I Witnessed Amazing

Jul 21, 2023

I spent the past week in the Washington DC area. I split a week between vacation and work. I completed the 9-mile hike of Old Rag. I toured many of the amazing monuments highlighting our country's incredible history. I witnessed the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery. I met with each of the 4 Congressional Representatives and the 2 United States Senators representing Kansas. I was able to discuss the importance of the Farm Bill, cover crops, CDL barriers, and rail issues. These experiences made me thankful for the beauty of God’s creation, our representative government, the sacrifice of the brave men and women throughout our great nation’s history, and the freedoms it provides me today. I have a renewed appreciation for the fact that I live in the United States of America—a nation that, while not perfect in its past nor its present, is the greatest country in history. All these things have been amazing, but the week’s thoughts are about the way Veronica filled the start of our trip with joy and laughter.

My wife has a couple of general policies when we vacation. Don’t find yourself short of shoes or outfits, and don’t leave a bag filled less than capacity, so we love Southwest Airlines bags fly-free policy. The policy, paired with their fair pricing strategy, leads us to choose to fly Southwest whenever possible. When you combine business and pleasure, I generally fly 8 to 12 times per year, and I’ll admit that after the brief opening comments that I hear when finding my seat, I usually put in my earbuds, pull out my notebook or tablet, and get to work. Prior to the past week, I couldn’t tell you the last time I listened to the safety briefing, and I certainly couldn't remember a time when a plane was filled with laughter and smiles. Crazier yet – the flight departed at 6 am! For this week’s thoughts, I’d like to tell you about Veronica and her team of Lucy, Karen, and Tori, who turned a routine flight into a memorable one of the best kind.

First impressions matter, and the team set the tone from the moment we entered the plane. Veronica was at the door greeting people. She welcomed us with a smile and handed out generous compliments to the children coming on board. She made jokes during the boarding process about how she sees the people who pretend they don’t see the person looking to take the middle seat beside them. She joked about the smoking section being on the wing because everyone knows that FAA regulations do not allow for the use of cigarettes on a plane. She made a funny quip about each of her coworkers as they smiled and played along. They were all joyful in their service throughout the entire flight, and my family had a great time. Finally, at the end of the flight, she thanked us for our business by saying, “Thank you for joining us today. All of us at Southwest love you and your money, please bring both back quickly!”

As I thought about this throughout the week, I realized how much this aligned with last week’s thoughts. Veronica and her team turned ordinary into amazing with nothing more than their attitude. The flight departed and arrived as scheduled. The plane was the standard one we usually ride. The snack mix and coffee weren’t any different than usual. Even the safety and departure information provided was standard. The only difference was the joy they brought to their work! As I stated last week, attitude is a choice. What I saw on that flight is that it’s also contagious. Every single person was polite to the team serving us. People were kind to each other, laughing and smiling all the way through departing the plane. It was truly an amazing thing to behold!

That leads me to this week’s challenge… Continue to use your attitude to turn ordinary into amazing. Even if you must fake it till you make it, choose joyful fun in your work. See how much you can elevate the standard experience through high-energy and joyful communication. Give it a couple of weeks and see if you begin to see a change in how people treat you.

I’ll say it again because I truly mean it and want it to fully sink in… We need the best of what’s inside of you. Be contagiously joyful – share your amazing!