Before I give away the beginning, middle and ending to this story let me start off by saying the following story is true in nature and I hold myself accountable for the cause and effect. Hey, starting off in Retail at the age of 17 built a layer of plaque each and every month from the experiences I encountered. Good or bad they made me who I am today.
Many peers have asked me how I moved around Retail with ever increasing responsibilities. The answer was simple.
“Just do”, learn and absorb as much as you can during the journey.
In Retail you need to experience as much as you can and be able to show your physical and mental field scars to others with pride, and be able to share the stories and lessons learned with unbridled passion and contagious enthusiasm. These experiences should be a badge of honor, a sign that you have seen been and cleaned.
So here we are, please keep your hands and feet inside the rollercoaster during this trip. There will be some straighaways, loops and corkscrews but at the end of the trip, hopefully the lesson shared made an impact on your chosen career of Retail and I without hesitation would do it all again.
So buckle up, enjoy the ride, the veal and please don’t forget to tip you waiter at the end of it all.
Muppet RETAIL Show
It’s time to play the music
It’s time to light the lights
It’s time to meet the
Muppets TEAM on the Muppet RETAIL SHOW tonight
It’s time to put on make up
It’s time to dress up right
It’s time to raise the curtain on the
Muppet RETAIL SHOW tonight
Why do we always come here
I guess we’ll never know
It’s like a kind of torture
To have to watch the show
But now let’s get things started
Why don’t you get things started
It’s time to get things started
On the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, muppetational
This is what we call the
Muppet RETAIL Show
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Walt Disney Music Company, Universal Music Publishing Group
Let’s get this show on the road with a Top 5 list of physical and mental scars I have endured during the last 25 years in this phenomenal soap opera we like to call Retail. Yes, we have all endured hardships, breakdowns, cuts, scrapes, mental and physical bruises….
But this one knocked me off of my game and sent me a curve ball that has changed my life, my outlook and my penis length forever.
Top 5: Scars or Health Issues endured in order from oldest to newest | Reader Discretion is Advised.
1. Sliced open a Finger. With a blade opening a simple box. I kept working throughout the day asI found it cool how my tendon just kept popping out when I bent my finger. It took six stitches to close it up.
2. Getting the Flu. While opening up a store in another Province. My average temperature for that week was 102.4 and I worked through it. The only issue with this was I was when I was supposed to board a plane home but couldn’t move. Please follow my advice and never take Tylenol and Extra Strength Back Pain pills together. It will send you on an amazing trip but…. the passenger beside you will not enjoy you emptying the contents of your stomach all over them.
3. Fictional Heart Attack. This is what happens when you stress yourself for no reason. During my closing shift I felt pressure in my chest and dizziness, so what do I do? I sit back and grab a double whopper and hope that the fat from the burger will wash away the pain. Guess what, it didn’t. 20 minutes later I was being whisked off in an Ambulance to the nearest Emergency Ward. Be all that ends all, due to my self-induced stress for some reason the muscles in my chest were seizing, hardening or whatever you may call it. The cure, a very cute doctor giving me a needle the size of a spaghetti strand directly to my chest…A LA Pulp Fiction. Now that was a rush
4. Kidney Stones. Several. Now how does this tie into work a work injury, well keep this on a sticky note in front of you as this ties directly into descriptor #5.
1. Sliced open ANOTHER finger while changing a fluorescent bulb. It’s amazing how far blood can spurt when you are 15 feet in the air and how much Customers don’t appreciate it for one reason or another.
2. Being pulled over a counter by my tie due to the frustrations of a Customer. I ended up being bruised but laughed it off due to the fact….it was actually funny.
3. Panic attack that almost sent me to the Emergency Ward. I was in the back of a taxi going home from work, and for someone reason a thought crossed my mind that I lost all of the week’s deposits. All of a sudden my mind went into a tail spin, I became flush, I was sweating, a form of turrets appeared and just about as I was going to ask the Taxi driver to take me to the closest ER, my mind hit the “In case of Emergency Break Glass” button and everything reset itself.
4. Vertigo – No not the movie or the ride at your local Six Flags but the stress induced, vomit inducing, head spinning, hosptilization version that lasted 2 months.
5. Sciatica – Ouch and ouch and I thank my Wife (Michelle) and electro shock therapy for helping me out.
Had enough yet? Nope, neither did I or my body…
So here we are closing in on point number 5.
I need to make it very clear that what happened was not due to any Corporation I was working for but due to my own stupidity, ignorance, ego and not accepting that I am not invincible……. but more of a Moron.
Being a Multi-Unit Manager during the last 15 years allowed me many luxuries (so called);
1. Travel to foreign locations (or as some may call it small town Canada)
2. Meet and connect with many different people
3. An expense account whereas if I didn’t use it accordingly would be shrunk the following year
4. Enjoying the food and delicacies of the local market. Well delicacies, can be defined in many, many, many ways and all depends on the location you are visiting and how tired you are that day.
Definition of Location
Rural Town: Has a KFC, McDonald’s, Boston Pizza, Tim Hortons
Larger Town: Has a choice of higher end fare that is fresh, nutritious and is actually served to you by someone who has made a Career choice that they love.
For me a restaurant location never really mattered, my priority was finding out if the town had an all you can eat Sushi Restaurant. These are rare in smaller towns and not recommended if they do have one……but sometimes the risk is worth the reward or the weight loss.
My preference was to get in and get out as fast as possible (that’s what she said, c’mon you saw that coming…. that’s what she said) as I was exhausted from not only being a Coach but a Psychologist and Social Worker that day. So, when one is alone, I wanted fast take out that was close to my hotel so I can watch reruns of “Storage Wars” even though I have seen each episode more than once.
Once again, eating crap (a lot of crap since I considered it a benefit), not exercising, not using the available Hotel gym | pool facilities, and forgetting that my body needs to be hydrated was a personal choice.
The last point was the point of entry into the final spiral of where I am today.
Did I listen to what my body was saying, showing or feeling? Of course, not. The only emotions I paid attention to were, eating for pleasure, drinking for numbness, and wanting to kill myself out of the boredom of being in a hotel room 5 days a week with nothing more than my laptop, tablet to watch Mexican mustached women fighting each other in a squared circle, and the use of a sometimes-phenomenal Iron and Ironing board.
In fact, I would rate a Hotel solely based on the iron…. It needed to heat up fast, leave no burn marks, and not drip rusty water. Simple to ask, but for me this was a luxury.
Hydrating the iron was more important than hydrating myself. I never drank water for the sake of drinking water but I did drink about 2L of Coke a day…. shouldn’t that count for something? Drinking water was foreign to me until…. until….wait for it …my balls, testicles, Larry and Darryl were aching like someone was squeezing them like a pair of oranges and this was all happening while I was performing a Business Review with one of my Managers – Brian. What happened next, well…. like any good man would do, I screamed out for my wife to call for an ambulance and rolled up into the fetal position, meanwhile forgetting to hang up the phone as my Brian listened on. End all be all, this was the first of many Kidney Stone attacks to follow. This first attack was the hardest one because it was all new to me, the pain, the hospital, the sweating, the swearing and oy…. the Morphine!
As I am someone who loves testing the limits and thrives on confrontation, I tried to beat the effects of the Morphine by the usual joking and removal of my IV while it was still in my arm. Who knew that the removal of ones IV without a nurse would create Jason Voorhees like slaughter recreation in an Emergency Room.
Blood was there, blood was here, blood was everywhere even on the mirror. – Enjoy the veal.
So, how does the Kidney Stone attack tie into where I am today? Well after several more attacks and realizing that taking a low dose of Morphine with a shot of Vodka kept me out of the hospital ER, I did nothing to prevent these attacks from reoccurring.
To clarify this picture further, several items need to noted during and after the Kidney Stone journey.
1. I weighed 224 pounds.
2. Started drinking 2L of water a day. Doesn’t that help me? Yes, but it blinded me to other issues further on.
3. Lost 10 pounds.
4. Gained 7 pounds
5. Tore the meniscus on my left knee, 3 seconds into trying out a new pair of roller-blades.
6. 4 more kidney stone attacks.
7. A Friend of mine passed away from a diabetic coma – This still hurts.
8. A Friend of mine passed away from a diabetic coma – This still hurts.
9. A Friend of mine passed away from a diabetic coma – This still hurts.
Let me now direct your attention to June 2016 and I was now up to drinking 4L of water a day, trying to be conscientious of what I eat and adding lemons to everything I drink.
This is when the first sign of trouble identified itself.
Drumroll please for the promised #5 of Top 5: Scars or Health Issues endured in order from oldest to newest | Reader Discretion is Advised.
5. I was pissing every hour on the hour and being a mature middle aged man:
- I thought this was normal due to the amount of water I was drinking. What wasn’t normal is that I started peeing myself, yup a grown man peeing himself, at times it was a leak, other times it was a stream and for a real show it was full-fledged lawn sprinkler.
- This also taught me a new trick. How to pee in a bottle while driving and answering emails. I do want to apologize to the highways drivers behind me when I emptied out the bottle…. use your imagination.
So, what did I do? Nothing, why should I as this is completely normal for a 45-year-old male.
This went on for several more months and then the real scare showed its face.
6. I was losing around 2 pounds a week. Why was this an issue as I needed to lose weight?
My pants were just falling off even with a belt tightened to its last hole. It is a great party trick to be able to drop your pants without touching them, but while in public, carrying groceries or just waiting in line, but in a Western Society this is not considered an acceptable practice, or I guess in any society.
To summarize during the next 3 months:
1. I was peeing uncontrollably, here, there and everywhere.
2. Dropping my pants without trying.
3. And losing weight, faster than I can put it on.
After not being able to control my bladder for longer than ½ hour at a time and losing 17 pounds, I finalIy built up the courage to see my Doctor and was sent to get a blood test. Getting a blood test is the last thing in the world I want to get done as I am a natural fainter when I see my own blood. Well, guess what, I didn’t faint but there was an issue, an issue that would rock my world, my days, my habits and my undergarments.
It turned out that my blood test revealed I was born a Female.
Didn’t see that one coming, did you? Doobie, Doobie, Doo.
In reality and all seriousness, my Family Doctor looked at the results and advised me to go to the Emergency Ward, all within five minutes of sitting down in front of him. Why? My blood sugar was at 24 which was 4x higher than it should normally be. So what did I do next, I asked him if this could wait until tomorrow because I had a Conference Call that afternoon.
AM I NOT A FUCK FACE OR WHAT?
Let’s fast forward to 20 minutes later.
I am now in the Emergency Ward being, getting undressed, putting on a beautiful and stylish hospital gown, and being given an IV drip; lesson learned from three years ago, do not remove the IV at any cost.
Within the next hour or so.
I was given an insulin shot, medication and still answering emails. Fuck my life.
Ironically, the next 24 hours were some of most peaceful moments in recent memory.
- As I shut down my smartphone and had nothing else to do besides sleep (in between the screams of a “Special” patient).
- Did not have to go to the bathroom every ½ hour.
- Go Figure. Who knew? and Indeed! Said the wisemen.
What comes next is the kick in the balls I wasn’t expecting. I could handle the medication routine, I could handle the new diet, the daily finger pricking, but what came next was not expected; the blurred vision. Now this was NOT COOL!
Everyone at the Lakeshore General Hospital were fantastic as they answered all my questions, responded to my needs and even make the appropriate appointments with the Endroconologist and Ophthalmologist,
But no one told me about the upcoming blindness.
Within days my eyesight was getting worse and I was unable to make out anything but shapes, contours, and the beautiful blending of the Christmas lights; this alone was wmorth the price of admission and the mind trip.
The no TV, the no internet, and the no driving were blessings as they allowed me to catch up on music that I have lost touch with but there was still one more surprise I didn’t see this coming (HA!) my Ophthalmologist diagnosed me as being temporarily Legally Blind.
So, after this whole “spiel” and more than a month later where am I at and was there a lesson learned?
Well, let’s start with where I am at today:
1. I am still having trouble seeing. I have tried every type of reading glasses and I still cannot see properly; but I can light ANYTHING on fire if the sun is aligned correctly. Hopefully a light will be shed on this puzzle during my appointment in three weeks. Until then I am still unable to drive.
Within in the last 3 weeks:
- I have broken my nose by walking into a door.
- Found out that I was related to Harry Potter by walking into a shelf and getting a lightning bolt shaped scar.
- ….and I may have broken my toe…just not sure yet as I am waiting for the swelling to go down and a normal flesh color (which I cannot presently judge) to reappear.
2. I am on Short Term Disability due to not being able to perform my responsibilities according to my Job Description.
3. My weight has stabilized.
4. I am exercising more and walking 5km+ a day.
5. No more Alcohol.
6. Stressed beyond belief due the drop-in salary because of my Short-Term Disability. I wouldn’t be honest of I didn’t add this.
8. Eating healthier and in line with what is considered normal and healthy.
9. Said goodbye to all Sugary Drinks.
10. No more Apple Fritters. This was replaced by just apples between 2 slices of Banana Bread.
11. Eating more often. Actually, just eating 3 meals a day is new to me.
12. Fibre. Fibre. Fibre.
13. Frozen Fruits and Berries are my new best friend and now act as my main sweeteners.
14. Learned that I can identify ANY sweetener besides natural sugar and hate all of them.
15. NUTS! No not what my wife thinks I am, but these have become a staple of my morning, noon and night snacks. Cashew, Almonds and Walnuts; all unsalted of course.
So we are near the end of this exciting chapter of my life and I have yet to preach and teach a lesson learned from this once in a lifetime experience. Some may call me crazy or actual some have already called me crazy that I am looking at all of this with a positive frame of mind. What choice do I have, what else can I do? I love a challenge and this is one that will keep me on my toes for the rest of my life. So why not be positive and take this straight on.
Before I drive the final lap I need to say it loud, proud and without a shroud…..of a doubt, if all this didn’t happen, my ability to shred past poor behavior’s, reorientate stress, self-correct priorities and just not give a fuck about the menial, and trivial matters of our daily routine then who knows if I would be here in the next hour, day, week, month, year.
So on with the promised show. Drumroll please for the lessons learned and the main course we have all been waiting for.
Retail in any position can be a rewarding career but it can also be a damaging one as well.
The rewards for me are easy to identify and have created phenomenal highs.
- Financial: Great salaries, bonuses, paid vacations.
- Having a Support Team surrounding me.
- Developing my teams and becoming a Coach.
- Traveling to different cities, provinces, states, countries.
- Tasting and enjoying the local fare and customs.
- Social aspect of interacting and making new connections.
DAMAGING (It’s actually less than it looks, I promise.)
The damaging part is all about how I handled my role and my lack or inability to be in control what was in my control.
My perception of the reality of my position was the enabler to this rolling stone.
1. Everything was not a fire.
Things could wait. If it was urgent they could and should call.
2. Eating my stress away was in my control.
Yes, I did have an expense account in certain situations and therefore used it accordingly; but I should have realized that eating out every day was extremely damaging to my physical being but also to my mental being.
I had a choice but I chose wrong. McDonalds vs Fruit, Boston Pizza vs a Salad, Tim Hortons vs a Low Carb Low Sugar snack.
3. I avoided water as if it was a poison.
Water is the easiest of easy items to carry around with you or be reminded to drink on a scheduled basis. Believe me by being on a forced strict water drinking regimen my mind is clearer, my knee feels better and my scrotum wrinkles have ironed themselves out.
4. The stress I thought was stress was zapping away my energy, forcing me to eat emotionally, and slowly eroding my will to live, develop, and make myself a better person.
I now try to:
Avoid stressors by trying to understand the triggers that grow them into such.
When I start to feel the roots of an oncoming stressor:
- Don’t eat them away.
- Reflect on what triggered this.
- Deflect with a happy thought or remembering a time that brought a smile to my face.
So, this is the end of the beginning to my new start on life. I will continue to preach that Retail is the best career choice for anyone as it offers the chance of a lifetime to not only learn about your capabilities but the ability to connect with others in ways that you never would understand outside of this Retail World (it is actually a microcosm in itself).
Going forward, I will continue to write about the opportunities we all face dealing with the everyday nuances in this particular world. Topics will range from:
- The number #1 Customer : Our Teams.
- Dealing with “Special” Customers: Internal and External.
- Motivational Techniques that are outside the box that play within.
- Tips on how to take better care of ourselves to ensure we are looking out for everyone that affects our daily lives.
- How to have fun while avoiding the clichés.
That is all.
#Leadership #Engagement #Management #Manager #Coaching #Listening#Retail #Associates #Motivation #Employee #Stress #Anxiety #Example # Diabetes #Boundaries #Stupidity #Health