Dear Friend of
We are pleased to release The Fred Factor eCoach - 20 dynamic lessons on becoming a Fred presented in a dynamic, online learning environment. We want to take this opportunity to tell our subscribers more about this exciting new resource and offer you an opportunity to learn more about it by watching a short overview narrated by me.
This month's feature article is titled, Tis the Season to Quit being Cynical. In it I take to task the mean-spirited critics who aren’t content to disagree with the message of the Fred Factor but who feel the need to demean those with a positive point of view. At the same time, I offer encouragement to those of you who have the courage, compassion and conviction to put a bit of Fred in all you do.
The Fred Factor launches its online program: The Fred Factor e-Coach!
The Fred Factor e-Coach consists of 20 lessons that guide a participant through The Fred Philosophy of turning the ordinary into the extraordinary by using the latest interactive, web-based technologies. The program covers such topics as: providing more value at work, recognizing strengths in others, goal setting, team building and much more. In each lesson, a participant is given a detailed action plan to perform each week that helps them achieve breakthroughs while participating in the program.
Each lesson includes:
- An overview of the main principle in that lesson
- Guidelines for implementing The Fred Philosophy
- A step-by-step action plan that makes it easy to internalize and integrate each important principle into your life
- A list of one-click links to some very important websites and online articles hand-selected to help you with further skill building
- Examples and success stories from others who have already benefited from the training
- Practical exercises for you to do which help make these new principles and habits become automatic and second nature to you
- Special video clips of Mark Sanborn giving tips and pointers
- A message board to communicate and share ideas with other Fred Factor enthusiasts
- A progress check to report results from the previous week’s objectives
“What an inspirational, professional and fun site! It reinforced key principles and concepts from the Fred Factor book in an easy, interactive way. It’s an EXCELLENT tool with unlimited potential! Laura Schanz, e-Coach Participant
The cost of the program is just $195.00 for a year’s subscription and comes with a money back guarantee if not completely satisfied with the program. To learn more about the Fred Factor e-coach, go to http://fredfactor.assetlearning.com/OverView.aspx.
Best always and Happy Holidays,
Tis the Season to Quit being Cynical
I'm probably preaching—or more accurately writing—to the converted. But my guess is that you might work with someone or know someone who thinks being a “Fred” is a corporate plot to extract more work for no more money, that there’s no reason to be a “Fred” or that the whole concept is dorky.
I’m no stranger to criticism or critics. When you speak and write books, some people like your work and others don’t. I don’t agree with everyone so I don’t expect everyone to agree with me.
What is a bit of a crazy-maker are the mean-spirited critics who aren’t content to disagree but who feel the need to demean those with a positive point of view. I had one Amazon reviewer suggest I’d written another book because I needed more money, and another suggest that using the principles of The Fred Factor at work would make people think a manager was an “uber-dork.” Speaking and writing is my profession (does the previously mentioned critic not go to work every day because he needs more money?), but fortunately, both are my passion. The message is more important than the messenger, and if I can provide good ideas and encourage listeners and readers, I count that a blessing, whether or not I get paid for it. And if encouraging excellence in your work and making a difference would make one an uber-dork, sign me up. That particular critic might disagree with slogans, pins and tee-shirts, but don’t throw the message out with the medium.
Someone once said that a cynic is a passionate person who doesn’t want to be disappointed again. I hope that is true, that underneath the skin of a cynic is a person who wants to believe in the good, right and praiseworthy things in life. Skepticism is fine by me because is says “Explain it to me. Show me some proof, some examples.” The skeptic doesn’t want to buy into anything without good cause, and that makes sense.
The cynic isn’t open to being shown. Rather than being willing to consider, they stay on the offensive and attack what threatens his or her opinions or beliefs. And they deflect genuine dialogue with sarcasm and glib statements that make them sometimes seem clever but mostly flip.
“The Fred Factor” is a concept, a label, a phrase. It uses fun language (and if someone is opposed to a little levity, God help them) to express a serious point: nobody can prevent you from choosing to be extraordinary. You and I aren’t always encouraged, recognized or rewarded for our efforts, but that isn’t an excuse for not trying. Great sculptors in the Renaissance often spent hours on details that would never be seen by the viewing public. Why? Because the artist saw and believed that God would see, too. Those artists had a commitment to art and excellence that was as personal as it was public.
The Fred Factor is also about looking beyond one’s self as the measure of all things. Self-absorption can become pathological, and those who subscribe to the concept of The Fred Factor see themselves as being part of a large world where the feelings and well-being of others are important as well.
So why be a Fred? There are several reasons, and the first, in my mind, is because it is a better way to live. Philosophers have spent hundreds of years grappling with the question, “What is the good life and how do we live it?” Maslow believed that there might well be something higher on the hierarchy of needs than self-actualization, and that was self-transcendence. I have come to believe that we become self-actualized through self-transcendence, a paradox I’m not going to delve into here. Doing all you can to build meaningful relationships, make a positive difference and add value to your work and those around you—those are components, I believe, of the good life.
Another great reason to be a Fred goes back to a quote from Helen Keller I use frequently: Is life not a thousand times too short to bore ourselves? Living life like the real guy, Fred Shea, makes for an infinitely richer, more interesting and fulfilling lifestyle than going with the flow of mediocrity. There are personal benefits one enjoys from
practicing the principles of The Fred Factor.
I doubt if I’ve converted the true cynics, as I doubt there are many cynics reading this ezine. So what have I gained? Maybe you find yourself doubting from time to time, as I do, about whether your efforts are worth it. Is there really good reason to keep trying to make the ordinary extraordinary? Are the cynics possibly right? Why does it seem my best efforts and intentions are often met with resistance and criticism?
The Holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate the best and highest ideals of life and people of diverse faiths and beliefs pause for a time to celebrate the goodness to be found in the midst of adversity, struggle and even tragedy. My hope is that in the short time it took you to read this article, you’ve been validated and affirmed. I hope that you know that your efforts are appreciated, even if that appreciation isn’t always adequately expressed. I hope you know that the cynicism of another should never prevent your own optimism, and that the highest reward of doing good work and good works is always found in the doing itself. And I hope that you know that the resistance and struggle makes us stronger, and makes the accomplishment of the extraordinary even sweeter.
Just remember, not only is it the season to stop being cynical, it is, more importantly, the season to be hopeful and to be of larger service to others.
© 2006. Mark Sanborn. All rights reserved. Please contact us if you'd like to reprint this article.
Fred @ Work
Nominate a Fred
Help us acknowledge the Freds that we all encounter on a daily basis whether through work or in our lives outside of work. Please use the nomination form found here to tell us your Fred's story. And please, tell a story not just, "I nominate Joe because he's a great guy," but tell us what actions of Joe's make him a Fred. This kind of information will help us all become more Fred-like by providing us specific ideas and actions that we can model in our own lives. It's a Fred-like activity in and of itself!
Editor's Note: We are excited to offer two great examples of Freds in action in this month's issue. The first describes how a McDonald's Fred made a morning commuter's day. Our second story deals with the ripple effect one Fred can have in creating more Freds while introducing the concept of 'Freding a place' into the lexicon.
My Fred Story
A while back I stopped at McDonald's for breakfast on my way to work.
Usually the help at the drive thru are not very cheery at 6AM, sometimes
they verge on being downright surly. This particular morning the voice
coming over the intercom was not only understandable, but decidedly
chipper. She wished me a good morning and a welcome to McDonald's with a
what can we do for you today thrown in for good measure. I was so taken
aback that I almost forgot what I wanted to order. Never had anyone
spoken like that at any drive thru that I had frequented. I placed my
order and the cheery voice repeated it, told me the total price and
thanked me for visiting. She then instructed me to be careful when I
drove up to the window because they had recently replaced the serving
window and it stuck out a little farther then the old one. She didn't
want me to scratch the side view mirror on my car.
I drove to the window and was greeted by the person that went with the
voice. She had a big smile on her face, again wished me a good morning,
repeated my order told me the price and thanked me when I handed over my
money. She actually counted the change back to me. Since there was
already a car at the pick up window, she said that she would get my
order for me so that I wouldn't be unduly delayed. In a matter of
seconds she had handed me my order (and it was even right!) asked me if
there was anything else she could do for me and thanked me for visiting
McDonald's. I was so impressed that I told her she should be the star of
a training video because she was a shining example of how a simple trip
thru the drive thru could be on par with sitting down at a fancy
restaurant. She just smiled and reminded me to drive carefully on my
way to work, then proceeded to speak into her headset and take the next
order - in the same cheery manner that she had taken mine. She even
managed to wave at me as I drove off.
My entire day was better just because I placed an order with a Fred at
the McDonald's drive thru! I have no idea what her name was and when I
went back to the same McDonald's at the same time a few weeks later, she
wasn't there. I hope she has moved on to bigger things and continues to
be a Fred.
Tracy L. Allard
BCBS of Texas - Houston
'Fred' that Place
I want to nominate Jay Paul because he is the definition of a "Fred." The reasons are endless however I will do my best to explain the top reasons. The other night we were shopping late at a store and there was a greeter by the door. The greeter was friendly but you could tell he was tried of people just walking by him. Jay walked up to him and started a conversation with him. Within a few minutes both were laughing and the guy looked like a whole new person!!
Jay is supposed to be done with work around 6pm however there are many nights that he is there late because "this customer can't call in till later 'cause he is helping his customers" or "this guy can't call in until after 6:30 so I want to wait to be sure he can get some help when he calls in." There are also many times things have been sent out from the company and something was incorrect. Jay figures out what is wrong and drives to the customer's business to replace the item and to help get things going again.
Jay gave me a copy of The Fred Factor raving about it was an easy read and so valuable. Upon reading it I really realized that Jay makes a choice every day to be a Fred. Jay is the type of guy who will smile at everyone who walks by him, he strives hard to point out the good in every person and he works to always make others lives better.
The job I had when I read the book was challenging, so Jay said to me, "Lauralee, ‘Fred’ that place--find a way to make people's lives better!" He was so encouraging and after frustrating nights he would sit with me and he would help me find ways I could make things better for the patients.
After our discussion I went to work and decided no matter what, that day I was making changes. I wrote notes to co-workers thanking them for training me. Several of their jaws dropped when I gave them the notes. I ran into the wife of a man recently admitted. She was obviously frazzled trying to find a soda machine to get him something to drink. I walked her down to the machine, then got her ice and walked to the ER to see the man. I asked him how he was doing. He had one request: pancakes and chokecherry jelly. I thought of Jay and The Fred Factor and I did everything I could and he got his pancakes.
I guess basically I am trying to say Jay is my and so many other's Fred. His friends and family rave about the kind things he does from driving across country to visit his friend who is in the military to helping friends move and so much more. Jay is the type of guy who wakes up every morning wondering what he can do to make the lives of others greater. In my opinion this is what a Fred does.
Here's an idea to recognize your Freds; purchase our Fred Factor certificates or, if you don't mind doing the printing yourself, download our fr*ee version online. It can be filled out and printed from within Adobe Acrobat or the Acrobat Reader.