An Easily Avoided Pet Peeve

I would just like to share a pet peeve of mine. So there I was right? Minding my own business when my cell phone started to ring. I couldn’t get the phone because I was with a customer, but I saw that the caller had left a voice message. I finished my conversation with my customer and checked the phone. It was a friend of mine. I called and listened to the voice mail. It was, “Hey Brian, this is ________. I have a question and a favor to ask you. call me back.”

Nothing sounds out of the ordinary with that message right? You get messages like that everyday. THAT IS EXACTLY THE PROBLEM!!!!!! It seems like all messages are just that way, “It’s _____, gotta question, call me” Nine times out of ten, I don’t call those messages back. The few times that I do it’s because I probably would have called that person soon anyway.

I did call this friend back but our conversation started off this way, ” Hey, _______, let us have a short conversation about message etiquette.” (I feel comfortable talking to this friend this way because we have known each other for a long long time.) I explained to them that the better thing to do is to call and leave a message with the question/favor/comment in it.

a few examples:

Not Effective

“Hey Brian, I have a question for you. call me.”

Analysis- In this example we see that the receiver of the message was left wondering. Is this a question that has the need for an immediate call back? Was she kidnapped and locked up with a Masterlock 8148 chain lock and she wants to know if I know any way to break the code? Or is it something more simple that I can answer anytime.

” Hey Brian, this is _________. I was wondering if those new apple computers came in. could you call me back?”

Analysis- Short and simple, but very effective. This gives me two advantages as the receiver. #1) If I call her back and get her answering machine then I can leave the answer right there for her (Yeah, the computers came in. You can pick them up anytime) and avoid the annoying but oh so common, “Hey, I was just calling you back so call me back when you can. #2) By her leaving the matter of the phone call on the machine it gives me a chance to gather the information and call her back informed and ready to answer.

So that was one drawn out example, but there has got to be more people who are bothered by this. Let’s leave behind the “I have a question for you” and get used to this advantage of leaving real messages for people. In this case, I practice what I preach. If I ever leave a general no purpose message please get on me for it.

There, I’m off my soapbox.


impressed and humbled

I was struck in a special way this weekend. Christmas was good. I mostly just enjoyed the extra time to get things done. But on Sunday Night, President Gordon B Hinckley of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints visited Larry King on his show, Larry King Live. I really enjoyed the conversation that they had. It was amazing to see the way that President Hinckley stayed so simple and forthright about the beliefs and doings of the church. Even though he is very knowledgeable and experienced, he still chooses to use the most simple thoughts when he shares the gospel. That is a good reminder for all of us.

One of my favorite tidbits:

KING: It’s hard to be a Mormon, isn’t it?

HINCKLEY: No. It’s wonderful.

KING: Not hard.

HINCKLEY: No, no. It’s just wonderful. It’s demanding. Great expectations. I should say so. But it’s wonderful.

KING: Wonderful to resist the temptations of life?

HINCKLEY: Oh, you don’t go around resisting. You just develop a positive outlook and walk forward with faith.

KING: What do you do …

HINCKLEY: We don’t dwell on the negative. We dwell on the positive.

KING: What do you do with temptation? What do you do with it?

HINCKLEY: Set it aside. Put it behind. Leave it there.

KING: And you’ve been able to do that all your life.

HINCKLEY: I tried to, yes.

KING: Were you ever, as a youngster, did you ever stray?

HINCKLEY: Oh, I was a natural boy growing up, of course I was. Just a freckled-faced kid. Sure.

KING: I’ll bet you were.


KING: I’ll bet you had a little rascal in you.

HINCKLEY: Sure I did.

KING: OK. It’s good to know …


KING: … that God blessed you this way.

HINCKLEY: I’ve been blessed so abundantly that I can never get over it. I just feel so richly blessed that I want to extend that to others wherever I can.

KING: Hope you have a long life.


I know I am a week late, but ir’s never bad right?

Strangest thing happened to me this morning. I woke up with gratitude on my mind. My thoughts were turned to people, places, events, things that have affected my life. I felt an overwhelming responsibility to be more open with gratitude. Maybe I am catching the Thanksgiving feeling finally.

I am not exactly sure where all of this comes from. I had a conversation last night with a man that has trouble showing gratitude. I know it is in him, but it is hard for him to vocalize it.

Forgive me as I write a story that has been told many times before. I will make it s short version, just enough to suffice my point.

As I was serving a mission in San Francisco for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I remember meeting so many fun and interesting people. One night in August of 2000, my missionary companion and I boarded a bus to head home for the evening. As we boarded that bus, we took a look at all of the people on there. In the front there was a drunk, scraggly man doing his best to flirt with two women that spoke only Chinese. Behind them were two couples going out for the evening, all men. The role call in the middle was a woman dressed all in red with little red horns stuck on her head, a man who could have been mistaken for Elvis if it had not been for the chain connecting his ear to him lip, by way of his nose. and in the back was a group of “homies” all standing in desperate need of a belt. It was no wonder the bus driver sat with a bat across his lap.

I looked at my companion. he was a new missionary and noticeably scared at the scene in front of him. We are supposed to talk to everyone and introduce them to the Gospel. Looking back at the bus occupants, I noticed something ironic. the bus had quieted down and they were all looking at us, the strange ones with clean cut hair and business suits on.

I turned to my missionary companion again and said, “Let’s take this one different. Let’s make our way down the bus and find something to compliment everyone on. Meet you in the back.” And off we went.

It was fun to make our way down the bus meeting people and making them smile. I made it to the back first and sat their with the “homies”. I sat there chatting and joking with them. It was fun, but our stop arrived and we got off the bus.

I remember thinking that night and making a promise to myself that I would never miss the opportunity to give an honest compliment again. My Bus friends had genuine smiles on their face as I told them what I liked about them. I don’t give fake compliments. I would rather be quiet then untruthful. I have tried to keep that promise to myself since then I have enjoyed the smiles that it produced. I decided that for the next few weeks, i am going to make my way thru my e-mail address book and extend personal compliments to my friends, family, and not-so-much friends. I would encourage you to entertain the thought of doing it too. Everyone likes an honest compliment.