Stop Saying Sorry — A note to United and other Airlines.

First of all, for what happened to the dragged off passenger, you’ll likely be saying “I’m Sorry” for a long time. What you probably haven’t realized, however, is that one of the main ingredients that lead to this might have been because you have been saying sorry, or some other form of apology, for way to long.

When I went to check in for my flight this morning, I got a notification that asked me if I would be willing to take a later flight with an offer of flight credits for an “inconvenience.” I know, it’s your way of apologizing for an over-sold flight and compensating me for my trouble.

But here’s what I know. Your policy of over-booking makes you lots of money. In addition, though I can’t really verify it, it likely makes my frequent flights a bit cheaper. Assuming that you would have to charge for un-utilized seats to maintain the profit margin. I get that. It’s how the whole thing works.

The problem is, in apologizing, you are creating an adversarial relationship between me and the people responsible for getting me on the plane (gate agents etc.). When they believe they are inconveniencing the customer, and just following policy, they begin to look at me as someone they must convince to do something I don’t want. Equally, when I hear or see the words inconvenience, we’re sorry, or we “have to find x amount of people” I begin to feel like you messed up, I can’t trust you, and that I might ultimately have no choice in the matter.

From a brain perspective, both the choice placed on me and on the employee are, by design, going to trigger a threat response. I’m protecting my turf and your employee is protecting theirs (they would hate to get fired for not following policy).

But, in the midst of all of this, there is huge opportunity to use this whole situation to trigger the reward response in both me and your employee from the moment you know about an over-sold situation. In fact, I think it is something I could look forward to and your employees could celebrate.

What if, when you learn of the oversold situation, your first correspondence with me was about an opportunity? About, how we have all helped create a cost-effective flying situation and, now that we have reached capacity, a few lucky people are going to have the opportunity to make a little money, maybe even more… Roll out the oversold for what it is, a benefit, potentially, to both parties. And the first person that has a bit of flexibility to make it to the counter wins.

Personally, I’ve made money on this. A few flights home on short weekends have earned me added vacations, free business development trips to see new clients, and even tickets for friends and family on special occasions. All of these were benefits that I was not considering when someone told me that I would be compensated for my imposition. All of them are opportunities for you to change the way we view our two person relationship.

The potential for this could be a huge change in the way both the passenger and your employees view your current policies. What if this was something that people looked forward to hearing? What if, in addition to your change in tone, you put everyone that voluntarily took a bump in a drawing for more free flights, flight status for frequent flyers, or other awards that make the incentive for volunteering something people want to be the first in line to receive?

The options are endless. But it is difficult to achieve if you don’t stop saying sorry and start letting your passengers be part of the solution. Trigger the parts of our brain that make us want to be a part of your success, knowing that it ultimately helps create our own, and you might find your customers want you to be successful as much as you do.


Removing Uncertainty

Uncertainty is painful. When trying to reach a goal, or pursue a specific strategy, uncertainty can make us hesitate, fill us with doubt, and kill our efficiency. We all want more certainty, but we are lead to believe certainty is just something confident people have, something we need other people to provide, or simply un-available.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Certainty is not just some personality trait that only people that have been born with the right genetic pre-disposition can access. Certainty can be created, or at least built upon, over time. And, while it does take some work, infusing plans, goals, and strategies with a little more certainty can be as easy as answering a few questions.

Why is it (the plan, goal, etc) right for us? This question forces us to consider how we are going to use our unique strengths, why it is important to us, and where, specifically, we plan to go. Answering this question creates the initial confidence that we can actually do what we are setting out to do. We don’t need some outside force, simple luck, or fluke event to make it happen. It’s going to happen because we are uniquely positioned to make it happen. You can be certain of that.

Where have we done it (the thing we are trying to do) before? The second inquiry helps us find the internal resources needed to follow through because we have all the evidence we need through having done it before. Everything is harder the first time, yet when we really distill what we are actually doing, we almost never do anything completely new the first time. How have you done something similar? when have you been successful at something just like this? And how is this goal just like the others you HAVE completed? In those answers is more certainty.

What are we trying to learn? This final question can open our eyes to where we are getting better, finding successes, and growing all along the process, as opposed to only when we cross the finish line. This focus sets the stage for growth now and in the future because we are purposely identifying it, perhaps even recording it, throughout the entire process. And nothing creates certainty like evidence of progress.

Uncertainty is painful. It keeps us up at night, steals our inspiration, and negatively effects our results. But it is something we can control. In fact, if you get good at answering these questions with all your strategies, you might just find achieving that future goal is so certain you start talking like that confident person more and more every day.

Under-Valued and Uncomfortable; Signs You Are Leaving Value on the Table

What do you do really well? In what capacities do you perform like a rock-star? What have you experienced in your professional life that gives you super powers no one else could possibly replicate? These are some of the questions I like to ask people to get an idea of how much value they are leaving on the table. And how much value a person is leaving on the table is almost directly correlated to how uncomfortable they are in their current role.

Most people, when confronted with these questions, look at me like a deer in the headlights. They often start regurgitating some painfully boring job description or spout off some soup-du-jour buzzwords that they think someone else thinks is meaningful. Only, when pressed to identify their own uniqueness beyond those production line definitions, they have no idea.

So many people in the working world believe they have more to give. They feel down in their stomach that they can have a bigger impact, a more lasting effect on the world, and create value that far surpasses what they are currently receiving right now. But they don’t know, or aren’t comfortable talking about, those things that they are awesome at.

The more clear a person is about what they do well, what they provide that will blow the socks off of their clients, the knowledge, skills, abilities, passions and purpose that make them unique and provides boatloads of benefit to other people, the better they will be position to actually realize their value in the marketplace. (that’s code for making money, among other things)

That feeling of unease doesn’t go away with a new job, a new position, or even a new salary, it only seems like it momentarily. The discomfort that comes with being under-valued, under-utilized, and, let’s face it, under-paid have almost no chance of going away if the person doesn’t know, in detail, what particular blend of magic it is that only they can create.

Knowing what you do well will give you the confidence to step into things others avoid. Knowing where you are a rock-star helps you identify opportunities others will miss. And fully embracing your superpowers can provide motivation to see things through where others would stop.

How much value you are leaving on the table might just surprise you. But, if you don’t seek to understand the potential of your unique value, that discomfort should be no surprise at all.

Jackie – Imposter Syndrome

Sometimes, it seems as the only thing standing in between who we are and who we want to be is the simple act of trying…again, and again, and again. Jackie is living proof that stepping into what might initially feel uncomfortable, can have great long term benefits.

We hope her answers inspire you.

What is one thing you can do today that you did not believe you could do before?

Live video. For the past year, I have been doing Live video on Facebook a few times a week. It was terrifying but I continued to do them. This week it has paid off big time as I did two live segments on our local Fox TV morning show.

How did you change this view of yourself?

I think like most people, I was so uncomfortable being on camera and hearing my voice. Through lots of practice and encouragement from others, I kept at it and now I’m much more comfortable in front of the camera and actually like it!!

What skills, talents, superpowers did you discover in the process?

I haven’t discovered any magical skills yet, but I have realized that I do have a message that people want to hear. I have been on a journey of learning about happiness and the power of positive mindset. I look at others now who think like I used to think, with so much negativity, and I want to change that mindset.

What advice would you give to someone else in a similar position?

I still have doubts about myself and what I’m doing. Does anyone really care type of thing. Imposter Syndrome or a form of it I suppose. BUT, I know in my heart that I can make a difference in at least one other person’s life so I push myself every day to be a better version of myself and share what I am learning. That is my advice-if you feel it in your heart and soul, then you have an obligation to share what you have.


This is another great example of what can happen if you Trust Your Value.

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