High Maintenance vs. Knowing What You Want

Independence isn’t just for America, it is an important day for you to set goals, boundaries and assert your own independence.

Fireworks for you!

Lesson – Resourcefulness is a virtue. Summary – In a scene from a famous movie, Sally was sitting in a restaurant with Harry ordering what she wanted – exactly what she wanted off the menu.

“I’d like the chef’s salad please, with the oil and vinegar on the side, and the apple pie a la mode.”
The waitress confirms the order, to which Sally adds (in one breath):
“But I’d like the pie heated, and I don’t want the ice cream on top, I want it on the side, and I want strawberry if you have it, if not, then no ice cream, just whipped cream but only if it’s real, if it’s out of a can, then nothing.”
The waitress, who appears to be in a state of shock asks, “Not even the pie?” To which Sally responds, “No, just the pie, but then not heated.”

Many people view Sally’s actions as “high maintenance.” I call that knowing what you want. Here’s what separates the good from the great: the great are resourceful. Some people look at the menu and order what is there. Other people order what they want. The interesting thing is some people don’t realize that just because it’s not on the menu doesn’t mean that they can’t get it. You see many of us use the menu to limit our possibilities. We do this in life as well.

Can you imagine what people must have thought about the Wright Brothers? When they announced they planned to fly? I mean think about that. It was hard enough to think about driving, and now someone is saying they want to fly? The Wright Brothers didn’t order what was already on the transportation menu; they ordered what they wanted. Think about the person who created TiVo. This person definitely looked beyond the menu. Any person who has been in contact with TiVo knows that television technology has been taken to the next level.

A person creates a menu based on what he or she thinks would be appealing. What you have to be prepared to do is always get what you want – no matter what (as long as it’s good for you and not harmful to the universe). Consider what you want that is not being presented. You actually have the opportunity to order what does not seem available. There is no law written that states you have to only order what’s on the menu. Create your own! I remember growing up hearing statements like “nothing beats failure but a try,” and this can be applied here. You don’t know that you can do something until you ask. You don’t know what’s available to you until you try. It’s really not about being high maintenance in a negative way. It’s really about knowing what you want. If you know what you want, you should order exactly that. Here’s the thing – you might not get it; however, you might. You never know until you try. Life is really like a buffet (but keep it mind, it’s still not limited to what’s on the buffet). What I mean is, you really have the option to pick and choose what you want. Once they have set their minds to something, resourceful folks figure out a way to get it done. Use and understand the resourceful mind, body, and spirit that you have available. Realize there are absolutely no limits to what you can do. Whatever you believe, you can achieve. Someone once said, whether you think you can or cannot, you are right. You see, half the battle is realizing that anything is possible.

Action – At the next opportunity you get, order something that is not offered on the menu.

I vividly recall years ago that I was humbled to have the opportunity to speak on the topic of “High Maintenance” with a group of employees from the Shell Oil Company in Houston, Texas. I must tell you that they truly must have read the book ahead of time. I felt one of the warmest receptions from an audience in all my years as a speaker. They did not just bring me in to speak- they went above and beyond to show me that they truly cared about me as a person. My hosts Jackie and Thelma crossed every “T” and dotted every “I” possible. It was like getting a dose of my own medicine (really big pill to swallow). It wasn’t enough to have a warm group of smiles for my presentation- they even gave me a gift basket with personalized items JUST for ME! WOW! About 20 different groups within the company contributed to help make my gift basket and visit a success. After the meeting, they even had a group prepared to have the gift basket delivered to me. That is high maintenance! Wait – there is more, the next day, I was treated to lunch by even more wonderful people at Shell.

You might be asking yourself, why is she telling me all of this? Well I am glad you asked. I am sharing this because this is truly what being high maintenance is all about. It means going beyond what is average or generic to providing exceptional service to someone else. Are you high maintenance? Are you going above and beyond or are you settling for what is easiest? Do you have what you want or are you settling? Only you can make the difference for you. I often tell people “if you don’t like your job QUIT”. Until then make it the best place for you and others. Look around and see ways you can improve a system, a policy, a colleague, YOU!! How can you empower yourself to have a better attitude and do a better job? How can you be high maintenance and make someone’s experience even better -just because. That is what Shell did for me. I came to deliver a message and they illustrated the point!
Here is your homework: Determine ways you can be high maintenance at home, work, school, with family, friends, coworkers, etc. Let Independence Day be the day you emancipate yourself.

Mission Possible Independence Day

What do you want to be free from? What is it that you are tired of putting off? Is there something that you can do today to appreciate the life you have? Think about it and let those fireworks go off for you! Right now list the things you want to let go or change easily and effortlessly.
1. Today I let go ___
2. Today I am free of ____
3. Today I believe that I can_____
4. Today I accept _____
5. Today I will love _____
6. Today I forgive_____
7. Today I have _____
8. Today I thanked ______
9. Today I am _______
10. Today I celebrate______

Allow the fireworks to be your celebration for your independence! You can be free in your mind every day, can’t you? Will you go ahead and do it now? Let’s transform the planet – starting with us! I will be celebrating my independence watching the fireworks. I will see, hear and feel them as confirmation that it is done! You will join me, won’t you? To your independence! Let’s Go!

Dr. Cherry

Cherry A. Collier, Ph.D. is an Organizational Psychologist, Strategist, Executive Coach, and Diversity, Inclusion, & Belonging Consultant for Personality Matters, Inc. Her science-based approach and brain-based techniques, propel people, teams, and organizations to build bridges and work from the inside out to achieve their goals. Dr. Cherry specializes in emotional intelligence, neuroscience, leadership development, and DEI Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She received her Doctorate and Master of Science in Applied Social/Organizational Psychology from the University of Georgia and Graduated Magna Cum Laude from Spelman College. She is the author of more than twenty-five Human Behavior related books for leaders, executives, and coaches. Dr. Cherry is often called the DEI Whisperer because she has a unique ability to fiercely “hold the space” and be totally present which creates a psychologically safe environment that allows others all the space they need to fully express themselves. She listens to others with head, heart and hands approach so that they are heard, seen and understood.