Around 1996 I attended a training given by an industry guru. I had a book on his massage technique and was excited to learn directly from him.  He still stands out for me as one the worst instructor I’ve ever had.

It wasn’t the name dropping or his explaining that if his technique wasn’t working it was because you weren’t doing it correctly. I was turned off by his belittling of students. He imitated the voice of a man who was hearing impaired. He teased the oldest man in class about his age and an overweight woman about; you guessed it, her weight. He intimated students who asked questions. I left the class irate that he treated students with no respect.

And Me?

And then I got home. I knew I would never treat people they way he did. But I also know that when something in another person bugs me I also carry that trait.  Sometimes the message comes in an exaggerated way so I’ll pay attention.

I started looking at how I might be disrespectful to students or clients. I remembered teasing a woman in my yoga class. It seemed innocent to me, but maybe she felt tender around the issue. (I did apologize and she said she wasn’t offended by my teasing.)

I won’t say that since then I’ve never said anything that might have hurt someone’s feelings. I probably have left someone feeling disrespected. But my experience with that instructor has continued to help me bring more awareness to being respectful to clients, students, and colleagues.

And you?

How can you take the icky stuff that’s been showing up in your life and find ways in your business to offer the other side of the coin?

I bet within the past six months you’ve had crappy service somewhere. Maybe you’ve spent time on hold listening to muzak. Or maybe an inattentive waiter got your order wrong. It doesn’t feel good to not be listened to or to be treated like you’re not valued. Can you think of one way that you could help your clients feel more valued?

Or maybe been feeling afraid about how few clients you’ve been seeing. Can you feel more appreciation for the wonderful clients you do see? How can you let your customers know that you see them as a person, not another dollar in your pocket?

I’d love to hear about you’re going to flip the icky stuff upside down.