Getting to Know TrainerTainment’s Mary Southwick

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What do you enjoy most about working with our clients?

It is fun to talk shop and share your experiences with other people. I find I learn so much from all our clients, so my takeaways go straight to my tool box to share again. I enjoy going onsite, too. It is interesting to see and experience the regional differences in the FEC world and how they interact with their communities.

 

How long have you been in the FEC industry and in what roles?

Well, as we all know Beth brought me into the bowling industry in the late nineties (don’t do the math for my age) as the bookkeeper for the facility she was managing. I worked at two locations for Schumaker & Company as a bookkeeper. From there, I learned the operational side of the bowling business. I also started bowling leagues and found that I enjoyed all the people you meet. Then I went on to work part-time for Trainertainment as the bookkeeper and onsite trainer. Ten years later I left my job of teaching 5th grade to become the Director of Training with Trainertainment, a shift for me in the content of what I share but still being in service and teaching others.

 

What is the most significant thing you have learned working in the FEC industry?

The most significant thing I have learned is that most all the people I have met are “good” people. They are all working hard to better the industry, keeping in mind that they are in the business of providing fun entertainment to their guest. I love smaller venues that are in the process of growing into the FEC world from traditional bowling centers and watching their transformation and growth.

 

Which of our core values resonate with you the most?

Being in service to others – I worked in education for 20 years. I get gratification helping, sharing, and interacting with other people. I’m a people person and rarely meet a stranger. I am a big advocate for great guest service and love to share with others when I have experienced great guest service.

 

What are your favorite movies? Comedy? Drama?

I don’t watch many comedies, but my favorite comedy would be Christmas Vacation, which is a classic. I love realistic/historical fiction. The last movie I watched was The Light Between Oceans. I loved that it was in the post-WWI period. I especially enjoyed watching it from the deck of a cruise ship.

How would you spend a billion dollars?

Well, you know Mister would not let me tell a soul until we had everything in order. Money doesn’t make my world go around, but I would buy property and get my bed and breakfast up and running. I would have a working ranch where I could raise cows and have horses, with huge trees and a house with a wraparound porch. I would move to an easier way of life, low key and back to the basics. I would take care of my family and friends to make sure they were in good shape financially. I would find some way to give back – a veteran’s organization or low-income schools would be my focus.

 

Faith and Fear

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I’ve been thinking a lot about both of these words lately. Zig Ziglar said that FEAR is “False Evidence that Appears Real.” I get that. Fear is usually something we’re afraid might happen. I think about all the sales people we work with and how challenging it is to muster up the courage to walk into a building or into a networking event where you know no one. That sales person has to overcome the fear of feeling like they might not fit in, wondering if the door will be slammed in their face, rejection, and anything else that might pop into their mind.

How Fear Works

That’s how fear works. Stuff that isn’t real for this moment pops into your mind and, all of a sudden, there is fear. After overcoming through faith all the fear of a lymphoma diagnosis in 2014, we believed that we had conquered the Big “C” thing.  However, in the course of ongoing treatment, my husband relapsed this winter, and he/we are doing the chemotherapy dance again. I can tell you first hand that holding fearful thoughts at bay is no easy job.

We certainly have a lot more practice and even experience with this situation. Some things were easier this time around. For instance, the emotionally charged words like cancer, chemo, relapse, and lymphoma seem more normal and don’t create the lump in my throat like they did last time.

Clarity

I’ve gained a lot of clarity that fearful thoughts have a basis in negativity. I think this is true in any situation. Fear means you’ve allowed your mind to go to that place that’s wrapped in “What if I don’t get that sale? What if they laugh at my idea or think I’m stupid?” Look at how you can feel in an instant, and none of those thoughts are based on any type of reality. It doesn’t matter if you were rejected before. The reality is that what’s in front of you right now, today is a brand new situation and has the possibility of a brand new outcome. But the fear can keep you from knocking on the door.

Listen, I was scared to death of the thought of my husband’s chemotherapy. I had many fearful thoughts until we went for the first treatment and they said that he had to wait on insurance. In an instant, the fear of chemo was trumped by the great fear of what will happen if he doesn’t get chemo. This time around, he had a shot at going into a trial treatment with an immunotherapy drug. That seemed scary because of the unknown. As it turned out, he did not qualify for the trial, and so chemotherapy was the next best option. Immunotherapy now seems like a better option. See how that works? You are scared of the unknown in one minute, and the next minute the option in front of you seems better. Experience teaches me that taking the next step in faith trumps fear every time.

My husband is really GREAT at not fearfully dealing with things. I hope I can be like him when I grow up. He doesn’t worry; he does not make up stories that are steeped in negativity. He’s clear that he would like to live for a long time and so we do the things we need to do (difficult or not) to get the results we want to achieve. He’s pragmatic and optimistic.

He and I were sitting together this spring at a Subway Sandwich Shop waiting for an appointment with the oncologist. There were a ton of unknowns, and he and I were both pretty scared but had brave faces for one another. My beautiful husband looked up and said to me, “Well, honey, I’m going to die someday, but it’s not today.” I think there is so much wisdom in the way he does life. I’m lucky to have him.

Faith is Opposite of Fear

It strikes me that faith is really the true opposite of fear. Like fear, it is intangible, a belief in things that you can’t touch or feel in reality. Unlike fear though, having faith in you, in others, or in a higher power, casts a situation in a more positive light and affects how you feel and behave in a much different and better way.

I have been thinking a lot about this lately. If you could, for just a minute, imagine how it might feel to lose the person you love the most. For me, my shoulders immediately sag, all the air goes out of my lungs, tears come to my eyes, and I think I can feel my heart stop. And yet nothing has happened. It was only a thought. JD is alive and well. This kind of fearful thinking creates all that physical and emotional reaction in a second. It stops all the good stuff. It is paralyzing and can keep life at bay.

Does the thought of a sales call that “might” have a bad outcome fill you with immediate symptoms of fear? Think about how that might impact your ability to do what you want to do to be successful.

Take a minute and rehearse in your mind what an awesome outcome would look like. You are walking into the decision maker’s office, your shoulders are back, your head is high, you have a ton of faith in what you are able to provide to this new prospect. Think you could get a better result? Of course, you could.

It matters what you think about and how you choose to live. For me, I pick faith. I’ve always thought I was a very positive person. In the last three years, I’ve learned that I have much more to learn about staying positive. Fear lurks around and can show up in the oddest places. I encourage you to have conversations and deal with people who are interested in talking about how good things can be. There is always a choice in how to think, act, and believe. Since fear is wrapped in all that is negative and faith gives us hope for all that is positive, the choice is easy for me.

I hope you’ll face this next week full of faith in yourself, your business, your family, and even a little faith in others who might be able to help you.

Much love,

Beth

Culture is Defined by Design or Default

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I just finished a terrific read by Dr. Marilee G. Adams. She’s authored a book titled, Change Your Questions, Change Your Life. There were many things that caught my attention as I listened to words penned by Dr. Adams.

The title of my article today makes me take particular note. I’ve always understood in a headway the culture at a center is there, whether it’s stated or not. Adams says it perfectly and in a way that gets it out of my head and hopefully into your heart. “Culture is defined by design or default.”

Culture is about what you believe in.

Culture is about what you believe in… at your core. We like to say it’s built from what you value. When we help companies in our business coaching program, the first thing we do is work on understanding what the core values of an organization really are. We don’t subscribe to the corporatese-jargony-mumble-jumble that mission statements can be made of, but rather the “real” stuff that drives you and your organization; the stuff that people remember and hold on to when they make decisions about what to do in the moment.

Add that to your purpose (your why of being) and you have your culture. You don’t have to try to do culture. It’s built in. It’s part of the fabric that makes you, your business, your job, your family, your relationships, the way they are.

Here’s an example. If, at your core, you have a value that says, “I don’t steal things,” then you never steal things. You don’t have to try not to steal. Maybe you call that honesty. I honestly think that honesty should be a RULE of the GAME. It is one of those values that may not need to be stated but assumed.

At TrainerTainment, we coach clients on a daily basis. Coaching is a lot like selling. Session by session, we are working on buy-in from the team. We are teaching “plays” that help leaders and salespeople win. We are providing practice and new strategies that strengthen the team.

Live by them day-to-day.

Here’s what I mean. We have designed or adopted selling and business systems we believe in. We believe so strongly in those systems because we live them on a day-to-day basis. We understand and see the successes internally with our own team and externally with the teams we serve. So, of course, when we are looking for people to work with, we primarily focus on clients that share our core values.

I’ve been in business for 12 years. Certainly, here were years, many years, that we had a “default culture.” It was not stated. I was not able to get it out of my head. As the business owner, my ego and pride make me feel like that “default culture” wasn’t so bad. However, in the spirit of vulnerability, I’ll tell you that having a culture that is truly designed, defined, stated, and the filter for everything from hiring and training to firing is a much better, more confident way to run the business. Oh, and it helps us experience a heck of a lot more success for us and those we serve.

Time Management Tips Part 2

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How did you do managing your time this past month? What methods did you use? I would love to hear from you, so please shoot me an email to tell me what you found. If you missed out on part one of our two-part time management series, you can find it here. Here comes the next step: practice.

Practicing is going to take you longer than just a month. I’m sure you are saying, “But it only takes 21 days for something to become a habit, right?” Wrong. I did a lot of reading on this and it takes more. Check out this article. It does take 21 days for the change to become easier, but it takes on average 66 days to become a habit. Our goal is to make it a habit!

Practice Makes Perfect

Once you have figured out the best method for managing your time, you have to practice it daily. You have to commit and train yourself to do it every day. One easy way to do this is to set a time each day to plan. It can be planning for the day or could be at the end of the day for next day planning. The technique you choose for time management will help you determine when to plan.

Since I use a bullet journal, my routine is that I sit down at my desk with a big cup of coffee and look at my list from the day before. I determine if there are items I did not complete and need to add to that day, move them to a later date, or just don’t need to do them at all and mark each one with a symbol. Then I start adding to my list based on the emails I received. That list is my guide to what I need to get done through the day and makes it easy for me to focus on those tasks. Some days this takes me only five minutes, but I usually schedule about 30 minutes for planning.

Elevate and Delegate

I’m a type-A personality. That means I love to be in charge and try to do everything myself. How many of you are the same way? If we want to do everything and if we want to be in control of our time, we need to look at what needs to be done and decide what we need to delegate and what we need to elevate.

Tasks that may not need your special skill set or require someone else’s abilities are the ones we want to delegate. Think of all the small things you’re doing in a day and how much time they take up. Delegate those tasks out. The to-dos you enjoy, are really good at and require a special skill set are the ones you want to elevate and do yourself.

Delineate the Time to Work on a Task

How many times do we sit down to start working and think to ourselves, “This project is going to take forever! I’m never going to finish!” We all go through that at some point it time. The key is to break it down into smaller sections and then determine how much time you are willing to work on it. It’s a lot easier to say, “For the next hour I’m going to work on this and then take a ten-minute break.”

Delineating that time helps you stay motivated and focused. The break afterward is really important so you can move on to the next task. Breaks allow time to step away, refresh your mind, and be ready for the next task. Some easy break ideas are to get some fresh air, meditate for a few minutes, or do some yoga stretches. You will be ready for the next task.

Learn to Say No

Saying no tends to be one of the hardest things for people to do. For the most part, we all want to work as a team and step in when others are not able to complete a task. Learning to say no is one of the most powerful things you can learn.

I hope these time management techniques and tips have identified some methods for managing your time better. Hopefully, they will come in handy as your summer business picks up and you find yourself on the floor more. I would love to hear your feedback and time management techniques. Comment below or send me an email to rosie@trainertainment.net.

 

Employee vs. Team Member

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I’ve always had an issue with the word “employee.” To me the word has a negative/hard tone to it. It reminds me of the old days of factory workers on an assembly line. In my head I picture the mean boss, yelling at his workers with no care or concern for them as people. They are a number and they work for him. This is my vision of the word employee. Maybe yours is different. I just ask that you take a moment to listen while I get on my soapbox.

Work for you or with you?

As a manager of a center, do you want people who work FOR you or people who work WITH you? The very definition of a team is a group of people working toward a common goal. In our centers, our goals may include providing exceptional guest service and achieving certain revenue levels. No one person can achieve those goals for your centers. It takes a group of people – it takes a team.

You hear about teams in sports. Do they call a group of baseball players employees? No, they are called a team, because each of the members fills an important position doing what they do best. The same is true in your centers. Some folks are fantastic party hosts and maybe not the best at being a lane attendant. A cook excels at her role and might not succeed as a cashier.

As a manager, you have the role of coach. You train your team, you have them practice, and then you assign them to the position that is best for the team/company. As a Manager/Coach, you motivate your team toward a successful shift, you cheer them when they do well, and you coach/counsel them when they need some extra practice or if they’ve had a bad day.

When the team “wins” by hitting their goals, you give them the credit they deserve! When they miss the mark, you look at ways you could have supported your team better.

Okay, I’m stepping off my soapbox and I hope I made you think about the people working with you in your centers. Now I ask you, how do you (or will you) refer to your team?