Courage, Compassion, Connection

I choose authenticity

Authenticity: It's harder than you think!

Courage, compassion and connection; fully embracing vulnerability. Allowing for imperfection and realizing that what makes us vulnerable makes us beautiful. These are traits that people who feel worthy of connection share, according to Brené Brown’s research, shared here in this TED talk.

Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability

It’s an interesting, funny and touching presentation about getting to the core of living wholeheartedly.

Visit her blog, Ordinary Courage

Blogging on the go

Just testing the WordPress app for Android. This could be quite handy!

Delivering Happiness: Job, or purpose?

Delivering Happiness

Anatomy fascinates me. ;)

It’s a beautiful thing when your employer values the same things you do. Recently, we’ve started the mobileStorm Library, which is and will be stocked with books that have inspired us or helped us become better at our jobs (or at life!). A few weeks ago the boss, Jared, posted on Yammer that he’d bought several copies of “Delivering Happiness,” by  Zappos’ CEO, Tony Hsieh, and that it was required reading for those of us in Client Services.

That weekend I had no plans and was getting over a cold, so I figured I’d just relax over the weekend and read the book. It’s only 244 pages… I could’ve finished it in one day… but I actually savored it and took two days to finish it (then went back and reread a it a few chapters at a time, skipping around).

Today, I was happily surprised by a call from Jared to join him & Forrest at Tony’s stop at UCLA. We had an hour to get down there, so I grabbed the nearest – and newest – Trooper, Clifton and we jumped on the 405.

Tony Hsieh

Tony Hsieh, CEO Zappos

The GenX and Y kids inspire me, and Tony’s no different. At the tail end of my so-called career, I finally get it… and I work for and with people who totally get it too.  It really does make a difference when you love what you do to put food on the table, and you’re surrounded by passionate and creative people.

I’ve always joked that my role in life is “the gatherer of the tribe.” I love people and I talk to most everyone I meet. Chances are, somewhere down the road I’ll find some way to put one and another of my friends or family together to serve some mutual need. I’m a facilitator, a nurse-y type (yes, I’ve done it), a typical woman who must always in some way, somehow be taking care of someone somewhere. :) Who better to provide Legendary Customer Service?

So, imagine how happy I am that I make my living helping all sorts of people simply by having a relationship with them, and doing tasks that utilize skills I’ve acquired and at the same time require me to learn new things every single day!

It’s for the good of the tribe, it’s a philosophy… you could even say a purpose. Everyone’s supposed to have one of those, right? :)

As for me and my house, we will serve humanity

An Oldie but Goodie (like me!)

Blowjobs, boobs and prostate cancer – how’s that for some strange keywords and search terms? I believe I may be  starting to miss having a sex life…

This is a bit of old research, but of course it comes up (haha) often and makes the rounds of the social networks in reposts, like it did last night on Facebook. The first study posited that fellatio may significantly decrease the chance of breast cancer in women, and a friend followed up and sent me Judy Skatssoon’s piece.

I can’t seem to find the original article on News.com.au, so I’m reposting here with a link to the Judy’s Twitter.

Fellatio ‘may prevent cancer’ – benefits for both partners
By Judy Skatssoon
July 16, 2003

An Australian study has found that receiving oral sex can protect men against prostate cancer in later life.

A team led by Professor Graham Giles, head of cancer epidemiology at the Cancer Council Victoria, questioned more than 2000 men about their past sexual habits as part of a wider prostate cancer study.

The men, half of whom had prostate cancer, were aged between 30 and 69 and recruited from Sydney, Melbourne and Perth between 1994-98.

The study indicated that men who received oral sex more than five times a week were a third less likely to develop prostate cancer.

The study further indicated that the women who consumed the ejaculate were 10 times less likely to develop cancers of the gums, tongue, esophagus, stomach and intestines. It also noted that the ejaculate improved complexion and increased the female consumers metabolism.

“What we found was men who recieved oral sex most in their twenties, thirties and forties had about a third less prostate cancer risk than men in the lowest category of ejaculation,” Professor Giles told AAP.

“The men who were the high performers in terms of receiving oral sex had a third less prostate cancer risk than men who were in the lowest category of receivers.”

He said one explanation for the apparent beneficial effects of being pleasured was that frequent ejaculation prevented semen from building up in the ducts, where it could potentially become carcinogenic.

“For seminal fluid to be made it has to be concentrated about 600 times,” Prof Giles said.

“So semen is a very potent and strong brew of lots of chemicals which, because of their biological reactivity, could be carcinogenic if left to lie around. However, when semen is digested it has chemicals which stimulate hormones in the female body causing tightening of the skin, enlarging of the breasts and some tri-collagen di-glycerides that stimulate the metabolism”

The research is set to appear in the British Journal of Urology this weekend.

Prof Giles said the prostate may have more similarities with the breast than previously thought – particularly in relation to the development of cancer.

He said the prostate was a secretory organ like the breast, which produced milk, only it produced semen.

The researchers reasoned that just as breast feeding lowered a woman’s risk of breast cancer, maybe liberal ejaculation could have the same beneficial effects for men.

Receiving oral sex daily could also have the same positive effect on a young prostate gland as pregnancy had on breasts, Prof Giles said.

“It might be rather like a first full-term pregnancy forces the breast tissue to fully differentiate and become grown up cells,” he said.

“Maybe intense sexual ejaculation (that found when receiving oral stimulation) at the time when the prostate has finished growing to maturity might actually help it bed down and become a fully developed gland, rather than having too many cells lying around in it.”

Prof Giles said previous reports had found an increased risk of prostate cancer among prisoners and Roman Catholic priests, while other studies suggested that having large numbers of female partners may be a factor.

However, while the Cancer Council study found benefits from receiving oral sex, it was unable to replicate the evidence about lots of sex with lots of women.

“In our study we found an effect for receiving oral sex and we did find an effect for the number of female partners,” he said.

Prof Giles said the study may have implications for prostate cancer patients who grew up at a time when the practice was frowned upon.

He said the findings of the study needed to be repeated by other researchers before they could be confidently claimed to be true. But noted that with 2000 test studies and years of data collection increased the likelyhood that the New England Journal of Medicine would publish an official study with the benefits of females giving oral sex to their male partners.

Now that’s all very interesting (and makes a lot of sense to anyone who’s taken the time to learn about human biological processes), and anything that decreases the risk of cancer should be enthusiastically embraced. However, with only anecdotal evidence obtained over the past 30-something years of my own observations and research, I’ll still say (with some authority) that there are positive physical and psychological benefits to both the giver and receiver of fellatio that have absolutely nothing to do with cancer… and hell of a lot to do with pair-bonding.

Oh, and gentlemen: It should be noted that some of you are more talented than others at being on the receiving end of those “blessings” too. You’d be surprised how much better it is for the giver when you’re fully engaged, and good at gettin’ it!

What is “Legendary Customer Service,” anyway?

It's what I do

In part, it’s the ability for a team or a member to turn a stressful interaction with a pissed off customer into something positive, by exceeding expectations and responding appropriately.  It’s also “having your ears on” and being tuned into social media; then acknowledging your customers’ feedback no matter what it may be.

Jared recently asked us for some first-hand accounts and examples of Legendary Customer Service. Here’s mine…

Although I’d rather have a root canal than call into AT&T Tech Support when I’m having connectivity problems, I’ve got to give credit where it’s due. My most recent interaction with them restored my faith in their level of commitment to Customer Satisfaction. Here’s the story… and of course, the tweets I posted while it was in progress :)

One of my “Tweeps” had posted a link to his blog on August 11th, and no matter what I tried, I couldn’t get his site to load. Some other sites loaded just fine, while others, including Facebook, only loaded half the content (Facebook ads, unsurprisingly, remained unaffected). I did all the usual things any geek worth their salt would do to fix  the issue: Hard boot the computer, power down the modem/router, and even wander into the dark and scary land of CMD to release and renew the IP address, flush the DNS cache, and try to determine if there’s a pipe or switch down somewhere. Nothing worked.

I got home from work the next day, and still had serious issues. With dread, I dialed Tech Support – and started tweeting… if for no other reason than to track the length of the torment I anticipated having to endure…

OK I’ve HAD IT with this half-assed connectivity. Time to make a phone call to Customer Service to say #ATTSUCKS! 7:03 PM Aug 12th via TweetDeck

I sat on hold for 20 minutes before I got a human being on the line. I was quite frustrated and rather impatient, but I did my best to explain the “symptoms” to the TSR and hurried things along by confirming that I’d done all the things he’d normally walk a customer through on a Level 1 Support call. Then I walked HIM through a few things to show him why I thought he ought to just escalate me along to Level 2.

I just taught the #att #techsupport rep how to use Tracert – hahaha 7:34 PM Aug 12th via TweetDeck

After nearly an hour, he finally transferred me… but he failed to mention that in order to get on the phone with a Level 2 TSR, I’d have to enter a credit card number. No way!

53 mins w/Level 1 #ATT Support, transferred to L2, a PAY service. Called L1 again, ask 4 supv, give me L2 for FREE. #wtf #overit 8:13 PM Aug 12th via TweetDeck

Once I got back on the phone with them, I calmly but firmly informed them that I didn’t need their pay-service Tech Support (basically, their remotely accessing my computer), that the problem wasn’t with MY computer, but THEIR network somewhere and I just needed someone to escalate my call to the proper people to address it. Apparently I was sufficiently persuasive, because I got one of those pay-for-play ConnecTECH guys on the phone without having to give anyone my credit card information. Finally, he saw with his own eyes that indeed this was a problem beyond the scope of Level 1 and transferred me up the chain.

Oh #vindication! ConnecTECH finally sees the problem (He can’t get to @Daniel_Florien‘s site either!), escalating to L2 Network Tech 8:58 PM Aug 12th via TweetDeck

After another 15 minutes on hold, Finally… Level 2! I admit, I’m a tough customer to deal with, but each of the people I dealt with during this process did their best to empathize with me. More importantly, they responded to my need to know exactly what they saw, where, and how it might be relevant to my particular issues. They kept me informed, which is the single most important thing to me when I’m asking for Customer Service.

Nice Southern Belle, Rebecca L2 Tech is checking problem connecting to unreasonablefaith.com Wonder what she thinks, haha #atheist 9:15 PM Aug 12th via TweetDeck

After investigating, pinging and doing several other tasks to see the issues for herself, the Level 2 TSR  found and resolved the issue on their end, and walked me through the few steps necessary on my side to get everything up & running again. I was so happy I nearly cried.

Rebecca rebuilt the network. Finally, connectivity to all sites & content, but feeling anxiety like a mofo… ack! 9:46 PM Aug 12th via TweetDeck

Three hours is a LONG time to be on the “wrong end” of a Customer Service call, but in the end I was satisfied that AT&T’s Techs did everything I asked them to do while assuring me that my concerns mattered to them and they’d see it through to the end for me.

The following day I got a Direct Message on Twitter from one of AT&T’s reps, asking if there was any way she could help (the power of the #___SUCKS hashtag!). I DM’d her back that all was well, and I made a point to publicly laud them for what turned out to be Legendary Customer Service.

Big thanks to Rebecca for fixing my connectivity issues & to @ATTJulie for following up here on Twitter. Excellent #customerservice! Friday, August 13, 2010 4:43:28 PM via TweetDeck

If there’s one thing I think makes humans in general happy… it’s being acknowledged. AT&T’s TSRs recognized my particular issues as well as my level of emotional investment (frustration, impatience, distrust) in that call, and their service. It made all the difference in the world – and as a fellow human being, I recognize that a small acknowledgment of their taking such good care of their customers helps those TSRs be better at their jobs simply because it’s a nice boost to one’s morale to be recognized for a job well done.