I just returned from a fabulous week in New York City.
I've been fortunate enough to meet some fantastic people there during the past few years that have turned into lifelong friends.
Like the t-shirt says "I LOVE New York"
The stereotype of what New Yorkers are "really" like is simply not true. There are many great people and neighborhoods in New York; I strongly believe you will always find people that reflect the energy you are giving off.
Although I had been warned by many (some who have never even been to NYC), to stay away from Brooklyn, I decided to give it a try.
I am ever glad that I did.
I stayed in the beautiful area of Williamsburg, an area where people talk to each other on the street, and yes even....smile. For the most part, it is filled with many privately owned coffee shops, restaurants, drug stores, and unique shops.
In a word it is a "real" community, with "real, genuine" people (aka.. leave the attitude when you cross the Williamsburg Bridge).
On Wednesday morning I awoke, after spending a fantastic full day with a great friend, and decided to take a stroll in search of my morning coffee.
I found a bagel place that was bursting with energy and decided to give it a try.
Up on the wall behind the counter was a big sign that read "Welcome to Brooklyn".
"Welcome"......hmm...that's a word I don't hear that often.
I stepped inside to watch a well choreographed "dance" of customers ordering, orders being called out, and people shuffling. I was a little scared to "interrupt" this dance, as I didn't know any of the "moves".
Picture, the scene from the "Soup Nazi" episode from Seinfeld, only much friendlier. I thought if I screwed up someone would call out, "NO Bagel for YOU!"
That's when "she" appeared.
The lady behind me picked up on my confused look and offered to help. She explained the "dance" to me: pick your bagel; order what you want on it; shuffle to the left; order your coffee; pay and wait for your order to be called out.
I thanked her for her kindness for saving me, and she smiled back and said, "Welcome to Brooklyn" just like the words on the sign.
After completing the "dance" I found a place to sit down, enjoy my breakfast and dove right into the newspaper. Moments later, my "friend" tapped me on the shoulder to say goodbye and wished me a great day, and off she went.
Well, five days and five hundred miles later I'm back home, thinking about how this "stranger" totally made my day, not to mention that I've already told this story a few times.
To my "friend" in Brooklyn, thanks for reminding me about the the "Golden Rule" of treating others the way you would like to be treated.
And yes, I will be staying in Brooklyn on my next trip to the Big Apple.
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Very often I am asked the biggest lessons, or best advice, I have ever received. Most times, people want a short, concise, and memorable response.
For that reason, I've spent alot of time thinking of the biggest life lessons I have ever learned, and I've now got it narrowed to two. Just as important are the key world business leaders I learned them from...
Cue the drumroll......
1) Your freedom to choose (Thanks Stephen Covey!)
2) Take more risks (Thanks Richard Branson!)
Let's start with your "freedom to choose". Everyday life presents us with a menu of choices on what we should focus on, and how we should react to what is happening around us.
Make no mistake, YOU are 100% responsible for what you give your attention to.
Everyday we make decisions about, what we are thinking about, our actions, our words, in short what kind of day we are going to have. We choose what we allow into our minds and bodies, and who we spend time with.
You are FREE to make those choices, so choose wisely on how you "spend" your time everyday.
The second BIG lesson I have learned is about taking some risks. I'm not suggesting going skydiving, but do something, anything to challenge yourself everyday.
We all know people who love to complain, yet never do anything about taking action to improve the situation they are complaining about. I like to call this "comfortable misery"; I may be miserable, but I'm comfortable.
Remember the old definition of insanity "doing the same things over and over, and expecting different results".
Do something different today.
To learn more about these lessons from Stephen Covey and Richard Branson themselves, check out the new "Wisdom of Caring Leaders" corporate training video.
I show this fantastic 11 minute video at the end of my corporate training sessions, and audiences love it! Honestly, it's pretty special to have Stephen Covey, Richard Branson, Anita Roddick, Jack Welch and Marshall Goldsmith back up what you just presented.
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