Be All That You Can Be…And Chocolate

Chocolates candies with different fillings. Top view.

I was in the supermarket today and saw an amazing feat of work ethic. It happened within maybe a minute or so, and I immediately wanted to share it with you. Why? Because it was inspiring, thought provoking and made me want to come home and go back into the office…on a beautiful Friday afternoon!

I was sent for chocolate because it’s been that kind of week around here. It’s a rare “three alarmer” when I get that request. Goes with the territory of being a family composed of a business owner and a seasoned sales professional. Can you imagine? Which is why I have double insulation in the walls between our two offices – and that’s really another story all together.

So I rushed to Publix, parked close, and went straight for Aisle 15. Three different versions of 78% dark cacao later I’m heading to the self-checkout. No time to wait in line, even if it is 10 items or less. As I cruise to near certain victory, I pick the first scanner I find, drop my basket and start digging for the win. Lindt’s Lindor Irresistibly Smooth Extra Dark Chocolate Truffles, followed by their obvious compliment, the Lindt’s 78% Dark Cacao bar, and for the chaser, Justin’s Mini Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. Side note: milk and white chocolate need not apply at this severity level. As I’m scanning, the first thing I notice is that the bags are pre-opened and ready for me to place my delicious contraband into them straight away. If anyone bags their own groceries you know you need a pneumatic hammer and a heat gun to open these bags on their Level 6 security rack. And here they were, wide open like hungry dolphins from SeaWorld awaiting their daily meal. I looked left and there it was, a hand sneaking behind me to snatch my carry basket. I had barely said “thank you!” before she was off, heading to another recently vacated scanner, opening the bags for the next shopper with one arm, and placing my basket in the return rack with the other.

Just as she was performing her Harlem Globetrotters two ball dribble, shades of Meadowlark Lemon style, an elderly gentleman whisked by on an in-store scooter at a pretty good clip, while dragging the charging cord behind him. Classic Florida scene here y’all, except, Ms. Meadowlark reached out and grabbed the cord on the fly and globetrotted right up to our octogenarian Jackie Stewart and placed it neatly behind the seat in its rightful place. Nice and tidy, everyone safe and sound. As I walked out, I nodded to her, acknowledging the “great moves” and strolled to the door.

I have to tell you, there was a little bounce in my step thinking about what I just saw there. This young woman, who for any number of reasons, is working at Publix: perhaps a student, working mom, saving for a new car, house or vacation, career grocery professional, or just trying to make ends meet during these crazy inflationary times. Regardless, it was freaking inspiring. I’m guessing she won’t be in that spot long. If smart, Publix will notice and move her to a leadership role pretty soon. If she’s there to supplement other dreams, whoever gets this person on their team will recognize amazing returns on their investment. I just know it.

There’s a great little book by Cal Newport called Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You. (I like it so much it’s on my suggested reading list on my website!) Many of you who work with me in a coaching engagement have heard me talk about the lessons learned here and my recommendation is always to spend a little time getting to know this book. Most of the stories center around people who are in jobs that are not part of their big plan. And while they are there, they do the best job possible, because to do otherwise isn’t available for consideration.

When we operate in this manner, other opportunities become available to us. We start to see different ways to perform, improve, and exceed what the role we’re in asks of us. Besides, to do it any other way would be seriously boring!

I recently read about an horrendous trend (if it’s really a trend and not just stupid “influencer” click bait) called Bare Minimum Mondays. I sh-t you not my friends. The premise is that people are so unmotivated, anxious, overwhelmed or just plain gold-bricking, that they show up at work and do just enough to not be upset about anything, to finish their unofficial half-day of a full day and not break a sweat…yikes. Beyond the absolute worst idea for CV building and reputation and brand creation, I just have to say “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”

That seriously made me SMDH’ing. I was losing faith in humanity after this. And then I witnessed the likes of our Helen Parr (aka Elastigirl) just making her day and role that much more amazing. Like the spinning plates guy on the Ed Sullivan show. Nothing hits the ground with our self-checkout savior on our side.

OK, time to ease down on the metaphor and analogy fest; the lesson here is this: while you are where you are, make it go! The things you can discover about your job, the people around you and you, will bring amazing possibilities into your view. I’m sitting here writing this and a bunch of other content just because I was part of a small little moment. I can only imagine what other lucky shoppers who also noticed our employee of the moment motivated themselves to do next. Until then, who wants some chocolate? Hippos love chocolate…


Hello curious human.  If you’ve made it this far, then curiosity and awareness are two of your superpowers. Do you have the COURAGE to go to the next level?  Consider the wild idea of investing in you! New programs are available! Why wait any longer?!?  Here’s a link to start creating that discussion right now!

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