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Tips Thoughts and Easy Talk

Poor Customer Service Prevents Repeat Business

Tiffany Sanders - Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Picture this, Friday night fun that includes great friends, tasty food and libations to enjoy watching The Bulls vs. The Cavs in game 3 of the NBA playoffs. Watching Derrick Rose game winning buzzer was exhilarating and mind blowing. His display of athleticism in the last 3 seconds of regulation puts an exclamation mark on the old slogan NBA Action is Fantastic!

A perfect way to end a long work week of teaching at a University, over the road hauling loads, and running a business! Not so fast.

After lingering for a while to enjoying each other’s company and to revel in the moment, we closed our tab with the bartender. While leaving the bar area, another server yelled across the restaurant, “Hey! Are you guys gonna pay your bill!” The accusatory tone, exaggerated hand gestures and elevated voice were startling and made the hairs on my neck standup.

Why would the bartender, not familiar with our transaction, use this method to gain our attention if she thought we accidentally forgot to pay our bill? Why weren’t we given the benefit of the doubt? Aren’t customers always right?

After showing proof that the bill was paid, the flustered bartender insisted that the system didn’t show payment and required me to sign another receipt for their records. Is this the policy of a restaurant that wants repeat business? Shouldn’t the policy have been to talk with the serving bartender to verify payment before accusing customers of stealing?

She excused her actions by stating it was “ROWDY” in the bar area so she was unable to determine whether my friends and I paid the bill. I didn’t know my friends and I were secretly being watched to determine if we paid our bill.

The experience my friends and I had at the popular Outback Steakhouse restaurant was an unusual and memorable one. Encounters such as this one can easily be misconstrued, but one thing for certain, it illustrated how poor customer service can leave an aftertaste that will cause anyone to avoid patronizing at an establishment for years to come.


McKinney Teens The Best Place to live for whom

Tiffany Sanders - Wednesday, July 08, 2015

The incident in McKinney, TX where the police manhandled a 14-year-old girl and drew his weapon on unarmed black teens is very disturbing. What’s ironic is that McKinney was voted last year as the best place to live. But for whom? Middle class whites that are oblivious to there white privilege and who don’t have to worry about the police drawing their weapons on their children. Or for blacks who appear to be treated like second-class citizens because of the color of the skin.

Police officers are professionals who are there to serve and protect, and not to escalate tenuous situations with erratic behavior. Clearly this cop, Eric Casebolt, was out of control, running off emotions, throwing children to the ground while cursing at the remaining telling them to go home. He doesn’t deserve to be police officer

Mr. Casebolt blamed his behavior on two suicide calls that he responded to earlier that day. Understand this, if you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen! Many of us have high-pressure positions but we cannot use that as a lame excuse for manhandling and drawing guns on teens. We must use appropriate coping skills to stay calm or excuse ourselves from doing said work, if we feel we cannot manage ourselves or our emotions enough to be level headed and rationale in a time of need.

I was pleased, yet terribly disappointed to hear that the officer resigned from the force with a “heavy heart.” What about the racing, scared, panic stricken teens’ hearts – were you considering that when you did your barrel role?  

Mr. Casebolt you owe these teens and their parents a sincere apology. As I stated you don’t deserve to be an officer for the McKinney force, but somewhere in the future, you will likely get another police position in the best place to live, small town America and resurrect your fledging career. This infamous act will be forgotten, and your pension will be intact. Lucky you.


Rachel Dolezal and Understanding Racial Identity

Tiffany Sanders - Wednesday, July 08, 2015

The Rachel Dolezal story is mind-blowing, confusing and electrifying. Never in a million years would I think a white woman would fully embrace the burdens, challenges and difficulties of being a black woman. Yet, Rachel Dolezal, a blonde hair blue eyed woman for 25 years, donned on some beautiful natural hair wigs, wore braids, tanned her skin, and created an elaborate rouse that included borrowing a black father and son to convince the world the she indeed was a black woman.  She embraced the black experience so much that she taught a wide variety Africana studies classes, became a leader of the local NAACP chapter and served as chair the police oversight committee.

But why? What on earth would make a woman lie to so many people knowing that one person could out her in a moment’s notice? Couldn’t she have been an ally for the black community without fabricating untrue stories? Is she mentally unstable, searching for attention? Or is she just a misguided woman with altruistic intentions but the execution commensurate of a buffoon? Even more puzzling is why would her parents throw her under the bus in such a vocal manner?

People have the right to be up in arms about this story. Rachel Dolezal lied for 10 years duping people to believe that she was in fact a black woman. But that’s not the main reason parts of Black America are upset with her. People are upset that she CHOSE to live as black woman, and she can CHOOSE to live as a white woman with all rights and privileges restored while everyday black folks can’t shed their blackness in favor of being white for a day.

Yes, Rachel Dolezal’s integrity is shot to hell, but that doesn’t mean that her intentions weren’t altruistic. Shaming and ridiculing Rachel Dolezal isn’t the answer. Instead let’s take time to understand her motives, get her counseling, and teach her how to embrace and identify with black culture and defend its plight and honor without misappropriation and denying herself of her true heritage. Let’s also use this opportunity to shine light on and create future dialogue about the issues blacks face in an alleged post-racial society versus ridiculing Rachel for pretending to be someone whom she’s not.


Keys to Success

Tiffany Sanders - Tuesday, July 07, 2015
The definition of success varies for many people. One thing for certain, almost everyone wants to achieve some level of success in his or her life, business, marriage and finances. However, for many, success is an elusive goal to achieve because there’s no hard and fast rulebook to follow. Often we don’t know where to start, apply the incorrect steps, and give up because we don’t see the results as quickly as we’d like – failing to understand that success takes time. It’s also difficult to achieve because those who have made it, sometimes fail to share their success strategies, in fear of others achieving the same level of success or greater. That’s ridiculous.

In many communities, it’s customary to pull everyone up so the community as a whole can thrive. Unfortunately, too often, we ignore the pleas of young people and potential entrepreneurs asking for advice on how to achieve some measurable success. As a result, our community flounders and fails to get to the next level because the keys to success are never shared. Why? Why do we keep everything so tight to our chess and fail to share morsels of nuggets to ensure we all have a seat at the table or a piece of the pie.

Here are a few keys to success that I feel we need to share.

Young people – work and study hard. Always remember you are not only competing with other young people from Lake Forest, Winnetka and Naperville, but you are competing with young people from around the country and world. Work twice as hard as others to place yourself in the best competitive advantage. Life won’t be easy, but you will appreciate the struggle in the end.

Entrepreneurs – get a business coach to guide you through the various stages of owning a business and overcoming obstacles. Read as many books as you can about business, take business and sales classes to expand your knowledge and remember visibility and integrity are important for a lasting company. 

Those are a few of my keys to success. What keys to success will you share with the people in your life and community?

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday America

Tiffany Sanders - Monday, July 06, 2015

With our nation’s birthday last weekend, there are bound to be endless house parties, celebrations, fireworks and parades to celebrate the 4th of July. Yes, we should celebrate our independence from Britain, but in 240 years since our liberation, America is still dealing with atrocities of slavery, segregation, institutional racism and oppression.

On a National level, the recent attack on Mother Emmanuel in Charleston, shooting death of Tamir Rice, McKinney Pool party fiasco and Freddy Gray’s death just to name a few, spotlight that America has a long way to go with its race relations.

President Obama took a lot of heat when he used the N-word in discussion about racism isn’t as overt as it was in the past. I beg to differ; it’s overt and covert. Matter of fact, just the other day as I was taking a walk, an old white man was jaywalking in the street and had the nerve to get mad at a car driven by a black man that abruptly stopped to avoid hitting him. His response was to the man wasn’t thank you, but to drop the F-bomb and call the other driver a Nigger. 

Racism in America is systemic and systematic. As blacks we need to work collectively to come up with a solid plan to ensure our agenda matters. Too often those things that don’t matter, but are good fodder for water cooler discussion such as Rachel Dolezal identity crisis are distracting us.

We must define our interests, develop and cultivate our next group of leaders and activists such as the young lady Bree Newsome who scaled a pole to yank down the confederate flag. We need to leverage our buying power so that banks and businesses do business with us on our terms versus the predatory lending and practices that we’ve become accustomed to. Lastly, we must be willing to set aside our personal agendas to advance the interests of us all.  Other groups have done it and now it’s our turn.

Dilapidation of the West Side

Tiffany Sanders - Monday, July 06, 2015
Last week I had a meeting in Oak Park so I cut through the West Side of Chicago to get there because the Eisenhower Express was a nightmare of gridlock. As I drove through the heart of the West Side, I cringed at its visible neglect, dilapidation and third world imagery. There were so many abandoned houses, unkempt grass, and potholed ridden roads, and zero evidence of viable business outside of the candy lady setting up shop in front of her home. Even worst, attached to those boarded up homes were signs that said Vote for Willie Wilson or Vote for Rahm Emmanuel, but in all honesty, what did that vote get us, the black community.

In comparison, I was in Hyde Park last week, home of the President of the United States, and I dined in a trendy restaurant and enjoyed the sights and sound of people socializing on a warm Spring evening. I even saw approximately 10 cops patrolling the streets on bikes alone! You wouldn’t of thought just miles away on the other side of town this sight was unseen. Yet on the West Side, there was no visible police presence, trendy restaurants, bars or boutiques to patronize, and the parks looked like a wasteland. 

I’m repeatedly disappointed at the repeated denial of economic and social vitalization needed on and in the West and South Sides of Chicago. Yes, the runoff election occurred in April, but Rahm Emmanuel has been in office for 4 years and our predominantly black neighborhoods are without police presence, great schools comparable to those on the North side, and staples in the community such as a University of Chicago or Presidential Library. Why? Don’t we deserve more!

Are we going to just settle for politics as usual, while revitalization and commercialization occur in other communities? Or are we going to request that all parts of the city are revitalized, and not just those prone to tourists. No community should wake up everyday only to live in squalor, with beat up roads, and a missing business community. No community should be left behind.

Does Absence Make the Heart Grow Fonder?

Tiffany Sanders - Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Yes, absence can help you recognize the value of your loved one whom you could’ve taken for granted or forgotten the spark that drew you together. Absence can also contribute to more meaningful interactions because the time spent together may be viewed as coveted and intense. Thus couples make the most of the time. They share and connect more reinforcing the love between the too. However, absence can also help you disconnect from your loved one and realize the relationship wasn’t really that great.

Are You Ready for Change?

Tiffany Sanders - Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Change is inevitable. Change is constant. As a psychologist I regularly push business owners who are stuck growing their companies or individuals that are struggling with drug and alcohol use, abusive and toxic relationships, loveless marriages, stuck in a rut careers, and going nowhere in their lives to abandon those irrational, egotistical, selfish and paralyzing thoughts and worries to give themselves a fighting chance to reach the goals they want and to enjoy life to the fullest.

Those who refuse to do the work that therapy or coaching require are asked to go home and not return until they decide they are “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Please come see me when finally, “enough is enough.”

Change occurs over 5 stages. It is not an overnight process. Many clients, however, demonstrate they have no intention to change their behavior. They are in denial. Outlining and illustrating the effects their lack of change has on loved ones, their company, goals, and dreams sometimes produces mixed results. What does it take for a person to really piss or get off the pot?

Those who are prepared and determined to change have made a non-negotiable decision to move forward. They understand their shortcomings that contribute to the mayhem in their life or unprofitable business. They have also developed a realistic plan to succeed. However, those who fail to write their plan, plan to fail. They are more likely to fall off the wagon and stay there on the ground waiting for someone to give them a handout or carry them to and across the finish line. That’s not how lasting change works.

You won’t grow that million-dollar business using the same strategy when you only brought in ten thousand dollars worth of business. You won’t meet the right person or get married if you only patronize at the same bars where the undesirables frequent. You won’t get that new job or your career will stay in neutral. You must be willing to do something different. You must be willing to give up the excuses, which are monuments of nothingness that lead to a bridge of nowhere. Additionally, you must be willing to change your old practices and adopt new habits.

Be encouraged. Pick yourself back up and get back on track. Demonstrate discipline. Surround yourself with supportive people, eliminate excuses and access to temptations that keep you stuck and frustrated and use rewards to sustain your motivation. As Sam Cooke sings, “ A change gone come.” But truthfully it will only occur when you get up, put one foot in front of the other and make a non-negotiable decision to keep moving forward.

 

All Cops Are not Bad Cops

Tiffany Sanders - Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Recent videos of cops killing unarmed black men have gone viral and reinforced a negative perception that it’s open season on killing black men by cops. For the record it’s not open season. I despise hearing that because it’s not true and it’s fear mongering to perpetuate a state of hopelessness. Secondly, not all cops are bad cops. Remember what bleed leads. That’s why we hear about cops killing unarmed blacks daily on the news.

Are definitely bad apples in the bunch? Yes, and the video deaths of Walter Scott and Robert Bates, illustrate that point. Are there situations where the police have framed blacks for crimes they never committed? Absolutely, look at John Burge CPD cases for evidence of this fact. Does the police disproportionately stop black men? Yes! Now what! 

We need solutions more than pundits engaging in fear mongering. I posit that negative interactions with police will not end until police leadership communicate that all lives matter by emphasizing the importance of officers regularly undergoing cultural competency and training to work with culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Officers that are culturally competent are more likely to think of healthier ways to de-escalate or manage a confrontational situation instead of shoot to kill.

Additionally, we need body cameras on all officers nationwide. Dashboard cameras are not enough to stop this behavior to catch rogue officers. Lastly, we need to try officers for the crimes they commit and stop giving them a slap on the wrist, which doesn’t deter misbehavior. Let’s create a new police culture that is culturally competent and visually monitored.

Parents Back to School Preparation Guide

Tiffany Sanders - Sunday, July 24, 2011
As the summer winds down, summer camps are coming to an end, and the last family trip has been taken, parents must now begin to prepare their children for returning to school.  For parents back to school preparation means more than buying a new book bag, it means encouraging their children to start the academic year on a positive note, helping young children reconnect with old friends by arranging play dates, equipping children with the necessary supplies, resources and tools to get the work done, and establishing a positive communicative relationship with their children’s teacher and school to avert potential problems in the future.  

To make this process simple and stress free for parents, here are a few tips and suggestions parents should consider. 

It’s important to take advantage of all of the back to school deals that are being pushed by retailers. If your state offers a tax free “back to school week”, take advantage of it by stocking up on supplies such as notebooks, paper, pens, pencils, folders, computer paper and toner, USB disks, binders, scissors, crayons, markers, glue, and Kleenex to save money.  Once the back to school rush has ended, typically these items go back to regular price and can put a dent in your pocketbook if you need to purchase a large quantity later. Unused items can be saved for the next school year which can reduce next year’s back to school costs.

Getting organized is one piece of advice that cannot be over emphasized. While parents are shopping for back to school supplies, it’s important to purchase items that will help keep their children organized. All too often children lose homework; forget about tests and projects, which can negatively affect their grades. Most schools provide their child with a daily planner; however, purchasing a large dry erase family calendar that could be placed in a central location, is important because it can remind parents and students of tests, after school activities, events, trips, and deadlines that are coming up. Creating an in and out folder system is important so parents don’t forget to sign permission slips for their children to attend school sanctioned events, and children don’t forget to return the permission slips.

Consider purchasing a desk or sectioning off a portion of the dining room table to create a quiet study area free from clutter, noise from the TV, radio, and foot traffic. This should be used as your child’s study area. Discourage your child from doing their homework on the couch or in their bed which could entice more sleep than study. 

One of the most exciting things about returning to school is wearing new clothes and shoes. Parents should check the school’s dress code policy to ensure they are buying appropriate clothing for their child. Parents also consider buying extra uniform clothes (khaki or dark pants, solid polo shirt) especially if they know their child can wear out clothes and shoes very easily.

One week before the first day of school, parents should slowly transition their children from a summer schedule of staying up late and sleeping in to their school night schedule. The week before school commences, parents should start having the child go to bed one hour early each night until they reach their bed time. Also, parents should implement the same routine for waking up in the morning to ensure their child gets up at the correct time. Older children and teens should be responsible for waking themselves up in the morning. These sleep routines should be strictly adhered to because a child who is tired is likely to be inattentive, miss out on pertinent school lessons, and more irritable than a child who has received an adequate amount of sleep.

Back to school preparation can also be an exciting time for children because it represents a fresh start – a chance for students to earn better grades, learn new things, meet new friends, join a varsity sports team, and to have an overall better year than they had last school year.  This time can also be full of anxiety and trepidation for some children who realize they are returning to class with students who bullied, taunted or teased them for being different.  Parents play an important role in helping to emotionally prepare their children for the joys and pains of returning to school. 

Here are a few pieces of advice that parents should consider when their children are anxious about returning to school.

Inform middle schoolers, freshman, or students new to a school that it’s normal to be anxious when starting a new school. Encourage your child to visit the school before the first day of classes so they can familiarize themselves with the layout. Encourage them to walk the halls to find their classes, their locker and other pertinent places in the building (cafeteria, main office, and nurse’s room). 

Many students are anxious about attending a new school often because they don’t know anyone there. Utilize role-playing to teach your child social skills to lessen their anxiety about making new friends. For example, teacher your child how to introduce themselves to someone and how to find commonalities between themselves and peers they like. Encourage your child to join clubs or afterschool activities, and to invite friends over to their home to hangout. 

Help your children learn how to stand up to bullies in a healthy way that is void of verbal and physical aggression. Teach them strategies to ignore the bully, walk away when they are being taunted, or to seek out the assistance of a respected teacher, psychologist or school social worker to help mediate or resolve the conflict.  

Lastly, encourage your child to do their best, rather than pressure your child to be the best or smartest student. Many parents who apply this undue pressure can cause children to become perfectionists or anxious children who worry more about earning an “A” versus appreciating and enjoying the learning process.


As the summer winds down, summer camps are coming to an end, and the last family trip has been taken, parents must now begin to prepare their children for returning to school.  For parents back to school preparation means more than buying a new book bag, it means encouraging their children to start the academic year on a positive note, helping young children reconnect with old friends by arranging play dates, equipping children with the necessary supplies, resources and tools to get the work done, and establishing a positive communicative relationship with their children’s teacher and school to avert potential problems in the future. 

To make this process simple and stress free for parents, here are a few tips and suggestions parents should consider.

• It’s important to take advantage of all of the back to school deals that are being pushed by retailers. If your state offers a tax free “back to school week”, take advantage of it by stocking up on supplies such as notebooks, paper, pens, pencils, folders, computer paper and toner, USB disks, binders, scissors, crayons, markers, glue, and Kleenex to save money.  Once the back to school rush has ended, typically these items go back to regular price and can put a dent in your pocketbook if you need to purchase a large quantity later. Unused items can be saved for the next school year which can reduce next year’s back to school costs.

• Getting organized is one piece of advice that cannot be over emphasized. While parents are shopping for back to school supplies, it’s important to purchase items that will help keep their children organized. All too often children lose homework; forget about tests and projects, which can negatively affect their grades. Most schools provide their child with a daily planner; however, purchasing a large dry erase family calendar that could be placed in a central location, is important because it can remind parents and students of tests, after school activities, events, trips, and deadlines that are coming up. Creating an in and out folder system is important so parents don’t forget to sign permission slips for their children to attend school sanctioned events, and children don’t forget to return the permission slips.

• Consider purchasing a desk or sectioning off a portion of the dining room table to create a quiet study area free from clutter, noise from the TV, radio, and foot traffic. This should be used as your child’s study area. Discourage your child from doing their homework on the couch or in their bed which could entice more sleep than study.

• One of the most exciting things about returning to school is wearing new clothes and shoes. Parents should check the school’s dress code policy to ensure they are buying appropriate clothing for their child. Parents also consider buying extra uniform clothes (khaki or dark pants, solid polo shirt) especially if they know their child can wear out clothes and shoes very easily.

• One week before the first day of school, parents should slowly transition their children from a summer schedule of staying up late and sleeping in to their school night schedule. The week before school commences, parents should start having the child go to bed one hour early each night until they reach their bed time. Also, parents should implement the same routine for waking up in the morning to ensure their child gets up at the correct time. Older children and teens should be responsible for waking themselves up in the morning. These sleep routines should be strictly adhered to because a child who is tired is likely to be inattentive, miss out on pertinent school lessons, and more irritable than a child who has received an adequate amount of sleep.

Back to school preparation can also be an exciting time for children because it represents a fresh start – a chance for students to earn better grades, learn new things, meet new friends, join a varsity sports team, and to have an overall better year than they had last school year.  This time can also be full of anxiety and trepidation for some children who realize they are returning to class with students who bullied, taunted or teased them for being different.  Parents play an important role in helping to emotionally prepare their children for the joys and pains of returning to school.

Here are a few pieces of advice that parents should consider when their children are anxious about returning to school.

• Inform middle schoolers, freshman, or students new to a school that it’s normal to be anxious when starting a new school. Encourage your child to visit the school before the first day of classes so they can familiarize themselves with the layout. Encourage them to walk the halls to find their classes, their locker and other pertinent places in the building (cafeteria, main office, and nurse’s room).

• Many students are anxious about attending a new school often because they don’t know anyone there. Utilize role-playing to teach your child social skills to lessen their anxiety about making new friends. For example, teacher your child how to introduce themselves to someone and how to find commonalities between themselves and peers they like. Encourage your child to join clubs or afterschool activities, and to invite friends over to their home to hangout.

• Help your children learn how to stand up to bullies in a healthy way that is void of verbal and physical aggression. Teach them strategies to ignore the bully, walk away when they are being taunted, or to seek out the assistance of a respected teacher, psychologist or school social worker to help mediate or resolve the conflict. 

Lastly, encourage your child to do their best, rather than pressure your child to be the best or smartest student. Many parents who apply this undue pressure can cause children to become perfectionists or anxious children who worry more about earning an “A” versus appreciating and enjoying the learning process.


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