Stuck in Paradise

I’ve felt stuck for almost two weeks now. In the 20 months since I’ve retired I have published a book. I’ve downsized and moved twice. And I’ve taken two month-long trips. Busy, busy, busy. Right now I need to be here in Austin, TX to help my son for a while, and this feeling has set in. It’s been a personality challenge my whole life: if I am not going somewhere, or doing something, (or making plans to go somewhere and do something) I feel stuck.

Another downside of that trait, is that when I don’t stay busy, I tend to stall out and have a hard time getting motivated again. Does this ever happen to you?

I was discussing this with my sweetie the other day, and he was flabbergasted. “How can you feel stuck? You have your writing. You’re busy with your son. You have a couple of projects you wanted to do. And, look around, it’s like a resort here… it’s got a nice walking path, there’s great roads to ride the bikes on, a gym, a beautiful pool, a hot tub, horse-shoes, and even a putting green.”

“But yet, I feel stuck, even in the middle Paradise. I realize this is a very nice problem to have in light of all the terrible things going on in the world at the moment.
“Don’t discount or dismiss your problems,” my therapist always told me, so I will follow her advice, stay with my feelings, and find a way to get through this.


Here are some steps I know I can take to get UNSTUCK whenever I find myself feeling stymied:

DEFINE THE PROBLEM: get a timer and some paper. Across the top write “Problem.” Set a timer for 15, 20, or 30 minutes and just start writing everything that comes to mind about this problem, allowing anything that comes up. It often isn’t what I thought it was, after all.

DEVELOP A PLAN: Next, write “Actions” across the paper. 15, 20, or 30 minutes again, and I brainstorm all of the actions I can take. Let your imagination run wild. You never know what will appear when you are distracted by your ‘race against the clock.’

DO SOMETHING: Review this list for an actionable first step. If none jumps out, go for a walk. Movement usually begets movement. When I come back to the page, I pick a couple of ideas and put them in an order I am willing to do them. Putting a date next to them so I have either a deadline, or a timeline, works to keep me in motion.

Trust that this will benefit our growth… even if you don’t see how yet, and be grateful for the good that will surely follow. All because you took that first step!

XO Donna

The Inconvenient Truth

To keep things rolling along I make the rounds of all of my doctors  a couple of times a year, and I am always thrilled to do so. Their offices are very comfortable, their staff is friendly and happy, they run on time, and my doctors and nurses are present when we are together (I’m talking about large clinics here, not small offices).  They also follow up with a survey to see how my experience was and if any improvement is needed. Big love.

Cattle-herdImagine my shock when I accompanied my darling to an eye surgery appointment and watched the staff greet clients by taking their paperwork and telling them simply, “Thanks. Sit down, we’ll call you.” There were too many people, barely enough skinny chairs, and only a few old magazines. We had been told to arrive by 7:45 am. At 8:45, when we asked how much longer we had to wait, we were told not much longer. What’s the point of appointments? The whole time I had images of cattle crammed into metal cars. I didn’t like feeling this way.

At our follow-up the next day in the office next door, it was the same poor service, same skinny chairs (just fewer of them) and too many people again. The staff treated their patients as if they were a total inconvenience. When I asked the receptionist if they had Wi-Fi she sneered at me, “No. We don’t.”  I saw no point in asking why. Again we waited 45 minutes past our “appointment time.” Nobody ever apologized for inconveniencing us…

My point? During our recent move we have run into so much poor customer service – wait, make that abysmal customer service – that it’s mind-boggling. The eye surgery center was just the icing on the cake!

It seems that providers think they are doing us a favor. We reached agreements only to have them not honored, broken entirely, or billed wrong, necessitating hours on the phone to get things straight. I’ve noticed that in all of the encounters where the service was wretched, none of them ever did a follow-up survey.

Blue RibbonSo, for the sake of everything that’s decent in society – if you run a service-oriented business, set yourself apart.

  • Make sure your receptionists are well-trained (and well-paid) so your clients will always feel like valued guests.
  • Run on time. Be honest about your schedule and how long things take.
  • Give a damn about your clients. Respect the fact that they chose to come to you, then earn their respect.
  • Create a comfortable environment for your guests. Yes, they are guests.
  • Strive to be part of the solution…because if you aren’t, then you are part of the problem.


Are you feeling the same way? Do you know about “Yelp!”?
XO Donna