wanted to get a job. First it was in radio. She got a job in radio promotions. It was not what she thought, after dressing up in a costume and handing out promotional materials in a cold rain she realized with tearful eyes, it was not for her. She needed something, but what?

She has all this positive energy, but she also has void that bothers here. She says that she has no passion, a driving force in her life. Or does she?

After realizing that radio was not her gig, she applied to the first Trader Joes store that was opening up in Milwaukee. Hundreds applied, and she was of the lucky ones who got a job.

The problem is she was following in the footsteps of her mother who works the courtesy area of her brother’s grocery stores on Chicago’s gold coast. She could have a similar job, but she needed to define it differently, she needed to be more happy and fulfilled. And she wanted a career path and growth.

She was going to be the Trader Joe’s demo diva. Instead of handing out samples, she was going to hand out smiles, instead of greeting a customer with a hi, she was going to greet them by name, instead of talking about the product, she was going to lead the customer around the store planning out their meals and filling up their shopping cart.

Then one day at work she had a stroke and almost died. That did not stop her. She posses a keen drive to steamroll adversity. Day by day she regained her strength and returned to work, with her customers always asking how she is doing.

She is still the heart and soul of her store. She has also passed the baton on to our daughter Casey who works for Traders Joe in Madison while going to UW. Casey is unbelievably lucky to have a role model like her mother.

But there is still that void. Michele is a virtual mother to many of the young people that work at Trader Joe’s. She nurtures, consoles, advises, mentors and provides a family support system to the ones without a functioning family. She is their family; she is a leader to them, a shining light in their otherwise tough lives.

Even with all that giving, she still feels a void in her heart and mind.

In always helping others, she has not helped herself. She yearns to be a supervisor, manager or owner of some tangible process. She wants to have a formal imprint on something.

She is stuck. But she is fortunate. She has a hidden passion. Like my question 6 years ago that I asked my support group, can I ever be a leader? She asks will I ever find a passion?

Michele has a career quandary? She needs to find the answer to the question – Can I ever own my own business, be a manager, own a process 100%?

The answer is yes. And the answer will be powered by something that has always been with her every day. It’s so obvious to be hidden, so prevalent to be rare, and so powerful, yet it makes you think you failed.

It is something so lacking in the business world, yet billions are spent to find it, we hate when we don’t get it, and are astonished when we do, it’s learnable but has no degree, and it’s has a low cost to obtain and a giant cost when nonexistent.

After years of joking about Michele’s lack of a passion, I have finally identified it. Like a rough gemstone once found it needs to be polished, put in the right setting, so it will shine, sparkle and dazzle you.

The hidden passion Michele exudes every living moment is:

Providing customer service on such a level it’s not considered customer service, it’s considered a trusting friendship based relationship with your customer, who looks on you as trusting advisor not as a store’s employee.

Her customers would shop Trader Joes without her, but they would not leave with carts as full, make additional shopping trips just to chat with her, write or call when that customer spouse dies, send her gifts and add a hundred more thank you’s to her for being at work and adding joy to their shopping experience and daily life.

So now she needs to decide even at this stage in life, can she change or grow into a leadership position at a company that will use her skills to take customer service from lip service on a Mission Statement to the cash register. By making customers excited just to be treated like the center of attention and like a king when they deal with a company, and as a friend, not just another sale on the ledger?

All my blogs have a question and this one is important to my wife?

Who can help my wife live her dream and have a position where she can manage and train others to be as good as her delivering her passion – delivering unparalleled customer service?

 Food Porn

Rack of Lamb Marsala at Uncle Sals Italian Restaurant in Scottsdale, AZ An unbelievable meal and enough food for lunch the next day.

Golf Porn

One of my passions is golf. And desert and mountain golf courses are my favorite. What makes it even more enjoyable is going with a great group of friends playing sheepsheads, enjoying food and drinks. And more importantly just having a fun few days with the guys.

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