The job of a good storyteller, teacher, motivator, and wordsmith, is to blend a certain amount of life wisdom, and adventures with a positive twist that invites engagement and reflection, regardless of the number of words on the page or the lenght of the story. This is my intention with these articles and a variety of topics I enjoy writing about published here, Michael
Steps In The Rhythm Of Life…
I am a walker, always have been regardless of the cities or the rural landscapes I find myself in, if there is a path, I will walk it. It is no problem for me to walk within my city from downtown Vancouver to the west side, an hour is my cut off both ways pre getting on a bus or sky train, this has made many a bus driver on the rare occasions I do need to jump on public transit when I ask how much? Then add, I do not get out much to cover the fact that many are amused or curious while listening, is this city dweller for real?
The following wisdom keeps coming to me, so I know enough to take heed of its message. “Three steps forward five back or one step forward three back”. Like the title of this new article, when we flow with our rhythm rather than against it, especially with setbacks to our dreams or desires. Then this wisdom not only consoles any disappointment but reminds me of this, keep going, keep going forward.
Just as I said this morning at my local Safeway when asked by the cashier, how are you? Now as we all know that’s a loaded question and I often use it at work in my day job with humor as in, when you take a chance to ask someone how they are, be ready they may just tell you and it may take an hour of your ears listening time and not pretty.
My reply was, I love today because it’s a new day and even if there was crap yesterday, today is a new day. This wonderful cashier agreed. Another reason is when you have lived long enough to know and appreciate a brand-new day. Many things in this life can change in a blink of an eye, even those long-held plans that seem to move at a snail’s space can happen in an instant and usually when you’re not looking.
Steps, what steps are you taking to better your life this year? Is it to be more grateful, and more positive, not to complain the same story over and over again to well-meaning patient friends, will you be kinder to yourself? Mostly this new year I will take each step as a seasoned pro in the game of life with more focus on gratitude and the good that is with me, the new Adidas OG classic runners my work gifted to me via a gift card that carries my steps. May your next step like mine be one of many towards a path that just fits right with no resistance.
Time Alone Well Spent…
A few years ago, while being employed at Gucci, all new employees be it if you were hired for front of house or back, were flown to New York to Gucci U which is housed at the Gucci North America headquarters in lower Manhattan. Yes, it is exciting and fabulous as it sounds, they remain first class in how they ensure you were well looked after while in New York for your Gucci U learning.
I was surprised to find out while doing a few tests that would serve you well trusting you answered them honestly, that I was indeed an introvert, based on whatever company psychological test they were using. Most and myself would assume that I am an extrovert. It’s very interesting if you look up what a true introvert is and what an extrovert is. The words that describe each can be misleading at first glance.
Now to the theme as in the meat and potatoes of this article, as a wordsmith and communicator, I like all of my articles, teachings, and stories to have a meaning, a purpose as in the start, the middle, and the end. That the reader can take away something that may or may not stick, this can be a life lesson or perfect word wisdom that adds to a recent puzzle that needs some new clues.
I love my alone time, and I have enjoyed and have learned to love living on my own since my early twenties, it is not for everyone yet so many people I know including family members always comment how they admire how I enjoy my own company. It is a choice or is it a must? In my case it’s a must, it may not be for everyone but to all who get what I am saying, you are in a special tribe.
One of the best Christmas I had years ago was flying to New York on Xmas day, met by limo both in Toronto going and then arriving in New York La Guardia airport my favorite airport to land in. Checking into the Plaza hotel, having room service, and watching the Christmas classic home alone on my own. The people I was working with at the time in Toronto, were shocked as if I was an abandoned orphan out in the cold that needed company when they learned of how I choose to spend my Xmas.
Do you get enough alone time? Would you like more? What is stopping you? There is no hidden meaning or past dysfunction that makes me crave and enjoy my alone time. I love what I do out in front of hundreds of customers and people in my professional work. That’s my stage and I do it well, yet when the clock hits the show is over then it’s time to head on home.
Alone time allows us to follow that age-old wisdom, to thy self be true, how the heck can you hear what your true self wants if you load it up with way too many commitments, over worked and over-stressed by the choices we make, and it is a choice to live that way. This is no longer something I applaud when a colleague or a friend says I am so busy, I am so tired, we are all tired, it is called PTSD from an ongoing global pandemic and learning to navigate in these new now times.
Do I enjoy seeing others when I am off stage, yes absolutely but I am the friend that says when invited out, is it going to be quiet? I do not want to spend this rare lunch date screaming over my tuna melt so you can hear me. When being social with close friends in my inner circle I prefer one of one to get all caught up, more than that can feel like work.
Yet, in my younger days, my home was classy dinner gatherings for up to six or more, then out dancing the night away. Does alone time need to be balanced with a community of like-minded souls? Yes, then again it is who and how you choose to spend that time out of your cave and in the world with that will make all the difference.
Learning and knowing what you love and how you want to role in this life, as in knowing your own rhythm, likes, and dislikes is more than just a good thing. We do what we love to do professionally and socially that fits who we are in the now, then to quote famed singer Judy Garland when asked what she did after a show to take care of herself?
Her reply to the reporter was, “honey, I give the people what they came to see me do, then I get off the stage and go have a hamburger on my way home” or something to that effect. A great way to stay humble, especially if fame is part of your being. Till next article when you have an extra 15 minutes or a day, do not be so quick to fill it up, unplug the phones, just sit and be, this is where the magic happens if you allow it.
What Do You Value?
In a world that is transforming and changing fast from moment to moment. It is easy when one is not in their full Zen health and by that, I mean, in your grounded strength and inner peace, no matter what may come. One can fall into the pits of doom and gloom as in what’s the use or fall prey to any number of negative vices, such as self-doubt, gossiping about others, entitlement, or resentment.
So, to counter that and bring in the opposite to start and maintain poise, grace, and confidence to see you through this new year. I will first ask you to take a moment before reading on and ask yourself, what do your truly value in this life and about yourself?
I value those beautiful souls in my life who love and support me warts and all, and we all have a few warts, these are the kind people who hold your heart when it breaks and honestly celebrate your wins, that support and cheer you on to keep believing in yourself and your dreams.
Books and good writers that share their message regardless if its spiritual, pop culture, or other topics, which make you dream and feel empowered and entertained while reading them, TV shows with substance and humor that intrigue beyond wasting time, and yes, my favorite a good K drama that makes you think and relate to others circumstances, lifting you up and expanding your compassion.
The tough lessons in life that seem to take eons to learn, that once mastered bring value to one as a person maturing, my own sense of integrity, and to have the courage and grace to be a clear communicator and I adore this in others.
We can forget at times what we bring to the table in our professional and personal lives that add value to other people’s lives, that by you just being you matters to so many in your circle be it small or large.
What Do Your Value? Check List & Reminder
- Doe this very topic stir up emotions of perhaps you have forgotten or rarely think about this question?
- Who in your life do you value the most? Who talks their talk, walks their walk?
- Is learning met by resistance or do your value your own tenacious ways to at least try?
- When was the last time you gave yourself a pat on the back as in a job well done?
- Is your integrity in alignment with your 2023 goals and intentions?
- What about your talents and gifts do you value?
- Peace, Money, or Worry, which takes up most of your thinking and time?
When we give over our power far too often to needless worry or self-neglect, then it is hard to see one’s value or how value can mean anything in our lives. Value also translates to self-respect, what we bring to the table in life that contributes to the good of others and our own.
Wisdom, being truthful with ease and grace, not judgment, along with wise discernment are values to cultivate and hold to, so the rocky times in life do not knock you off your mark or give away your integrity to any falsehoods.
Let your own value empower and inspire you to take more risks, stretch past your usual comfort zone, dream big and bold and go for it. This new year of 2023 does have value, make it count.
Love Yourself Up..
There are many ways in our current global situation that affects all of us, be it the economy, unjust wars, and prejudices that run rampant, featured in our daily headlines, to make you want to pull the covers over your head at times and just yell STOP enough already.
One way to keep your inner Zen grounded in the positive with healthy self-care and adaptability is to Love Yourself Up. Those three words of late, keep coming to me, as a wordsmith who loves to invent, twist, and find new ways to use words to get a message, story, or idea whose time has come to be shared and helpful in some way, it is one of the reasons this writer writes.
So pre offering my list below as you read on, let us be clear about the word LOVE, love as a word has been used and continues to be used to sell products, a lifestyle, to find your soul mate, romantic love, movies and on and on it goes.
The love I am speaking of here; has nothing to do with all of the usual references. It has everything to do with self-respect, compassion, and then some, it can involve energy that we create, through kind acts to others and to self, mindfulness and this can be of the spiritual as well.
Ways to love yourself up, helpful tips from Michaels Fridays Wisdom cupboard
1, In keeping with our Octobers theme of Self Care, did you think it was a passing fancy, ah hello no, when you look in the mirror be sure to say some nice things to yourself and mean it, as in Good Job Kiddo!!!
2, Take a time out from the routine, if this means an extra day off from work., then do it, these types of positive recommendations have become part of the norm in office speak, just do it!!!
3, What’s your favorite food without worry about the calories, cost, or portion size, well go get it and enjoy without guilt!!!
4, One of my faves is the bath, throw in some nice, classy lavender or eucalyptus salts and just Zen out and soak those worries away, ahhhhhh!!!!
5, Sage, wave that sage wand around your space to give it that quick Zen Energy Feng Shui makeover, getting rid of that wacky post full moon vibes or any other unwanted energies that’s been buzzing around of late, hey do not knock it, it works and high-end luxury retail stores committed to being more mindful and practices of this nature that go beyond the latest trends are now selling the sage!!!!
6, This is a no brainer, unplug from the phones, gadgets, all social media, work, the news channels, turn on some soothing music, or better yet watch one of your favorite K dramas or feel-good shows that make you feel good, feel love in your heart and hopeful, yes this one works!!!
7, Write out your frustrations and do not edit your words, yup, ya know those curse words and any old or current work/life resentments that are taking up good space in your head and energy DNA, the writing it all out, this at times can be cheaper than a $ 300-hour therapy session, and in many cases always effective, then let it all go, burn the paper and say good-bye to all that!!!
8, Get on the phone with your person as Meredith would say to Christina in Grey’s Anatomy, your person in this life is not always a mate, it’s the one soul on this earth that gets you, sees you, and loves you warts and all, easy friends are easy, real friends are those that tell you your Spanx make you look fat yet their words always make you love truth, feel assured and laugh at life’s follies, yes this is your person!!!!
9, The floor is now yours, what acts of Love Yourself Up more do you need to do? Great, do it often and then share with others, we all need that blast of love, the love that encourages faith in humanity, faith in one’s self and dreams, in one’s own ability and power to shine and keep on loving….Pass it on…
Life, The Good, The Messy and The Magical…
Welcome to the new year 2023, you may wonder why I would choose to include the word Messy to begin a new year. The answer is in the wisdom that life will teach when you’re ready. The messy will show us what we no longer want, but also guides us to seek out the Good and the Magical.
The Yin and Yang of it all, like any good baker, becomes the master of the cake by trying out different recipes, and life on life’s terms can be like that. No risk no gain, I love the new year, I love the energy of all things new, be it a book, or a new Feng Shui tip that I have yet to try, but once done will enhance my “om” (home) and living space with more harmony, so when life does get messy at least my surroundings are clean, toned and clear to assist with navigating any new challenges.
Far too often and let’s use the recent past as an example, while all heck and turbulence were breaking loose in your workspace due to any number of reasons, in our new now. You lost your ability through being exhausted on how to gauge if what was happening was messy or an invitation to get to the good, an invitation to use your magic wand, yes you read that right. Our word to quote Florence Scovel Shinn is our wand.
She was one of the first practitioners and teacher for living from a positive mindset, old school out of New York, she is long gone but I feel she would be pleased that many picked up that wisdom mantle she taught from to better their lives, when your happy the world around you flocks to you to share in that, which we call the good, and when peace fills a heart that’s been in too much messy, then your magic starts to bloom and like a magnet starts to attract more good.
If you have lived for any length of time, you get the jest of this article, life presents us daily with opportunities to gain experience and mastery. I choose to adopt Buddhist beliefs, as it makes the teachings that come invited or not more palatable. Then the messy does not hold you hostage for too long as you figure out a new escape root or new passages to use a gentler description.
This new year of 2023, we have all earned the right to desire better and less messy, when messy comes to visit and was not invited, tell it to go next door but before giving it the boot, ask what you can you learn from it?
When the Magic starts to knock on your door, for God’s sake learn to recognize it as part of your prayers being answered, and when Good is with you as in a job well done and I am not just talking work, but that content feeling that comes after traveling through the messy, then share that good with others and keep dreaming and keep believing.
Happy fabulous new year one and all, Michael
Wrong Interview Right Location
This new article by yours truly, is for all who are in the process of seeking greener pastures with your career choices, may these words inspire confidence in actively creating new change, do it your way and trust the process.
If you have ever found yourself at what you thought was supposed to be the right job interview, only to find out within the interview, that it is not for you or they the ones interviewing you, have decided you’re not for them, they may not say this but it’s a gut thing.
I did not know then how this new desire to attract a new career path would come to be. Being well over the age of twenty-nine, yet had done very well working within the hospitality industry as a mature professional, which included luxury cruises at Canada Place Peer as a coordinator for up to three to five ships a day with thousands of excited cruise travelers. So, I started sending out my CV to a few luxury retailers and well-known jewelry houses.
After said interview where I knew that was not going to happen. I took myself to my old stomping grounds, Holt Renfrew, where I made my mark as the world’s friendliest doorman, a first for any luxury house here in Vancouver. It was always a joy to continue to shop in the store and to see the many friends I had made while working there.
As life so happens or tries to show us when we are not controlling everything, luck was with me that day, as I ran into two professional colleagues one from Gucci and the other from Holts. We hugged, laughed, and chatted, until they asked what I was up to, explained to them both that I was looking for a new job. Just like that in the moment, Jerome who was Gucci’s assistant store director at the time needed someone with my skill set and talents for a new Gucci pop-up as their ambassador and team lead, which then lead to being their full-time store ambassador / host.
Always prepared, I hauled out an updated CV, and there I was, the ball was now rolling into my career path of desires and wishes. I had no idea when my gut that morning told me to take the interview at said famous jewelry house. I knew my chances were slim, but I have always used each interview as a practice run, immensely helpful if you have not interviewed in a while.
From being with Gucci within the Holt Renfrew store after one year. I pitched my services to the head of Holts Vancouver PR person to be their in-store luxury brand ambassador at Concierge services. Three years later and counting here I am, easy to find as you will hear my greetings welcoming you, with just the right amount of OG classic, a dash of healthy humor, and the tone of 100% service that welcomes all. The grretings that I offer and create new dialy, have become iconic with all clients new to the store and long term shoppers.
The moral of this story is in the title of this article, we just never know where the day or our dreams will lead us, we may be thinking we desire this job, that relationship, that city to live in, that classy condo or heritage apartment in the wrong side of town.
Then life if we allow it and are open to the new, with its magic will show us how dreams can easily be answered beyond what we had hoped for. May your next chance meeting or interview lead you to positive surprises the good kind, beyond your wildest dreams, happy fabulous 2023 one and all.
What Brings You Joy…
The word Joy to my way of knowing implies a feeling, an energy that uplifts your spirit. People, places, kind supportive words from a dear friend, K dramas, a job well done can bring one JOY. Joy is such a needed and understated commodity or way of being in our current global climate of constant change, fears, and day-to-day stresses. Like the lotus that grows in the mud, there is always a ray of light to shine through.
Amongst all of this, I am reminded of a dear friend whom I call my soul brother. Brother always reminds me as do other great teachers who come from the committed spiritual side of life, even in the darkness, the stresses and the daily fears hold to those times when JOY comes to visit you.
I love that, I do it and remind myself of this each day, it is like that Zen philosophy of be here now, for it is only in now time or living in now time we are at our most powerful.
What brings or gives you joy this day? What experiences, people, acts of service while on the job, stories have you heard or have contributed to other people’s Joy? Today Monday, December 19, 2022, the snow that lays on the ground outside my warm and cozy heritage Vancouver apartment gives me joy. Blesses me with the reminders of Christmas past growing up on the east coast of Canada and the USA where the snow would fall big and plentiful.
When not lost in worry, when believing in my dreams are coming to fruition little by little and there is no self-doubt, then I am in joy. Receiving the gifts that I am so lucky to receive weekly where I work from our lovely clients and very generous professional colleagues, brings me joy and I can sense their joy in passing the blessing. Is this not what it’s all about, we pass along some joyful flowers or good vibes in our day, without expectations.
Joy lifts our hearts out of the sorrows or when the desert of cash flow seems to be bone dry, then the miracles start to flood, reminding us of the ebb and flow again of how life flows and roles. Expecting to be happy every second of the day, can be in itself an unreasonable dysfunction or a neurotic distraction, life is here to teach us, and we have all of our emotions for good reason, though getting stuck in just one does not serve, especially if it is one that reassures the negative.
Joy, the word says it all on those wonderful Christmas and Hanukkah greeting cards, wishing you joy, may joy be with you, these are not just hallmark cards of useless words. There is a reason companies use the word JOY on them. I see them and I go yes, let us have more joy, even amongst all these uncertain times and those extra crazy days out in the world in our work. Joy is the much-needed reminder that there is joy, and it is in the face of a simple purple flower or a kind hello from your neighbor, and dear reader within this article’s final words, in my humble wisdom gained thus far in this life, I encourage all to go towards and find what brings and gives you joy.
Interview With Michael, Part 3 & 4
Pleased to share with all industry enthusiasts the final installment article of Interview with Michael. As a teacher in the Art of service and hospitality it is my wish with these articles posted here and on my website alaskainc.ca offer helpful tips gained from being on the front lines to inspire, uplift, motivate and validate. Thank you to all who contributed with their time and wonderful questions to this project, the best you all are.
3, What advice would you give to someone looking to spend their first week in a new role at Holt Renfrew?
Love this question, as I am one of the Holt Renfrew store onboarding Ambassadors I always begin by encouraging new hires to remain welcoming, open, curious, ask questions and be the on-the-ball professional I know they are. Respect your new role and act, accordingly, be yourself, show passion and interest, and introduce yourself to the Concierge team who play a major role in all successes in our store as they are the main connecting spot of our store for everyone, and to other associates from other departments over time. Watch, listen and learn.
Keep the hands out of pockets, no slouching, leaning on the cash desk, or face always looking at the phone, as I point out to others when I see this, with grace and humour I say, “hands out of pokcet this is a classy place“. Call me old school in social etiquette, but you want to let potential clients know your awake, profesisonal in stace and ready to welcome and be of service.
I say this to new managers as well, no one is expecting you to make big success waves overnight, in your past professional role you may have done that and are known for that, for now, settle in, and be welcoming and friendly. Two worldly traits one needs to succeed in our business, one is to be the golden dragon and two be sweet, think of that example. Golden dragon represents success, confidence, and wealth. Sweet or being genuinely kind says it all, one needs both. Last but not least, find out where all your basic directions for things are, such as client washrooms, staff entrances, and where other lease partners’ stores and floors where they are located, trust me you will need this.
4, Can you mention a few qualities and competencies needed to be successful in the luxury retail and service industry today?
Yes, I can, another great question, is patience, self-respect, and the ability to be adaptable and resilient, as things and moods from our environment and economy as we all have seen in the past two years shift and change on a dine to quote a wise expression. Invest in yourself, and your career, and if that means taking a few outside-of-work workshops or hiring an industry success coach to learn and master not just your craft but the game of life, go for it. The best marketing tool is word of mouth referral, as in one satisfied client or another associate who raves about your work and products to others, the chain reaction is tried and true.
Be creative, own your business as if it was your own, think like a trailblazer, have tenaciousness, try new things, follow your gut/intuition which is your success compass, and do not just rely on the phone and social media post, there is a lot to be said to looking up while being on the selling floor or at your concierge desk. There is nothing wrong with being old school with a modern-day twist, trust me I know!!! Last but not least, maintain and cultivate a welcoming sense of humour, especially helpful on those extra challenging days, that in the Bizz we call full moon madness.
Hold A Little Longer, How Dreams Happen…
All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them, Walt Disney
The title for this article came to me as I pondered, why certain dreams, desires, and intentions take longer than others, most probably during that thought time I was a tad frustrated about time frames not matching my efforts of late.
Out of the blue, I was thinking of a past lover who passed from this life all too soon to the AIDS epidemic in the mid-nineties, his name was Liam Divine, 6 Ft tall Irish angel as I called him, for his patience and compassion for this feisty trailblazer who taught me much.
I could sense Liam saying, “Hey Michael, hold a little longer, you are so close.” I took this needed inspiration with very few interpretations, to mean, kiddo you’re on track, keep going with those dreams of yours, all is not for naught. Past and current success as a dream builder and creator also reminded me of this.
These inspiring thoughts I liked and usually, I am the one cheerleading others, it is in my DNA and nature to do that and be the teacher of anything that will support and uplift others, its what we do, are we not all here in some way to assist others along their path of having their dreams come to pass.
My new desires and dreams for act three as I call my website alaskainc.ca and all social media platforms, are now taking a new turn, yet they all remain intact with the right directions, that direction is marked, do not give up and for god’s sake keep trying. As well, adding a creative intention like being a successful voice-over actor to that new updated CV of desires all fits into the new dreams yet to come into form.
Life, past career and personal successes, what I consider success have taught me to allow room today for other dreams and action plans to pop in, and more importantly to follow. The world has changed in its ability to offer 100% security, companies and offers come and go with the constant changing of the new times, so all of us dream makers and weavers need to remember that when the disappointment of not happening fast enough comes to visit.
When that happens as is the crust of this new article, take heart, look in the mirror, tell yourself or write it in your journal or on your post-it board. Your close, have patience, and do not give up, it is all coming together for you, more than you ever could have imagined, and know you’re on track. Timing is everything as the wise elder would say, then adopt to that philosophy, do your part with faith, belief in self. This to my way of knowing contributes to how dreams happen !!!
Interview With Michael Part 2
“Stand in your professional calm and those in front of you will follow your lead, we never match the impatience or stresses of others, clients, environment, or colleagues”
Welcome to Interview with Michael Part 2. I received an abundance of wonderful questions and sincere interest in this new writing project, to share more helpful tips, insights, and uplifting strategies regarding navigating new challenges globally and how to stay in the positive lane within our shared industries of luxury retail and hospitality.
At this point in my professional career, I had not realized that I had come to the place of being known as a respected motivator within our industry, leading by example if you will. Until others both clients, trusted associates, and new hires to our profession reached out to know more, about maintaining one’s work passions, focus, and adaptability to succeed.
On that note, I am pleased to once again share with you here Interview With Michael Part 2, a big shout-out of thanks to my colleague Yvonne Hayward store manager at Moncler who showed such enthusiasm and contribution to this new article with one of her questions. There are more than enough thought-provoking new questions to include a part 3 & 4, making this into a series, so stay tuned for more.
1, The customer isn’t always right. How do you approach a disgruntled client and turn them into a raving fan?
Pre-answering, please note, this is not going to be everyone’s forte or specialty in how to deal with the rough spots, so cut yourself some slack and turn to the ones that have that skill if you do not as yet and it is an acquired skill that comes over time, you think I had the graces of patience and tolerance when I was a young flight attendant flying 17 hours a day with unruly drunk demanding passengers, ah not on your life, it took time to master, our current store GM VP is a master at this.
Learn from the best and ask questions as I continuously do in regards to this very important and timely question. Also, the rules of the game have changed dramatically over the years, so there is not one set answer or format to this topic. There will be times when this is done with ease, yet on those extra nonstop challenging days, try your best to remember we are humans at the end of the day, they cannot be all wins.
This question was at one time easily answered pre-social media and the global pandemic, you need to take that into consideration, as times and complaints are valid or not have changed. We now have the false power of social media which has invited way too many to use in the negative. Keeping this in mind will inspire you the professional to take in all the facts pre taking care of any new concerns or complaints.
This has created a lot of unnecessary grief and I have had meetings about this very concern with social media add-on complaints, where do we draw the line between what is real as a valid complaint and what is not a real complaint or concern? How do we remain positive, helpful, solution-focused and professional? The customer is not always right yet they are number one. Without them or a positive reputation, we have no business.
Always stand when faced with an unhappy client with an air of calmness and be the gracious confident professional, that you are, the times have changed, as there are more expressions of stress in all of our daily lives, so take nothing personally because nine times out of ten the issue has nothing to do with their product arriving late. You listen, as in active listening with empathy, and give them the time to express their beef or concern.
When there is a pause, this is where you offer the solution in the moment, with no passing the buck to another department unless it is a situation out of control, this is why we have specialists and managers to carry the heavy lifting and this is one of their work tasks that they are well trained for. In the hotel and airline industry, we are trained to apologize sincerely for what has happened, then you get to it, letting them know with assurance, that you and your company takes this concern or complaint very seriously.
Be mindful of your verbiage and stance, as in no rolling of the eyes and looking at your nails as if to say oh lord not this again, kidding folks. Give them the details of your action plan the more info the better, tell them what you’re going to do in now time and let them know they will hear from you, make sure you do all your follow-throughs on your end, even double cheeking with others to get it all done, solution, action, communicating and follow up are the keys to turning all this around.
I will end with this, it is more than ok to let them know, that what they are telling you is a highly unusual experience for your company and services, hence you are grateful they told you and they are now being well looked after and hopefully becoming a loyalist to your brand, service, and products. We cannot please all the people all the time, yet the seasoned pro will do the best they can with integrity, class, and professional ownership. This is what we call the remedy factor going above and beyond in the Art of service. You got this!!!.
Do You Know How Good You Are?
I can remember being in Paris years ago on a modeling go-see trying to secure agency representation for my work as an editorial model. Call it the jet leg from Montreal or not but needing a good haircut while they’re doing interviews. I had been used to the best Master cutters in the beauty business, it was the norm and kosher for me to ask hairdressers when I did not know their work if they would show me their portfolio and ask them straight up are you good at what you do?
This one particular Salon was one of the best in Paris located along the Boulevard Saint-Germain, close to The house of Chanel. I entered the Salon and asked in my very east coast Canadian broken French who was their best cutter. They suggested I book with an older gentleman within view, who had his chair at the front of the Salon, knowing the biz, I knew this is how the system worked, from best to the apprentice it went in a row from top to bottom.
Taking this as a good sign, the older flamboyant hair master would see me in an hour and gave me the once-over. As if to say, mon Dieu, well what have we here, and why is this tourist though well-dressed asking if I am the best when booking the appointment?
Was he the real deal Master? Well, my cut was on the level I was used to, though he was probably tempted to give me a bad one, out of not understating my asking to see his book, be it a language thing or was I being too much of a Canadian Diva, thankfully he choose to remain the pro and showed me how good he was through his work.
When someone can answer you Yes, I am the best at what I do without attitude and a certain level of confidence and grace, to me this shows mastery in one’s craft, not ego. For example, when I say with welcoming humor explaining to others how my professional greetings have been made into an art form.
I am relaying to you, that I not only take pride in my work of offering elevated services in hospitality but ownership. A positive reminder when you reach a certain level and skill, SHINE your light unapologetically, it does no one any good to hide your shine under a bushel, in order to make others feel comfortable.
I leave you with this question, do you know how good you are? Did it happen through life’s usual road maps to success through trials, errors, learning curves, and then into mastery? If you do, then walk forward with a pleasant reminder of how you became who you are in your chosen field of expertise, extremely helpful during those in-between times when new dreams are taking longer than you would like to take shape and fall into formation. Cause when they arrive you will need to know how good you are to be able to answer that very questionand share it with others.
Who Is On Your Team? The I Got Your Back Theory…
Suppose you were to take a few moments just as you read this first sentence. Ask yourself, who has your back? Who is on your team? Our team consists of a wide array of individuals, some may be from our profession, our family, friends, and or chosen families, which I always refer to as soul family.
Knowing someone somewhere today has your back as in your best interest at heart, offers one the support to keep reaching in this life, be it a career goal, a creative endeavor, or something of a personal nature, in each case having a cheering section who believes in you is key to anyone’s ability to stand tall and shine. Easy friends are easy, the real deal ones are what you want, the ones who celebrate the wins and hold your heart when it breaks.
At times in my own life, I have had to go it alone after cutting out specific support systems that were no longer supporting, but just there to be entertained by my brave choices, you know the type as a wise teacher once shared with me, they love to hear and watch all of your steps to improve your life, rather than take their own, carrying anyone at this point is not a burden I would encourage you to do.
Burdens can weigh us down, this can be sociological or psychological, and if you work in the public sector as I choose to do at a high level of service and luxury, you will get noticed, keeping one’s head down to not be singled out because no one is stepping up to the plate to ensure a job gets down, has never been my style.
Though during rough waters of ongoing change and increased work tasks with a shortage of staff, having a team or even one friend in this life who has your back, is not just a breath of fresh air for those days or even weeks, when you throw your hands in the air and go world, enough already. It’s a must have, worth its weight in gold, and all the better when you are in tune with your integrity and let those back watchers know with a thank you.
Your team always wants what is best for you and I love when life surprises me and someone shows up whom I would not even think was on team Michael. Quietly behind the scenes keeping things in check, waiting for the right time to approach and offer a hand up. I always loved the saying “a hand up” over a handout, especially when assisting another in any way financially. This thought process always empowers and uplifts the receiver and the one sharing.
We can all be on one team in this life, working our magic of positive vibes that radiate out into the world. Effecting another’s day does not take much and can be the answer to doing a private act of kindness when you’re feeling at a loss. As we give we receive in this life. Today and each day I am grateful for those who stand with me in this life, who are there for the big wins, and who pass that extra piece of the pie when the menu of your dreams has crumbled and you need to rebuild.
The Interview With Michael Alaska
At some point along our professional path, we are asked to share and pass along with positive intention, our industry stories from the inside track of the Bizz, that can benefit others who are either new to our shared industry or seasoned professionals.
This article has been a passionate endeavor to create and put forth here. The following questions have been gathered from a number of trusted colleagues and friends from the hospitality, wellness, and luxury retail industry, the questions are thought-provoking and wise in their asking?
These wonderful professionals graciously took the time and responded with such care and enthusiasm over the past week when asked? I trust they will contribute to the part you play and create in the Art of service. With immense gratitude to all who contributed their questions, I now give you an Interview With Michael.
1, Michael you have reached such a high level of mastery in your craft, what it means to be professional, integral, and always caring for the wellbeing of those around you, the brand, and the customers. What advice would you share for those new and inexperienced colleagues or those desiring to work at the highest level of professionalism in today’s world filled with constant personal and professional stresses?
Answer: Do not let the words Self Care just remain useless on a poster at the office, take them in and learn to know when you need to take a time out without guilt and refuel, self-care and the development of a daily and weekly practice be it meditation, yoga, Reiki, walks in nature, the gym, something that feeds not just your body and mind but your spirit. The stresses are REAL and have been added by a global pandemic, that we are all still learning to navigate and adapt to, find the people and things that bring you joy beyond work, stick with the winners not the whiners, no one does this life perfectly, and on those days that challenge you to the max and you will be, be extra kind to yourself, as you are being stretched into greater mastery and learning, see it that way. Cultivate and maintain a healthy sense of humour, do not take it all so personally as it is not just happening to you in any and all extreme stressful situations.
2, This one has a part 1 & 2 and I wanted to answer both, as they are thought-provoking and very wise in their asking.
Part 1) Due to the impact of Covid 19 Pandemic, consumer expectations have shifted, especially in countries in Asia, most places adopted a Kiosk system, where the buyer simply orders from the machines. This creates no sense of human touch in serving the customer and there are no expectations. Michael, what are your thoughts on this generation getting used to machines rather than humans?
Answer: Sadly we are already there and this is thanks to the I phones and the like, I will not use this space to speak of the good that all this A.I. stuff does, but I am seeing this more and more when I train new hires from a younger generation, the focus gets lost in an instant, each individual at some point, will find their way hopefully out of this false bubble of disengagement, yes I am one of the ones that says heads up on the street and at work with everyone is looking down onto their phones and not looking where they are walking, is there hope that this will change? This is up to the ones who enjoy the process of engaging others, we lead by example and machines can never take the place of humans..
Part 2) For The new generation who are entering the luxury hospitality industry, what are the three keywords that you would emphasize?
Answer: Be Authentic, Take Risks, Patience
3, Michael, you always seem so confident when I see you at Holt Renfrew and working on any new VIP events, how did you develop this confidence to speak with strangers with such ease and how can others cultivate this skill?
Answer: Practice, practice, practice, this confidence that you speak of came over time, by forcing myself into situations or careers where I was intimidated to at least try. I was born with the showman gift who does enjoy being out front and center, and you need that talent if you are in fact out in front in service. The fake it till you make it also helped, being thrown into challenging roles with no training, you have to learn to trust your gut and master the art of following that intuition, people are people, we are all the same and all people want some love, kindness and to connect, remember that, beyond any status, we are all the same, not being afraid to fail and get pie on your face, this is how we learn and become the masters of our chosen crafts.
4, How has the service industry changed over the years? How have you adapted to these changes?
Answer: Oy Vey the changes with the times, they have changed big time with online shopping and the get it now, get it quick, faster is better philosophy or is it? This has created way to much unnecessary stress for all in our field and how we now market our goods across the boards, as a collective society it can feel at times, we have lost a certain amount of natural patience and social graces, people need to reflect and remember a letter took ten days to get to another person, that we had to wait to get home to play our answering machines messages, this has effected our industry big time, this also accounts for many leaving the industry, yet I have hope, the eternal optimist as in poly anna type, that most will see the insanity of this crazy-making and slowly learn how to get back to that place of patience and human connecting, I thought the pandemic would bring this out but sadly it has created even more impatience and daily fears. For myself, I have adapted by having a solid energy of self-respect, love of our industry and enjoy any new way to learn, master, and adapt, it’s a daily reminder when you witness the impatience to not go off the rails as in do not jump into the fray and join the circus, of what we can call as unhelpful behavior and entitlement. Wow, this question hit a mark. Not a trigger,
5, What do you consider is the most important thing when providing a positive and memorable service experience?
Answer: Be yourself, come from the heart, be authentic and educate yourself so you are the master of your craft, service, and products when a client/customer is standing in front of you, take ownership with pride, memorable service and experience come from giving them that something extra, what they never knew they wanted or could receive, we call this going above and beyond, it is in the details, where another may overlook or think why bother, that’s when you need to step up your game, last but not least, never and I mean never pre-judge a book by its cover, welcome all, remember classy does not mean being snotty or indifferent.
Motivator, Wordsmith & Hospitality Specialist
The Love Of Books, The Pleasure Of Reading…
For as long as I can remember. I have always found great comfort and pleasure in reading. Gathering knowledge that fits who you are and your natural interest in this world, a great book is like finding that pot of gold with your name on it. Nothing to my way of thinking can take the place of a good book, the ones you hold in your hands with pages.
It’s not escapism this love of reading, though reading and enjoying a good book has been described as such. For me it’s a constant finding home again and again or a long-lost friend, who has brought to you a series of knowings, validations, connectedness, and desires fulfilled in the adventures found within the pages of a new book, and the experience of reading for pleasure.
Growing up along the eastern coast of Canada in the backwoods as I like to refer to them with a big city taste, lead me to my first library card, our town did not have much but it did have a well-stocked classy library of books and as it was new, the town invested in building it with the latest international décor, it had some Zen taste.
As a curious and independent-minded teenager, those books found within that small town library became my friends and solace away from the daily bullying, loved biographies of others who achieved not just outer worldly success but lived to the tune of their own music, again inspiring this young mind to explore and be validated when there was no one else to do this. History and other cultures to see and know more about the world, and fashion magazines to help create my style and interest in the industry I would end up in.
When I find a good book, regardless of the topic or theme I am most interested in, my latest find has now captivated my reading interest from Pachinko by the brilliant storytelling author Min Jin Lee. Books such as this gem, not only inspires one to cultivate a strong will and character but also help us in uncertain times to stay in that place of perseverance in the face of many odds, though I am only 100 pages in, I can safely describe it in part in this way and the immense pleasure I am receiving from reading it.
A writer’s life consists of time alone well spent, to reflect, learn and take in what they are observing, yet also what they are learning from the books they are reading and the words that they would like to master and use in creative ways of expressions in getting their message across, though I do love this bit of writers wisdom, write like no one will read it, this is to delete the self-critic when writing so the words can flow organically, the best kind of writing.
A reader’s life is always filled with contentment found in the invite to a new book to explore and enjoy, best sellers or not, for the love of reading and respect for the books and authors that give us the world, will never grow old or out of style to this lover of books and a good story.
For myself it will always be the books with pages old school you can hold in your hands, this is where the ongoing magic and love of reading continues, a good story well written in captivating simplicity, will always inspire hope, courage, wisdom, knowledge, and more dreams to be lived and realized….
“Not Just An Endless Well” Self Care In High Voltage Times…
No one is ever too busy to adopt and cultivate the practice of radical self-care. It has been proven by many positive examples, 5 minutes that’s right kids, just 5 minutes regardless of where you may be, in quiet meditation, yoga breathes or a form of prayer gives you even more energy and internal calm to get it all done, without becoming a crazy person.
I never applaud those who choose and it is a choice to overdo, overbook themselves out of fear, or obligation, or have yet to learn to support themselves in a more positive light beyond people pleasing. This new article is not therapy speak, but wisdom from a well-lived life with others. The overdoing and being so busy with external distractions to my way of thinking when it is hurting and depleting my health and sanity is like any other form of out-of-control addiction, only you’re not putting it in your arm, up your nose, or drinking it.
Yes, there are times we must get it all done and have to perhaps overextend for a brief time, but sisters and brothers, allowing that to become an excuse or unhealthy pattern is not why we are here in this world. We are human beings to quote a wisdom from the new age, not just humans.
Positive change in the world starts with you, with us, how you choose to navigate these times, will certainly make a positive light not just for your own peace of mind, but the ripple effect will assist others and the planet as well, mother earth does not need one more angry tired over booked complaining person. Nor do your co/workers, friends, and family care about you. Ah hello, she is already sending us more than a few signs that it’s later than we think and we all need to get a healthier self-respectful way of living in this world.
For the benefit of my readership and as a wise positive reminder to myself of late. I have put together a simple list of suggestions below, they work and have been tested and tried, of course, you are more than welcome to add your own, or speak to a friend who emulates a positive self-care practice. We have so many resources at our disposal that earlier generations did not or need. Perseverance and a brave kind heart are what is needed for these new now High Voltage stressful times that we all share.
What Makes A Good Self-Care Practice, The How To
1, It is all about balance and adapting to the new, just start with one simple thing you can do for yourself that you know is good for you
2, Make the time and it does take a commitment just like mastering a degree, caring for your family and a job, putting the same amount of energy and commitment
3, Time alone and resting away from others, so you can hear yourself think or better yet hear that wise inner voice we call intuition
4, Want what you want and stop beating yourself up about it, this decreases stress
5, Less time with all drama queens and run do not walk from the energy vampires of the world, they do not pay your bills or leave you feeling uplifted
6, Say no as a full sentence
7, Walks in or just sit in nature, you do not have to check in to the Ritz or a fancy yoga retreat to know Zen or buy special products unless it’s a guided meditation download or a book that feeds your spirit not your worries
How To Know Your In Big Need Of Self Care
1, Always tired and saying so, what’s draining you, or is your body and higher self telling you it’s time to stop?
2, Spending way too much time with drama queens and listening to the complainers of the world, do not answer those testy calls, that’s why we have call screen, ah hello!!!!!
3, Your patience is at ground zero, you’re taking everything way way to personally and your speaking filter is more sassy than usual without the humor
4, You only eat to keep going, not a good thing without out enjoying the ritual of healthy food and having time to enjoy it
5, You have forgotten how to say NO as a full sentence, and no you can not read on with the Yes But Michael, No No, those days are over.
6, You cannot remember the last time you took one full day for yourself or an extra day off, sick days are not just for when your sick, they also read as self-care is needed days ahhh
7, Way too much sugar is not a healthy food nor is junk food as a replacement for one having more power and vitality…
Till the next article, may these words not just remind and empower you to have more self-care but to cultivate practices in this life that feed your soul, feed your dreams, and keep you in good shape emotionally and mentally. Cause people: these are high voltage times and we will overcome them into even greener pastures and better days, how do I know this, my self-care and Zen peace when healthy and not overbooked tells me so….
How Resilience Shows Us The Way To Adapt & Thrive…
Resilience Part 2, this is a follow-up companion article to my latest Instagram reel that was posted last week. The response was so positive and by a welcoming recommendation from one of my followers, the lovely Miss Genia, who was curious to know more about resilience, and so here it is.
Every emotion, thoughts, and words of wisdom comes with its own unique setting, like adjusting your google search, they each have a purpose and energy, which I believe to be true, as an example of living life with astute wisdom, one who is in the process of trying to manifest more money and abundance and who is not these days, would be wise to cultivate more trust and faith to help the process along.
Granted there are times in this life that we wish those pesky lessons that we have walked through time and time again, would either disappear or become something else without the heartache, still, when you think of a great Samurai mastering the sword of truth, it does not happen while he sits in the village stuffing his face with bonbons.
Always in life when we are asking for more, be it wisdom or skills to create and attract more fulfillment, we will be tested as if the generous universe is asking us, Hey do you really want this? Are you ready to do the work involved to have it? It is part of the game of life, in learning and mastery.
Resilience affords us the grace of having a positive outlook in the face of adversity as well as gives us the push of needed confidence to begin again. Having failed in equal amounts of many pleasurable successes. I can assure you and write this with a certain amount of confidence.
Endurance offers us that strength to hold on a little bit more, resilience will offer you that positive outlook with no looking back or staying too long in the why the heck did this not work out? It invites us to keep going and start again. Resilience in my own professional life has given me that extra bounce in my step to stay the course until the new and better arrives amongst adversity.
Resilience teaches us the bounce back in life, being resilient does not mean settling or tolerating less-than-pleasing situations, yet it will certainly assist with finding your grove and holding onto it when all is not clear or faced with yet again another obstacle.
Timing is so of the essence in this life in achieving one’s dreams, goals, and intentions. Never mind find your balance, find, and adapt with your Resilience monitor set to the channel of the yes I can factor. Be the king and queen of the needed bounce back to succeed in the game of life. As I have said many times in my articles fortunes come and go, yet a fortune is a lesson learned with a side of wisdom, that will always give you that needed edge of positive hope that resilience can be counted on to bring.
Odd Jobs, The This And That Of Life, Contributing To Ones Career Successes
If you speak with me for more than ten seconds, you may or may not get the impression that my life and professional path was a straight line. I never wished for that or even thought about it until recently. This topic comes to the surface to be reviewed when I meet so many wonderful young people in my work, who are diligent and committed to going to university, most knowing or not what they want to do or why they are there.
Years ago when I polished shoes at Nordstrom as a profession and it is. I treated it old school with respect for the art and the craft. I would through conversations when a client was in the shoeshine chair, if they were someone going to school. I would ask how did they know what to study, what path to take and if it was their choice? Sadly, more often that not, half said it was what their parents wanted.
This baffled me and some times today still does. I was always very fiery and determined in my life and any form of traditional schooling or study was not for me, though I did do my research on topics that called to me for my own learning and mastery of a few subjects that were and remain of interest. Case in point, most whom I spoke with back then were well aware of the pay off of there choice, as in a rented paid condo, nice car, and cash if they studied the academics set in front of them by another.
Oy vey my poor mother Doris, with my being the youngest son it was not going to happen, traditional schooling, traditional life. I had too much to do and set off at a very young age to explore and become what I am today. If you only do what others expect of you to please them, does it not at some point create miserable souls spending to much time at the bars or lost on twitter and grinder. To try get some inspiration or reprieve from doing what one never really wanted to do in the first place. As we know, in this life fortune favors the bold and it does take courage to say no and set sail to your own ship of choice.
This is only one way of looking at it. I am sure many went on and were pleased at the guidance they received and never questioned it, that’s more than fine. Like the this and that in the title of this new article, it is what makes up the mix we call a well lived life or needs to be. Odd jobs, my lord, not sure if the many I have tried and did for a minute or a month were odd, some were unusual, totally fun, and interesting, some paid very very well $$$ others I did like many, to cover those in between times and pay the bills.
The CV of odd jobs, yet added to a professional respected profile
Market research call centre, one shift out of a Toronto main office, not for me. Going to work at my brother’s popular truck stop after being a city kid for more than ten years with my punk rock regalia, perhaps was odd for the truckers I served their all-day breakfast to, but to live with my family again for a short time in the country, that job served me very well and taught me to adapt and be with others not of my big city New York tribe.
Selling fake diamonds all though very trendy in look and they do have a proper name Cubic something or other in the Toronto Eaton centre out of a cart, that was a two-day gig again not for me. Being a welcoming host at a home show. I had visons of house and gardens ala Debby Travis yet this construction company gave you nice windows, call my agent please, yet I never made selling this service so glam and they appreciated it.
The many hair and beauty trade shows where I was the west coast representative for Salon magazine, who always proudly sold the most new subscription sign ups. Salon being the Canadian hair and beauty industry bible. I did with joy each and every year the ABA was on here at our Vancouver Convention center.
The funniest and challenging and I make it so when I retell the story, was to sell Christian Dior Couture bridal in a fancy Toronto uptown dress shop complete with fountain, those dresses ball gown style where so dam heavy and to keep going to the back of the shop, schlepping another for an undecided unhappy demanding bride to be with a frustrated mother, took its toll on this wannabe stylist one fine morning after vacuuming the entrance. I passed the vacuum to the proprietor wealth diva of the shop and said, thanks but not thanks.
In reflection when I look back. I can see how many of those experiences lead me to who and what I am today professionally and certainly able to manage a large crowd, its where I shine and feel confident, so all the odd jobs were not so odd nor was the this and that of my life passages. They may have been filler for a time pre getting that big gig.
So, take heart if you find yourself in one of those odd job times, we call this sitting in the middle. Its not just waiting, but how you choose to succeed and travel through that time that will make all the difference in your life, and if you have to sing for your dinner while serving it at a local dinner theatre café one more odd job, ensure you get union rate and desert.
“Life Passages “Opening To New Adventures
Fear not brave warriors and sail on into the new, be it a new territory to set up shop, home, a new work opportunity that has been calling you or that you have created, it has finally now come to pass and you see it on the horizon, as in dreams do come true.
When we think or are desiring positive change, at times our normal human traits can come to the surface beyond the good ones such as excitement and earned confidence. Instead, it could be those dark clouds that bring in the doubt and create resistance to the new.
Life is an adventure to quote a timeless saying, that saying was not created to just to look good on a T shirt that you purchased on a cruise to Alaska, my name’s sake. When we open up to a new adventure that has finally arrived, take heart, you may need to gather all of your courage and tenacity to jump aboard that moving ship, whose destination may not even be in sight, and this dear fellow travelers is where that trusty compass of faith comes in.
I reflect on these words and the inspiration for this new article, when I recently traveled to assist one of my favorite older sisters Diane, to pack up a life of many years as she is now alone since her beloved John passed. She is a woman of almost 80 wise years, who has had many adventures, raised with her soul mate a family of four, many successful businesses, a trail blazing entrepreneur and very helpful advocate in her many communities being of service.
She choose those words, open to a new adventure to be her guide for this new passage. I learned to adopt that helpful philosophy many years ago said to me by a world-renowned author and teacher when I was in between gigs, as in a new career path had not arrived, yet the old was done. Michael, point your compass forward no looking back, use these words in thoughtful mindfulness, next adventure where to, it became my mantra and certainly assisted with my landing a new dream job at Gucci.
I loved that, as it took the focus off of money that I needed, salary that I was desiring and all the other worldly concerns that we must take care of to stay afloat and on top of things. It never occurred to me, not try to go for the new once I adopted and believed in that life strategy of open to a new adventure.
Today I can feel the tides turning in my favour, the fruit of my hard work and professional dedication to be The Ultimate Welcoming Host, Motivational Speaker and on the spot Peer Coach coming into play, bringing potential new possibilities where I am currently employed and others, yet dissolving the fear of that old non helpful life jacket of resistance and self doubt. Hey these are wonky times none like we have ever encountered, so new strategies are needed.
In closing, I invite each of you skilled navigators in the game of life and changing times and fortune, like myself, to set your sails towards some new harbours or revisit a few old ones left behind. Who knows perhaps those places/people and situations new and old are offering you some much needed new adventures and life passage. I mean, how else we will be able to set sail to the new, claim those buried treasures, unless we leave the harbour and explore.
Times When Solitude Is Needed
Right off the bat with this new article by Michael yours truly, I must express the following. Solitude is not loneliness or self-imposed isolation. Solitude is always needed as a weekly or even a daily check in, away from the maddening crowd as an old movie poster once describe their recent hit.
It is needed when you, the inner you is finding way too much outer or inner chaos or confusion, and you are in a place to make some new needed decision on your own, clarity and guidance is always found within. Yes talking to close friends, trusted colleagues or any form of professional support can assist.
Yet once we received that support, there may be times we still need a deep dive to coin a new pop culture expression, not sure where that one came from. The dive is into your own energy, your thoughts, stillness and away from others and all exterior distractions makes this so.
Most highly creative, empathic, and intelligent people, leaders and spiritualist have always like the monks sought the inner solace of the temple, the temple within. Here you meet your true self or the one you been avoiding, that is trying to get your attention to live with more self care and to practice better professional and personal boundaries.
Ahhh the graces of Solitude calling me home to self, what magic and eye-opening revelations will come through. In solitude I do not expect anything, like the answers to the usual million-dollar questions as to the meaning of the life.
The purpose and meaning of life, is just to put one foot in front of the other, if you do not know your purpose and many do not, until you try a few things on, a few different paths and it does not always have to be career or goal oriented, though most of society would disagree.
The landscape is changing dear readers of our world and how we were supposed to perceive things. Company culture and not just so they can appear hip or current, are using expressions like Unplugging, Energy, Me Time etc.. So, they too are seeing the value for one to maintain their va va vroom at work for further success contributions, the need to unplug and check inward not so much outward constantly.
Solitude invites us for some much-needed alone time. What does your Solitude ask of you? How will you spend your time in Solitude? Will you seek the peace that this quiet away from all can offer you, please do not spend it in worry or unfounded fears that will never come to pass? Like anything that may be new, we try, we give it a chance and see how one feels. Who knows , perhaps the brilliance of who you may have forgotten will be found in Solitude.
The Subtleness Of Natures Grace, Lucky Ladybug
Having studied with a natural interest and passion in symbolism and meaning for animals and nature since being young. I welcomed the visit from a lucky ladybug who landed on my hand while having a peaceful picnic in the park. Days off are now called the Michael PEACE Summit and no interruptions or other worldly drama gets a pass in. I know all can relate to this and not just on our days off.
Ladybug in the language symbolism for having good Feng Shui represents luck, good fortune, blessings and as soon as she landed, I knew this and did receive much good fortune that day. I never doubt the wisdom or the healing ways and knowledge of old, of certain traditions that have been passed done through our generations and cultures.
These symbolisms and meaning are of greater value now more than ever. Knowing this, a walk to work or out in nature becomes more of a learning wisdom adventure. For when I see a small, tiny ant walking by, never crush this little friend, he/she is the reminder to be patience with faith at this time. That’s one of their messages and meaning.
Life can send us billboards in unique ways of getting the message home both Suttle and big. So being awake at the wheel of one’s life and the subtleties is vital to all potential magical moments for ones needed Zen Peace, that are there each day to encourage and inspire. These times that I share with you do not need to wait for a day off, take a brief walk at lunch, a mini peace summit at lunch close to any nature. Who knows, lucky ladybug may just be bringing your some good news and much good fortune.
The Think Before You Speak Theory & Wisdom
For many of us, who devote our trained professional passions out in the world in some form of service. Using one’s words and knowing when to read the crowd is vital to smooth sailing for most days. Yet knowing instinctively when to adjust and adapt your speech, tone, and navigation skills in todays ever new and changing challenges is key to one’s sanity, peace, and enjoyment in your work.
With that as an intro for this weeks new Article By Michael. We now ask? When does this philosophy, that is as old as time from many traditional and linages come into play to our benefit to not just contemplate but use?
This would be the Think before you speak, or as a hard-core Buddhist teacher once shared, think twice say nothing. I have found and learned the hard way the many blessings and benefits to these teachings and wisdoms. There are times to speak up full in one’s graces and power, then the opposite where it best left unsaid.
Reality versus wishing thinking…A masters view of things
I use to narrow it down when I taught certain teachings in my popular seminars that I hosted at the Vancouver YWCA the following truth. When you express your truth, voice your real opinion, always ensure it is not laced with any old and I mean old built-up resentments, we can fall into so many traps when we think we are in the driver’s seat of our expressions, if we are not carful to misdirect our let’s just say less than classy emotions, that need a tune up into the present.
Be ready for when you speak your truth, my opinion. Two things will happen when you do, be it in a marriage, friendship or in a work relationship. Depending on who you’re speaking to, the reactions once you voice what needs to be said, you will either be respected and embraced further, as in the relationship will continue into greeter steed. Or you will be given the heave ho as in no more contact, and at times doors may slam in your face.
The wisdom of truth and sharing it…
When we think of speaking our truth, this is not a time or invitation to shine with venting or using this as an excuse to express old grudges of judgment unrelated to the now, which I see and unfortunately hear time and time again.
When others use this phrase, I am just speaking my truth, yes well that’s fine but why is it laced with so much anger and judgment, there is a difference between helpful wisdom that’s uplifting and supportive, and the opposite which is just there to take down one’s character.
In my work, that wise inner compass and voice of mine seasoned to read the crowd to a tee from years in the bizz, has been letting me know to follow that teaching, “Think twice say nothing, as well as to think pre speaking.” This is a good rule of thumb for our extended very sensitive unsure times, the world and its lovey souls who share it, we are all still slowly coming out of the Covid comas and faced with more environmental stresses than ever before.
As with most valuable teachings one masters in the game of life or worth while Mastering, they do not always come easy, the learnings can be hard, we each in our own way I know can relate to today’s main topic and theme.
They probably remind you of areas, people, places and or situations you wished you would of spoke up or else shut it tight like a clam. Today, I will certainly think pre speaking, yet not out of fear of being misunderstood, but rather, the words that I choose to say or not. Ensures that I am in the driver’s seat of an ever-winding road of daily adventures in learning and mastery, onward we go.
Maintaining The At Of Service When All Are To Plugged In…
In the Art of service within our hospitality and luxury retail environment. It takes a seasoned well rounded professional and service master, not to be offended or take it personally when your gracious welcoming greetings and or communications go ignored. Our job is to maintain our professional stance in service each and every time in the positive.
We do it for the love of our industry and most in my field who rise to the top, consider what they do at the Concierge desk, as your Doorman, Welcoming Host, Sales Associates and more to the list, that it is a calling, which when done well, always to the onlooker comes across as seamless, this is where the mastery in hospitality is always viewed and respected.
One of the best observations and questions I have ever received as the in store ultimate welcoming host / Maître D’ in my role at Holt Renfrew store Vancouver, was from one of our lease partner professionals came up to me and said, Michael do you ever take offence when your greetings are ignored or go unnoticed? I notice you bring it every time no matter what. No never came my reply.
Our world in general can easily be described as being too too plugged in with all of the electronic gadgets, I phones and the famous ear pods for talking and walking. I may be classically trained as in old school in the art of service, but I am fully aware of the times we now live in and how people choose to navigate when out in the world.
Can one be too plugged in?
If you are a hospitality and service professional, you will certainly enjoy this article, and the validation that these words are conveying to cheer you on, giving voice to what is becoming the new norm more and more, as time moves on in our very fast paced world.
Helpful tips when dealing with others who may be too plugged in, lost on their phones, or ear pods and expect you to decode what they are asking, without switching it all off to hear your response. Maintain your humour, use this as a practice to just stay at the top of your professional game in the art of service. Even after all these many years in the field. I love to be inventive and creative in my greetings and response to new situations or the routine, one must stay fresh.
Ear Pods Plugged in or not, all who enter into our luxury store, get the royal treatment in service and positive impactful welcoming, A lot of times it has been proven that those wearing the ear pods can hear you, how do I know. I am innately curious so I asked. The response was. that no not all times are the plugged in pods on. Kind of like using them as a private town car with tinted windows for privacy or a good pair of designer shades, to deflect any unwanted attention or being disturbed, I get it.
Humour is life’s greatest diffuser of weird stressful situations, and I love what I read in a recent twitter feed by the always on the ball New York man of style and wit George Hahn, “phones were invented and meant to be up to your ear and by your mouth to talk and listen, not out in front of your face with you yelling into them.” I love that.
Yet the true professional in hospitality will continue to adapt and bring their best greetings, welcoming’s, and service each and every time, regardless of what the world is going through or how plugged in or out people may be. They can still hear you, sense your energy and as we all know, its show time when you hit that floor and the cameras are now literally on you.
The warmth of a natural greeting in the Art of service can never be replaced. The human touch and connectedness will always be welcomed and needed in our industry and in life. When asked what are you are saying? As one unplugs, just tell them, you were passing them todays lucky lotto winning numbers but now you forgot them, the moment has passed.
Trail Blazers In Mindfulness & Action “AIDS” The Early Days
The two ladies, trail blazers that I speak of in my new article Marianne Williamson and Louise Hay, were on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic, and many of us from those early days myself included did not know much about AIDS besides the stigma that was running rampant in the general population. Like so many others, I am from an era who lost many of my peers same age group, lovers, friends, professional colleagues, and community to AIDS.
Have I seen it all? No not all. I have seen and witnessed a lot, held people’s hands while they lay dying, massaged the bodies of friends who were infected and would be going home to spirit soon from their hospital bed at Mt Sinai Toronto hospital. Attended memorials that played fabulous disco music as an anthem of freedom and celebration of one’s life.
The following two stories need to be told as positive reminders of what it means to live a life devoted to service and mindfulness in helping others. Even in our more liberal media and groups today may have forgotten and are not aware, what these two trail blazers did. I certainly do not and many others who benefited from their grace and acts of kindness. I give you Marianne Williamson and Louse L Hay.
Marianne Williamson whose wisdom and teachings grew popular through her books and many visits on the Oprah show, many do not know but like Louise Hay who created her own publishing house, both these trail blazers and positive thought leaders, contributed to creating firsthand programs to assist all with AIDS in the early days, when there was not the help, resources, support and or the drugs we have today.
Beyond the stigma of those early days through the Eighties and early Nineties , Marianne in her grace always the helper of the people was the founder of Project Angel Food who delivered meals to all who were home bound at the time from AIDS.
Louise Hay, google her if you do not know of her work, created weekly and then monthly gatherings called Hayrides in Los Angeles, for all who had AIDS, offering group talks, healing meditations and a chance for others to meet others who were going through the AIDS crisis at the time. Friends of mine who attended these always shared how they felt so much love and needed support, which assisted them in their healing journey from the virus on many levels
It is inspirations like these that I turn to, reminding myself, its not the amount one gives with dollars, energy, or time but the amount of goodness without attachment, fear, judgments or expectations that has that trickle down effect, as in pass it along and continues onward, touching the past, empowering the present and healing the future.
How To Disengage From Less Than Pleasing Conversations
In my hospitality seminar that I have created and will be launching fall 2022, offers the 10 Key Hospitality & Service Pillars that I adhere to in the art of service. One of the pillars is how to disengage from unwelcoming one sided conversations. There are two types of incidents that call for this trusted wisdom.
All of us in the profession of service and hospitality, are well aware that presentation and communication is key, and must be done with the utmost care, tack, diplomacy, and gracious humour at all times. That’s why I feel so strongly that this Key and Topic is vital in maintaining one’s professional graces in Art of service and in one’s daily conversations.
Often I will see colleagues struggle with these two listed in dept below as to not offend or how to manage and disengage from those less that inspiring or pleasing one sided exchanges. This has nothing to do with age or number of years of experiences in one’s industry in how to handle.
The first one; would be a coworker who loves to fill your ear with complaints and general dissatisfaction, we all have bad days but these types of individuals seem to thrive and function from that stance. I as I am sure you have no time for this once you realize this is their shtick, as we all try each new day and work shift to maintain and do our best, you need to hold that positive energy for your customers, self, space where you work and clients.
The most effective way to stop this from happening, is the following response. I would love to be able to listen to these concerns but I have a very busy day and must attend to a number of things. I suggest with no rolling of the eyes or letting them know your onto them, not that they would notice as it usually is all about them, take these concerns (complaints) up with your manager or floor leader. I am sure they will be glad to assist you, take good care and off you go, end of story.
Number two; would be what I call the passer by, in the old days they may be described as time wasters, now this is not a regular or potential new customer or guest, a committed shopper or the truly interested in what you are offering be it in a hotel property or a retail store.
These are the folks that assume you have the time to listen to their long and I mean long nonstop story, that feels like ten lifetimes oy vey. A seasoned pro will know that this is happening within a few moments. I know I always do. This is not from being a bad listener, this is from the reminder that where we stand, we are here to be of service to our calling, our team, and the brand experience of our store and or hotel for our customers.
Cutting them off at the path is done with professional etiquette and grace. One simply says, oh how wonderful to see you, please excuse me as I must take this VIP call and meeting and continue enjoying our wonderful amenities and store while you shop or if hotel guest for your stay.
Then simply get busy in another area for a few moments, this does the trick in most cases. I offered this guidance to a newly pop-up shop when I witnessed this happening with the associates, they loved this most gracious and classy helpful tip, you would of thought I passed them gold, and all forms of wisdom in our business that ensures smooth sailing is gold.
To all who continue to live these hospitality and service pillars, one thing that I have always enjoyed and respected within our shared industry is how the true professional adapts with grace, humour, flexibility, and style each new day and opportunity to welcome others.
Should you and or your company be interested in booking The Hospitality Talk & Motivations, the full details of the talk with rates and availability starting fall 2022, please reach out via this website.
Till next article have a great day in the neighbourhood, Michael
Succeeding In The In Between
“Those In Between times in life are our great teachers and motivators” Michael Alaska
When we think of living in the in between. I am not referring to something you cannot actually feel or touch, as in how things work in the Matrix the movie. Succeeding in the in between in now time, is how we hold to our dreams, faith, and desires when no matter what we try towards creating the new, nothing moves forward or happens and this can go on for months, even years.
When faced with being in the In Between otherwise known by some great teachers and authors as a desert period in one’s life. What does one do, do you fold up your tent of ambition or desires and say what’s the use? I say we choose the masters way and embrace this time, that is not our past that we have outgrown and are now ready to say goodbye to, and it and most certainly not our future we are hoping for, that has yet to come.
When given the tools and helpful tips to proceed and navigate with trust for those extended quiet and non movement times. With these thoughts and awareness in mind. I have compiled a simple yet powerful list below based on my own experiences in regards to todays article, to assist all if you are in fact in the In Between.
As with all of my Articles By Michael featured here and upcoming motivational talks to be posted. It is my wish that this space, writings, and new inspirations add fuel to your own making of dreams and learning in our shared new now times, stepping outside of the box, and coloring outside of the lines fearlessly.
The Key Steps To Navigating With Confidence Through The In-between
Step 1: View all roadblocks at this time with a renewed perspective, as in a blessing
Step 2: Cultivating Patience and Faith as your guidepost
Step 3: Use this time to fine tune your dreams and intentions
Step 4: Choose what are you learning at this time from this experience, then master it
Step 5: Maintain a practice of mindfulness and other forms that empower the positive
Step 6: What Power would best suit you at this time?
Step 7: Read books / watch videos that inspire, encourage and valid on this topic
Step 8: In vision with the practice of creative visualization at least once per day for five minutes, seeing you in your ideal situation and positive outcome, hold this in your minds eye and then bless it with your good intentions
Till next time, travel well, learn lots and then share the good with others, this creates the good vibes that bounce right back onto your In Between time, that will assure your success on the other side of it, Michael
Michael Alaska @ Alaska Inc
“I Remember All Who Did Return My Call”
“Want to get things done, ask a busy person who is well organized and lives with passion”
I learned the value of being a straight up communicator from many great mentors and wise friends over the years, the importance of expressing gratitude with a handwritten note as I continue to do this day, as did Jackie Kennedy, its an act to paraphrase one of my favorite sayings that remains old school classy!!! As well as retuning all calls or Emails, regardless of the query.
We learn from the best who lead by example, years past when I would reach out to top CEOs in the fashion industry and those who owned the company with a request for a business meeting to promote a designer, idea or where might I pass a CV within their company. Most always answered directly and this has taught me, that they have great memories of who assisted them on the way up. This spoke well of their character and how they conducted business.
Professional etiquette is expected of anyone out here in the world who is actively engaged in seeking employment. It has been stated time and time again through the professional head-hunters, what companies and HR department expect from you as a job seeker.
Such as know a few things on the place and people you are applying to pre your interview, do a follow up, which I do not believe is always necessary, you gotta go with your gut on that one, and once you have had an interview, then send a thank you note, a real one sent in the post, old school does have its charm. Many who became my manager after hiring me always kept that card on their desk, they were surprised people still did this.
When you get to a certain place in your career successes, exploration, and professional confidence as I have through trial and error, at least at this point I can say. I did try and go after each new path with gusto, fortunately along the way I met many more than not, wonderful helping hands from all walks of life and worldly acclaim to share a hand up and their wisdom and encouragement.
Do I take any offence now when I reach out to others with a professional request and they go ignored on unresponsive?
No, not anymore I do not take it personally, for whatever reason and it is a choice not to respond, regardless of how much personal and professional assistance I may have shared with them. We all have our own lessons to learn, gaining power and true self worth and self esteem does not just come from being good at one’s craft, it comes from life lessons as we all master the game of life through different experiences and challenges.
If life has taught this successful entrepreneur and at times self employed business owner anything is this, you do not need to waste any time or thoughts on, those doors that seem sticky, ignoring you and will not budge, go through the ones that welcome you and have the goodness to honour your gifts and talents weather master or beginner, this dear reader is how one becomes truly successful in the game of life, with a contented heart and worldly wisdom that you now get to share with others, as you choose to answer those calls and Emails, and lend a hand up.
Hopefulness, Acts That Inspire…
You probably do not start your day thinking or knowing, all your acts of kindness, positive support, and graciousness in our ever-changing world, brings HOPEFULLNESS to another. We really never know until someone tells us or we are in the quiet time of reflection on days off, away from the world, you get the message. You have made another’s day, without you really knowing it, with a kind word, a hug or giving a gift out of the blue for no reason.
Mother Teresa and her brave face of true compassion, with her courage and giving without looking to be acknowledged, is/was the real deal in hopefulness. She spread all of her light and chosen path with that radiance, that without words inspired millions to heed the call and contribute in this world with acts of kindness and giving, She and others like her, which we may not know of, continue to encourage all to bring that peace of hopefulness to all situations.
Last week in my own life and sharing of my writings, videos and photos on my Instagram page at Michael Alaska Official came such a delightful comment, that lifted my spirits in the moment with positive hopefulness, made by the lady Sue, she may call me sweetheart but she is the sweetheart with her kind words in person or left online.
My best friend and soul brother here in Vancouver Jose, who serves the world each day and week with his uplifting messages, wellness expertise and positive support for body, mind, and spirit, always inspires and gives me hopefulness, while cheering so many on and my own new projects such as this website.
Hopefulness this day resides inside of a life well lived and understood beyond what one may call a wise platitude, as in This Too Shall Pass and What Am I Learning From This Lesson that life has sent me. Good or bad, we have Hope when you can see it in the face of another, who perseveres regardless of challenges, a light that says keep moving, be Hopeful all is not lost in any moment of despair.
I have a Hopefulness that the website that I have created will attract the right individuals and or companies who will welcome and benefit from all of the newly updated featured services and writings, as well as the videos / photos that get posted on the IG, that they will bring some good and positive messages to inspire and motivate, how can I ask or even say this?
Well, I am surrounded by many wonderful faces of that very expression, who always try their utmost best and lead by example, and that dear reader is the real grace of being Hopeful and or knowing Hopefulness. Today as you go about your day and week unfolding, what and or who in your life has inspired you, to be Hopeful and to have a Hopeful attitude towards all?
All Work Is Honorable, Serving up joy and smiles at 530 AM
One of the many reasons I enjoy and use LinkedIn for an industry profile. Is that it allows me to connect with others from a vast array of professional backgrounds and interest. It also offers a positive thread of great articles, inspiration, and wisdom quotes to empower others, its platform in my humble view, is one of the few that has not become a space for out-of-control social media madness.
This new article was inspired by a woman’s story she posted on LinkedIn a few days back, she shared of her courage, passion, and endurance in creating a life for herself, supporting her studies while working a day job at a globally named fast-food sandwich shop. A friend or in my opinion seems more like a negative nelly, shamed her while telling her, with all of her past degrees to be working in such a place. She was not able to find work in her field currently and we can all relate to that at different times.
This type of projected judgment does not enrage me yet does make one wonder if parts of society has lost touch with the value of knowing that all work is honourable, regardless of pay cheque amount, title, prestige, university degrees. I am from an era call it old school, that was trained in the professional hospitality industry, by passionate men and woman who took pride in being while raising families, what we call an industry pro as a waiter or waitress, now called servers. Who taught me so much how to value one’s profession, that remains part of my solid work ethic and foundation I still adhere to today?
I took pride when I was in between jobs in the past that were not part of my full talents, pay scale and professional achievements, but also did them with gratitude and a positive mindset for the pay I was receiving. Having lived long enough and have written in this space before, to know that the winds of fortune can change on a dime.
I regret today and I have very few, that in school when it was career day, grade 4 or 5. I was embarrassed to say what my father John did for a living. In layman’s terms he drove a garbage truck or as he told me to say, son tell them your father is a sanitation engineer. A class act he was with his old Hollywood good looks, charm, an OG boat size Cadillac, the ones with fins.
God bless that man, he acquired this position in our rural township, because he had started with his own trucking company and entrepreneurial ideas, picking up people’s garbage for 25 cents at each place per week, this included local businesses pre the township having their own sanitation trucks.
Yes he was a proud immigrant from the old country of eastern Europe. One who could not speak English, when arriving here in Canada at 5 years old and spent more than a few years in grade one because of this, eventuality like my mother and others of the post world war one generation, left school to get jobs to help support and care for their families.
When in between professional engagements in the past. I always held the faith that a new post would come, you learn this as you master the game of life, one thing in this world that guarantees great success is Attitude, which I believe is everything. Being an invited popular TV guest back in the day, to speak on fashion and trends, came to me while serving a make up artist in a up scale Toronto café.
Opportunities are everywhere to those that allow themselves to be positivity magnets, rather than throw in the towel of what’s the use. Scratch the surface of any truly successful person who has remained humble with real integrity, and I am not talking about outer worldly signs of success and riches, that may appear as glamour.
They will tell you, that all those trappings fade, but the heart of one who has the grace of endurance, willingness to try, hard work, integrity, and gratitude, will always rise to the top of their chosen fields and dreams with the tenacity of reinvention and flowing with the currents, not against them.
I shall leave you with this thought. If you were to look within your own circle of connections be it family, colleagues, or friends, whom would you say is the example of the main theme of this article? How have they inspired you to believe and know that all work is honorable and do you now pass it along to others?
“Influencer’s” old school and new, who inspired your life & style…
To begin this new article by Michael. I would pose this question? There is so much talk out in our world of social media and in the moment advertising about Influencers. So, the question to you is, who were some of your original influencers who contributed to your life in the positive? Be it for a career, a style of dress, communications and or how you would like to be known out in the world?
Often when we reflect on this term Influencer, it may be a teacher, it could be one’s mother who had great style of dress and speech, a favorite aunt, uncle or even an older sister and let’s not forget the power of TV, books, movies, writers, and live theatre. These people that I speak of, to be a positive influence in one’s life, need not be famous or wearing the latest designer collab, or have a personal IG handle, that gives then the social media clout to be known as an influencer.
For myself, it would be from the world of old Hollywood. I use the term old as in the original Hollywood studio system and those great black and white movies, the film noir with the over that top yet embracing expressions from the screen, usually the star would be a gangster or someone who rose to the top from rags to riches by wit, glamour and a personal style that captivated. I guess the word I am looking for would be charismatic, in being one of the original influencers of the day or from a by gone era, which as we know in fashions history and language will come around again.
We do get influenced everyday, this is up to the individual in how you desire to let in and adopt certain styles, media, fashions, and communications. With so much choice, the influence now may stay for a one day, one month or as I prefer them to be long lasting with substance. Contributing to what you may already be interested in, adding that special touch and flare that gives you a much-needed ah ha moment or two.
We cannot judge a book or an influencer at face value, we are drawn to certain people, places, and situations as it presents some form of truth and originality. There will always be something for everyone on life’s menu to choose from. Earlier influencers in my life were a few insightful teachers that I was fortunate to have, who saw within me, a kid that belonged in the big cities of the world, with other creative souls who can walk freely, shine with like mindedness creatives, and strength in community until you find your groove.
If you are lucky to meet a few good mentors in magic as I like to call them along your path, that share their wisdom with style, grace, and a welcoming warmth. Then your halfway there in finding your own voice and style that influences. It happens naturally over time and through the bizz of living as you know me to say within my daily conversations and writings.
Be bold in the driver’s seat of your life, choose what works best for you, be the Real Deal that you would have liked to have met along the way, be it within a career path or life adventures, this to me is the most prominent influence you could hope to grasp, share in the positive and be.
A Few Of My Favorite Motivations that Uplift, Inspire & Heal…
Here are some of my favorite motivational and inspiring quotes, words, and passages that I have found to be extremely helpful in mastering the game of life, how to play it with integrity, style, and the ability to take risk through encouragement.
They have been gathered over time from more than a few wise teachers, writers, and came to me out of the blue and through people I admire and respect.
“Finance your faith” Not Fear
“Let it be enough,” as in just what you have and where you stand, live, and work this day, your life as it is, this inspires acceptance not settling
“Fortune favors the bold,” my fav when knowing its time to take a risk in action and words
Words have power to create magic, the positive or the opposite so use wisely
Its not what you give to another or what or how you say it, that will leave a lasting good feeling, it’s the energy behind the words and act of kindness
A grateful heart has a way to open doors and attract abundance
Never mistake a gentle man as week, it takes great compassion, fortitude, and strength to walk this life in this way
Dreams are with us to be lived and had, they are there in our thoughts and emotions for a reason
Money comes and goes, don’t freak out when the bank account is on empty or with little funds, again, trust and learn to flow with the ebb and flow, like the tide kids, it always rolls back in and so will the cash
Know when its time to pick up your bed and walk, as in heed a new call
Your choice, will you share worries, fears, or wisdom, you choose how you desire to live and make an impact
To all those wonderful writers, thought provokers, teachers both spiritual and other, soul family, friends and trusted work colleagues who have contribute to this wonderful list of day-to-day inspirations, in the creation of a life worth living large, I bow to each with heart felt gratitude and honest praise. Michael
Michaels New York Stories…
“In life there are places and people who impact your life in the positive, in becoming who you are, New York remains one of those treasures”
New York city has always been a very special place to me. I hold New York and my connection, the times, the places, and the amazing people that I have known who influenced this young kid of 16 who took the bus to New York from Montreal with my then friend Eddie. It would be years later that trips to NY came with town cars, limos, stays at the Plaza and meeting the famous close up and from a far.
Trip number one, only the beginning, how many can say they had a taxi ride in a traditional old school New York checkered cab by the popular and very famous for her wit and style Fran Leibowitz, who back in the 70, s was only one of two-woman cab drivers in Manhattan. Who dropped off Eddie and I at the Howard Johnsons in time square after a night of clubbing in the village?
2) Meeting my wonderful uncle Claude on my second trip who had the best digs on the upper east side, East 61 and the Park, classy as he was, who introduced my sister Deborah and myself to the real Manhattan, Claude and I became close over the years, he had a lot to teach me and show me of the ways of the world throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s, until he passed of AIDS like so many of my peers, friends and lovers from that era.
3) Walking past Elaine’s many days while staying at my friends Kathleen’s at 92 & Lex, the famed eatery of the famous, such as writers and celebrities of the Day. Elaine was a character and a true self-made New Yorker, with tenacity, wit and not afraid to give the unappreciative of her café the boot hands on. As nervy as I am, I regret not going in and introducing myself and asking for a job. I think we would have got along fine. To know more about this legend, google the Elaine Kaufman of Elaine’s New York.
4) Paper magazine Joey Arias who had a column called Chit Chat With Joey in the 1990.s, I was such a fan of the magazine, it was what Interview magazine once was, a treat to be introduced to him by Carmen owner of the popular Erbe spa on Prince street and spend an afternoon with this admired true to life real deal character, Drag artist performer, famed for his channeling Billie Holiday and to visit the Paper office and receive a signed copy of a magazine.
5) Introducing myself while on a work scouting trip to the designer Oscar de la Renta at a Saks 5 Th Ave event, the main store up town as in, Oscar so nice to see you again and then passing a CV, now that took nerve, I never did receive a call though there were a few hang ups with a New York area code on my dial up phone from that time.
6) Walking with adored gay Uncle Claude in Central park, still one of my favorite’s parks in the world, and Claude pointing out Andy Warhol up a head strolling with two gentlemen, New York is and or was the centre of the world, where all are welcomed and all can reinvent themselves no matter what background, if you’re interesting and interested, have the goods, you are invited to become one, a New Yorker.
7) This is another fav New York highlight, with my Robo Cop money, afforded me to treat myself to a deluxe suite at the Plaza hotel on Xmas day, met at the airport, LaGuardia always my airport of choice back then from Toronto by a driver and town car, its was very home alone like the movie complete with bouncing on the bed and having room service and watching that movie, then a stroll up 5 Th Ave with light snow falling along streets of New York on Christmas day eve, a true memory.
We Do It For The Glamour Or Do We?
The old saying, “we do it for the glamour” can still bring a few laughs from trusted colleagues in the know, when your deep in the weeds of a stressed filled busy time at your work. Many jobs or lifestyles from the outside, can be viewed or desired as glamourous but looks as we all know can be deceiving. To prove a point and to really get the flavour of this new article, ask any over night success with true longevity and they will tell you it took ten years or more.
All that may look glamorous or wonderful from the outside looking in, has taken that professional in their chosen field much stamina over time, commitment to learning, personal discipline and usually a good number of years out in their field of their chosen industry to master their craft to make it look effortless, done with professional ease at all times.
Like great actors on the stage, you rarely see them sweat unless its in the script, we never know what is going on behind the scenes, that makes it all flow and to feel seamless and inviting. This is what separates the novice from the seasoned pro in action.
I have always been drawn or was it my professional fate or interest that kept and attracted me to working with large crowds, places that are popular and busy, meeting and working with hundreds of people at a time.
This comes from my work in hotels, being on the front lines at Canada Place Peer welcoming all the disembarking passengers off of their cruise and those getting on, flying the friendly sky’s as one of 16 flight attendants on a jam packed Lochhead 1011 with seating up to 400 passengers from Montreal to Paris, being the Host in a popular jazz bar in Toronto. I guess you could say I am built and wired for this type of nonstop action and work rhythm.
It does take a certain type of mindset and individual to do the work that our luxury retail and hospitality industry invites us to do, the daily and moment by moment opportunities to make someone’s day, solo and as part of a respected team and colleagues, while at the same time contributing to the long-term goals as a whole unit for your company’s continued successes and profitability.
The glamour comes after a job well done, when you know you have succeeded and did your best, when you feel good within and can pat yourself on the back and say, good job, we did it again. The glamour from being an international flight attendant came after many long flights and works days, satisfying and navigating many request, inflight stresses and at times difficult in-flight managers, yet found it inside yourself to do another job well done and you now have a 3 days lay over in Paris in a glam hotel room. One of the reason you took the job was to see the world and complete one more career dream.
The glamour again came after many 17 hours night shoots in winter working on the Robo Cop TV series, then on your day off you are invited to be a guest on a popular TV interview show so you check that off your box of interest and the pay that allows constant trips to New York and an actors union card.
These are the perks that make you feel good, that your work reputation now transfers onto a solid CV with great life skills, making you a well-rounded professional who can be proud of what they set out to do in the face of obstacle’s and more than few setbacks and challenges along the way. Let’s not forget the nay Sayers and the ones who tried unsuccessfully to block your path up the mountain, yet you remained Polly Anna positive through it all, very learning of water off a ducks back, to quote a previous article.
Dreams are with us as I have written before to be lived and brought out into the world, they do not lie and if your dream comes from a sincere intention, that contributes to the good of this world on some level or many, then they certainly will give you great satisfaction when achieved, and at times the glamour of knowing you did it all with integrity, humour., courage and grace, now that’s timeless glamour you can be proud of, with a full rounded worldly style that has created a respected resume for life and work.
Its Not Personnel Until It Is… The Water Off A Ducks Back Theory
Perhaps the title of this new article could include in the second part of the title, its not personnel until you let it be. Water off a ducks back, let it slide. I have heard them all as I am sure you have. Trusting you have been out in the work field and life for more than a minute.
I remember the water off a ducks back saying said to me, after I was trying I find my wings pun intended as a new flight attendant from a very wise and supportive flight director Natalie. I heard that saying more than a few times over my two-year career in the skies as a professional F.A. flight attendant doing international flights. That was a enough for me, though I was very good at, I knew after my first 18-hour day and over seas flight, a no thanks. That I would be better off serving in the Art Of Service on the ground.
In my career now in luxury services and hospitality it is much easier To Not Take It Personally, whatever the situation or circumstance may be. It could be from a complaining customer that has no validity, or an unwarranted projection from an always unhappy colleague. Yes kids in our line of work as professionals, one’s workday or even work week can be ruined until you understand how to maintain your positive energy and power regardless of the situation, both professionally and personal, as to my way of knowing they are one in the same.
Like all of my articles and life wisdom research that is done for my own learning and exploring. I still like to ask others in my current work and place of day-to-day business, how they mastered the water off the ducks back theory and how not take it all personally? When the workday waters get choppy and not clear.
The most recent response that added to my query on this topic came from our stores GM Ryan, who is respected by many, through his acts of great leadership, his warmth and kind hellos to all of his employees. Never to busy or high up to not stop and ask how you are or give a praise for a job well done. When I poised the question to him after witnessing him dealing with a challenging situation. How doe he do it? Each time without allowing any of what I would call less that thrilling exchange be it a client or colleague, effect or ruin his workday joy.
Michael came his reply, I decided many years ago when I was managing another store, to no longer allow another to ruin my day or to take it on. It just happened, and this would be after many years in the bizz, mind over matter once again. It did take me the same amount of time and many career successes, learning and challenges within the service, helping and hospitality profession to finally find my duck to just swim with the flow, not against it and to not take it personally.
When we do take the crappie stuff on, the unfair stuff personally, or let another’s bad mood get under our skin and effects us, then we are sliding down a slippery slop that can takes days to recover from. No one wants this, work in these new now times can be hard enough with day-to-day stresses, yet until you get to that place like GM classy Ryan after much learning. Yes it can be a less than pleasing place to experience those difficult exchanges. Yet when you do, the rewards are long lasting and worth the learning.
As in anything in life, all can become personal because we care, because we are on the ball humans who love our work in service and have hearts and emotions that guide our ship. We are not robots for god sakes, so kiddo until you get to that place of mastery with not taking it personally, cut yourself some slack. We do what we can in any given situation given our best work selves and personal selves, as they are one in the same or need to be.
Not all ducks learn to float and swim at the same time, but boy when they find their flow in the work world, it’s a joy to witness another who maintains their grace, dignity, humour, and warmth amongst all type of workdays, the good and the not so good. Give your duck a hug today and yes do not take all in this life so personally, its not all about you as a Buddhist master would teach, knowing that, should offer more than enough solace and inspiration to keep you growing forward, no matter what a new workday may bring.
“Happy At Work Happy In Life,” Motivations That Inspire Contentment
Do not let the title of this new Art Of Service motivation article fool you. When I speak about happy at work and life. I am referring to the one who knows through learning, that life truly is what you make it, it is darn near impossible to be happy and worry free all the time. We have all of our emotions for a reason professional and otherwise, that and as life goes on I feel they are one in the same, I mean we do take our personal selves to work with us, yes?
As I use to teach in my former empowerment seminars that I would host at the YWCA, yes I am living proof in the build it and they will come philosophy. I enjoyed the whole process of creating, hosting, and facilitating these seminars. I would teach that pre moving on from most situations and this does include one job to the next, love where you’re at.
That may seem like a stretch as in going into the wise Zen mind territory but it does work and it sure makes the day go smoother, especially if you’re standing in a job, place, or professional role that you’re not thrilled with. Success when this happens is most certainly a mindset.
Its not just a practice of being mindful that fills my art of service tank to keep shinning in all my welcoming greetings, VIP events and assisting those whom I respect and work with. The practice of gratitude goes a long way as in ya get what ya give, this is so true in how to master the game of life and all circumstances for the better.
Each new day we can give ourselves a choice to be where we are in joy/contentment/gratitude or complete hell. Who in their right mind would choose to stand and count the clock as in dreading every moment? This does not bring the blessings only more tiredness if repeated over and over again, the mind is very powerful while taking no action to remedy.
When a colleague out in the field of sales and or service continues to say I am tired as their response to all that is happening in our workday. I do not make light of this, as there are many reasons one feels drained or exhausted, ah hello two years+ of Covid anyone, my reply during those early covid madness times then and now remains, who is not these days.
Find your joy is one quote, do what brings you joy and the rest will follow, as in money and the whole nine yards. So, one has to do some soul searching to find their joy or what motivates and gives them joy at work. For me, it’s the many opportunities to be service creatively with words and action, even on those crazy off the rails full moon super busy Saturdays, the times I can truly be of service and help make someone’s day, this includes my coworkers and all clients.
Sometimes our calling finds us when we are not looking. You may think you do what you do out of financial need or limited choices, education etc. Perhaps viewing where you stand as a service professional, with a new outlook, would show you the many times you have been happy at your work and not just on pay day, and this place where you stand, became your calling as you just did what you did, and the accolades added up over the years as you became the master of your craft.
Happy at work, happy in life is not just some whoo whoo bumper sticker or quick office platitude found on a poster in our new now times. Life is what we make it, and as one matures both professionally and personally, you find this out once you have had a few heart breaks, successes and failures. The happy in this case then comes from always getting up with a positive hopeful attitude regardless of one’s circumstance and we begin again, as in hello world next adventure where to.
Thank you for stopping by Articles By Michael
Mask On, Mask Off???
Mask on mask off, that is the new question and all of the positive reflection, wisdom, and social commentary that this new article implies by yours truly.
So here we are in the bold fields of our extra new now times spring 2022. I choose those words New Now Times well over two years ago when describing our world, as it changed over night, not just in the blink of a global eye, but in a time that became a first in our shared history since time began.
At times at night when I am out front of my building in the quiet of the evening, when all is peace close to Stanley park here in Vancouver. I reflect on the same level of quiet that was with us if not more so, you could hear a pin drop back then when we first went into a lockdown here in our fair city with all of its nature charms and constant challenges as times change.
Wondering if others reflect and remember that time in their own way, that time of not knowing, that time of a collective hope pre any type of Maga lockdown madness or where the name Karen came to describe a form of public crazy, that may or may not have been there with us in the isle of our stores and life pre covid?
The banging of the pots and pans out of our windows city wide, horns a blowing out front cheering on our esteemed front-line workers, all of them and to this day the banging of pots and cheers may have subsided but I say bless each and everyone of you. That stayed the course in the face of the unknown and remain so.
As humans, we are not known for our joined patience, we cannot blame an individual for lack or social charm, grace, compassion on having little or no patience and faith. We can look towards our society as a whole starting way back twenty or so years ago, that faster was better, the let’s get it, make it, and sell it quick world.
The younger of you may not even know of a time where communications took weeks to receive a letter, we had to wait till we got home to check our land line phone message machines to receive an awaited call. Say what you will and yes I may have been one of the last ones to give up my pay as you go burner flip phone, that others in their kindness would call vintage, as if in worry I may be offended by not having an iPhone, late to the party that I was.
Would we now see more grace and calm patience if we were twenty years ago or more, beyond all of the demonstrations in regards to what covid has brought to the surface with all of the different protest. We can view it as a needed reason, but it was not the reason or cause for all outward protest as in please let’s not have to wear a mask.
The social issues go deeper than that and many of those protest whose time had come, was needed to uncover certain falsehoods, and I am not talking about any medical advice, that was needed for all of us to maintain some form of inner peace amongst all the uncertainty that this new global virus brought to our doors.
I ask you here, how have you changed in the past two years? Did it add to more self reflection as in how you wanted to now live your life? Many I know and worked with used it as a wake-up call to pick up their beds and walk, walk away from relationships, all types and this included jobs whose due date had long expired.
I find it strange now as we all adapt to a whole other level of the new normal as the old one kids will never be back. The cats out of any denial bag so to speak, as in if we were not awake before as to what our neighbours on the other side of the world or next door needed, we most certainly know now as it needs to be.
As the saying that became popular during the early days of covid shutdown, we are all in this together is to have any true meaning. Then we must grow forward with an even greater sense of compassion for all and this on-going unfolding process. As we are now told, OK mask off, no more vaccinated passport to go here, there, or anywhere in most cases.
Mask off Mask on, what is each person’s comfort level despite what all the many sources of popular news feeds and social media will tells us. It comes down to this, respect what your gut, your intuitive self tells you to do and at the same time, let us all continue to respect those that choose to have the mask on or not on. It’s a personal choice and social comfort level at this point.
Perhaps the mask and all its stands for, as in what the Mask can or could prevent will stay with us for many lifetimes to come. It does take a little courage to keep on keeping on in the face of now its OK now its not, as in put the mask back on or off. I choose as we go forward and some days and weeks as I work out-front in the public, and not always easy to do, yet I continue to stand and live from a positive mindset and hopeful outlook, being from a linage of many survivors that lived through numerous wars and injustice.
Yes as we all now have learned the Mask can only and will do so much. Just as our own will and faith filled determination that there will come a day, where this question and all of it implications will not matter. Till then, make your choice from a place of empowerment never fear or false claims. This will serve you well be it Mask on or Mask off. Thank you for stopping by Articles By Michael.
Calm In The Eye Of All Workday Storms…
When all hell breaks loose on a busy Saturday with unexpected increase in foot traffic into your workplace be it luxury retail or other. The well seasoned art of service professionals’ radar will start to increase, as if by organic nature to be prepared, to once again be the calm professional grace in the eye of the storm coming, or soon to be in your store.
This radar I speak of comes from being in the Bizz for more than a few years, we develop it through not the easy times in service but those trying times, add a dash of a crazy full moon, a dollop of let’s just say, folks not being themselves and this can include your usual trusted colleagues who have reached their limit with what I call post, ongoing and during Covid extended madness.
Stress can take its toll and express itself in many forms, it can show up in many ways, through people and in the energy of one’s work environment. We can all go crazy together joining in the anxiety or take a moment or two to tune out and revamp your inner service gage to remain on calm, clear headed and the positive, do not forget your humour. I find setting an intention pre entering the store where I work keeps me on track, as to why I am there and how will I contribute to the brands on going success, profitability, and memorable impactful service of the positive kind.
These traits to remain positive with a healthy shared sense of humour did not arrive over night on my professional path in service that now includes more than a few career successes in luxury retail, VIP events and hospitality. You master the game of life and where you stand by the doing and learning. Its those trying challenging times and rocky seas, that makes the best sailors who know how to navigate with the grace of flexibility and endurance.
One of the best compliments one can receive in our industry, is when an onlooker, a regular satisfied client or colleague, takes a moment to tell you, that they know what you do in the eye of the extra storms that they witness on those short of staff days, you name it, challenging customers and circumstances, crazy busy times, you make it look so easy and seamless in your service. This alone was probably one of the best recognitions I received throughout my vast career in professional service.
If someone is being out of control, not making sense with there demands, regardless of who they are or how they present themselves. In their mind, it is all real, it can come from entitlement or perhaps they were always of the Karen persuasion (used as reference only) as in I want it yesterday.
Well Kido who does not want it all yesterday, whatever it may be. The wise Master never caves to the excess rush or unfiltered energy and free-floating stress that is now in your workplace, this can be from a full moon. Yes you read that right. When I had the privilege to be a luxury doorman complete with traditional stance and top hat. I would interview passing policemen whom I got to know on my luxury store beat. Did things get crazier for them on the full moon and they all said yes. So there, now you know, there is something to it, hmm yup, sage anyone?.
Being the calm in the eye of all storms does take some skills and mastery, yet it is doable. I prepare myself each day the best I can in mind, heart, and body as I serve from the heart. A kind man is not a weak man, it’s the very opposite.
Am I prepared for anything that may come down the tree of a what was supposed to be a regular workday? Most times yes, if Covid madness and our global temperature of changing times, energy and fortunes has taught me anything, that and being over 29 years old.
Expect the unexpected, be prepared and flow in the Zen of it all without resistance and over judging, will see you through the tight spots. The very best you can do for yourself, your team who are just as sweating it out as you are, and your work environment, on a workday or work week that is flying off the rials, is to maintain your grace, your wits and humour, do not ever join the circus that may be unfolding tempting as it is at times.
Michael’s top ten tips: to contribute and assist with safe passage and calm Zen in the eye of all storms that blow in out of the blue…
1, Stick with the winners that day, not the complainers, you need ever ounce of positive energy and mindset at this time
2, Ask for back up
3, Get support from those that know how to give it to you
4, More water breaks, fresh air, walks around the block, and healthy snacks or the sugar ones
5, Do not take it all so personally, its not my stuff kind of T Shirt Mantra moment, this too shall pass
6, I will not say breathe because if you’re at work you are breathing
7, Start saying positive words to yourself, saying words that are the opposite of anger and crazy, as in mind over matter
8, Have a good laugh, by this I mean, create a funny story beyond the circus of crazy, most service people have great senses of humour
9, Communicate with empathy and tell a good story to deflect the madness, do not over promise, most folks do respond to all communications, such as letting people know its going to take some time to care for their request, acknowledgment and compliments go a long way, the clients and customer is always number 1, not always right, work from that angle
10, Last but not least, you got this!!! Let your body and mind lean into all of your best accomplishments in professional service and career path
I did my research on the job for this article, as well as interviewed a wide range of professionals in the field of service and client care, from my local large chain grocery store favorite cashier who I bring treats to, service people love treats and need them, friends in the TV film industry, the health wellness sector, and in my adored industry of luxury retail.
I salute all of you, as we grow forward together contributing each day and each act of service with the best care and passion we all know how to do and love, less storms and more calms, I assure you.
Michael Alaska @ Alaska – Inc
The House Of Creed, Timeless Liquid Style
“Perfume follows you; it chases you and lingers behind you, it’s a reference mark. Perfume makes silence talk” Sonia Rykiel
The noise always knows, scent with sensibility. The first professional job that I enjoyed and exceled at in luxury retail, was that of a classy promotional representative with Cartier fragrances. This was back in the day, pre what many department stores and now drug stores would make popular by having perfume demos on mass in the isles.
The time that I speak of, our key job role as fragrance educators and in store promo ambassadors was to be welcoming, charming, share samples and be knowledgeable about the benefits and elegance of the products, to encourage and promote all to become fans and potential buying clients of the fragrance.
In those years I worked as an independent promotional consultant for all of the best luxury fragrance houses Cartier, Perfume d’Orsay out of Paris, Hermes to name a few. I was and remain a fan for such unique and one of kind fragrance houses like Annick Goutal, Santa Maria Novella I learned from the best in the business who knew their stuff, old school OG style that has served me well to this day in our industry.
I remain in awe like having a good suit made for you or being fitted by a professional Taylor, being in the presence and learning from a consult with a professional fragrance advisor is a worth while, time well spent and knowledgeable experience, from those who have honed their craft and love to share their passions for fragrances.
Now we come to my new love of many years The House of Creed. I believe it was Holt Renfrew always the front runner in style, service, and luxury, who were the first to carry Creeds and introduce to our Canadian market.
Prior to, we only read about Creeds in Vogue, W and Vanity Fair when they opened there first New York flagship store. Firmly of the belief that I am not fully dressed and showtime ready for the workday and life, if I do not have my favorite motivator of a few spritz from Creeds Bois Du Portugal, a classic made even more popular by Frank Sinatra, a one of kind style man himself.
Creeds remains in my books, a pure breed fragrance with a classic linage, legacy and heritage that offers more than a one time feeling or passing fantasy, but a daily compliment to add to one’s confidence, positive vibes out in the world.
Holt Renfrew Vancouver offers all of this and more, shared by the delightful and always professional, a master of her fragrance and Creed’s craft, Diana. She is the real deal with all of her many clients and the Vancouver go to expert for Creeds, done with such tact, warmth and natural charm, the sign of a true professional who loves what they do.
Till next time; I look forward to welcoming you, treat yourself this day or week to some scent motivation to give you that lift, as we continue to adapt and navigate our new now times. For new weekly inspiration by yours truly in the Art Of Service, stop by, give a view, follow or a listen to the Michael Alaska Official on Instagram weekly posted video series, one per week usually posted on Tuesdays.
Michael Alaska @ Alaska – Inc
Crossing The Bridge, A Resume Of Constant Change And Goals Achieved
I put the word resume in the title as the past few months I have been creating and updating a new CV for all of my professional work, creativity, and a new website to be. For years I thought I was out of step with the constant career changes brought on by my own desire to challenge myself and go after what I wanted. To master more than a few professional fields that included the airlines, hospitality, luxe retail, VIP events, TV film and as a motivational speaker.
This constant change on one’s resume is no longer questioned or frowned upon, it’s the norm but at one time let’s say up until five years ago, you were suppose to on paper anyway stay with a company or career track for years, again not anymore, more than ever this rings true in our new now times, so one more time I was a head of my time.
Though in the past in professional settings and interviews, I could tell they the persons interviewing me were truly curious how I did it, switch tracks and did well in so many industries that garnered great references and accolades. To the point of, in one of my last interviews with a well known Canadian high end jewelry company pre my joining Gucci at Holt Renfrew. How did you do all this, how does one do this? As they reviewed my resume and credentials. My reply was simple, welcoming, and direct as is my way, you just ask, try, and go for it and believe in yourself along the way, period.
I am always ok being a head of my time or the odd time I fall behind, like being one of the last ones on the planet to do Email get a computer and adopted an I phone. We cross the bridge that’s in front of us, it will either be a positive invitation for change, a wish that has come true, a needed push or an escape hatch. When this happens, get on it, do not linger or sit in the middle of the bridge, your job when this is happening, is to cross the bridge to the other side, where a new adventure or an open field of new creative freedom and possibilities awaits.
Is it ok to linger in the middle of the bridge for a little longer pre saying goodbye to certain people, places, and habits? Yes it is, I use to describe therapy, life coaching, certain respected and trusted 12 steps groups as a bridge, these are bridges to wellness and greater sanity with empowerment and self discovery. We do not stay stuck in the middle once the healing takes place, we then take the show on the road and point the way for others when asked.
So many bridges in my own life invited me to the other side for greener pastures and yes at times, leaving people, love, and places behind. The great thing about bridges when built with a solid foundation you can always cross back if you forget something. Still, it was always about full steam a head, lets get across with no looking back. We build bridges to either invite or walk away from, they are with us in this life for a reason.
One of the major bridges I had created and worked towards was when leaving my life as a professional waiter, that’s what we were called then. I had done it all, Truckstop, fancy, five-star, white glove, private clubs, the best hotels, you name it and I did it all by the age of 27, learning from the best and working alongside some very special amazing individuals and mentors. Those years taught me how to communicate with others, be friendly, organized, fast, detailed, use intuition and be adaptable in a moments notice, with humour and good cheer. To become what I considered the real deal pro in service and hospitality. Hence my creating articles and popular hospitality seminars in the Art Of Service. I learned at 13 from the ground up as a dishwasher in my first job, then onto busser then Jr waiter, then waiter extraordinaire.
Bridge number one brought me into the world of luxury, sales, products, VIP events and service for a good many years, my service background came in handy and helped me rise to the top as a top seller and motivator in the world of luxury retail, fashion and style. From there a new bridge with professional credibility lead me onto the TV and modeling film world, lunch TV talk show guest. Landing the coveted role as Robo Cop photo double for TV series 1 out of Toronto produced by Skyvision Entertainment.
I was ready, was I scared crossing over into a new area like TV with little professional training, yes but back then I choose to live by that popular book and life philosophy, feel the fear and do it anyway. It was my personality I later leaned helped the Robo crew choose me, to be a good match to the lead star. That I would not badger his ego but compliment and calm during many 17 hours night shots in the freezing cold, we got along famously.
What could I do, my own ambition, truth and desire lead me to a new bridge, I could not stay in the middle once mastered where I was, then a new path would open up and call, to walk across again into the new, that new was the airline, it took 5 try’s, and interviews with different airlines over a three year period, but I got in, thank you Air Transat and I was around the age of 38, 39, so age dear friend and colleagues crossing bridges creating new dreams is never a factor. Skill, positive energy with mindset, and a willingness to walk out of one’s comfort zone and a few angels along the way will see you through.
Now we arrive at 2022, trust me, all of my bridge crossing and world travels just did not happen in a straight line, there were many challenges and dragons at the gate that had to be slayed with courage, self kindness, and more than a few real friends and supporters cheering me on. Bridges do need to be crowded, the biggest lesson and life wisdom I can share is this, ya cannot take everyone with you as you cross more bridges, learn the art of Feng Shui as in decluttering not just your living space but your friendships and colleagues.
Those who will, will do, those who cannot usually judge and try to stop or block others. We then walk fast the other way, from wasting valuable bridge crossing time on that type of people pleasing or trying to convince the nonbelievers and what will people think etc. etc. etc..
If you think you can, you most likely will, if you think you cannot, you will not. Mind power combined with faith, attitude of gratitude to contribute to the good in this world, and the spirit of the true adventure samurai of grace, will be your navigating compass and bridge guide. No bridge in site to your dreams, do not panic or be dishearten, create your own or find others who enjoy building new pathways as you do. Then as if by magic vola, yours that is uniquely you appears in front of you. What are you waiting for? Take the invitation and start crossing this new bridge.
Michael Alaska @ Alaska – Inc
Dreams Do Come True, Not Always As Planned
Let’s call this new art of service article, new motivations by Michael. We all know the expression made popular by movies, T shirts and other forms of communications, “if you can dream it, you can be it.” I like to add my own tag line to read, dreams do not lie, you have them for a reason.
A dream goes beyond a goal, a set goal may assist with your intention to create, attract, and do the homework needed to have your dream put in motion. It does take work, tenaciousness, risk, desire, positive faith in self and a willingness to try, when the path is blocked or not clear, we create a new one and remember the art of patience and timing is everything.
Is being a head of your time a bad or good thing? Only you can answer that one, yet when you arrive to soon as I did many years ago, when I pitched one of my first ideas to the head of programming at City TV to have a gay male style guru type of talk show, under the guidelines of Fashion Therapy my then consulting company.
This was 20 years before numerous makeovers shows now shown worldwide and queer eye for the straight guy. What did I learn from that? The one take away from the meeting, was when asked are you ready for that level of public acclaim and exposure?
I was not, still needing to fly under the radar a bit and gain more personal and professional experience. Nerve and confidence go hand in hand, luckily I had a wise industry pro sitting in front of me who took the time to ask the right question, thank you Denise Donaldson, always a class act who gave this up and comer a chance to hear my pitch. I now do the same when I can to others new to our industry, its what we do pass it along.
My dream from that time years ago, one of them did come to pass and not exactly in the way that I had planned, as so often is the way life and the universe works. This was when I was fully emersed in the fashion/style/music/film scene out of Toronto, working with many who were at the time and remain the best in the bizz, and others who became very well known for their creative talents.
Being professionally photograph gave me a model’s portfolio while working with industry professional such as Helen Tansey, Lillian Swab, Corby Banner to name a few, who all encouraged this budding model to go for it, try and become the dream I had set in motion.
Taking my modeling portfolio with great character acting shoots on the road. New York, Paris, and Toronto. To all the top agencies in the industry. I was determined to have my dream to be the classic male model in the pages of Details, The Face, and Humo Vogue magazines.
Eventually all these self paid promotional trips finally paid off after all agency’s said no, you’re not a model you’re a actor, you’re this you’re that. Most were gracious and kind with positive referrals. Oy vey, still with one good head shot and a short CV sent in high gloss red folder to a well-known TV casting agent via a contact from a friend. The call we all wait for as a pathway to our dreams did came. Jane Rogers casting who was casting for a new TV show Robo Cop the first TV series.
I was finally going to have my wish of being well known as a model, yet this model on the set of Robo Cop wore a 100 lb fiber glass suit with a Robo shield on my face as I became the well loved, always hitting my mark driving the Robo cruiser as the acclaimed photo double for Robo. Not bad for a kid from the backwoods who had a dream and a lot of nerve chosen from 300+ hopefuls for the gig. Later told, that my promotional material landed on the top of Janes desk and not the slush pile, that my promo packaging presented well and worked with the DV red glossy holder.
So, my dream came to be, yet not as I saw it or planned, but it did happen. From there other dreams came to pass. I did land a great agency that got me work as a model, catalogue and one billboard and new paths then opened up along the way. Scary yet exhilarating till I found my footing in new settings, becoming a successful entrepreneur, playing in the big leagues, while staying in my lane with integrity, humour and keeping it real, classy as I am known to say, one of my favorite ways of expressing something old school yet in tune with the times.
Dreams do not lie, there are with us for a reason. Reinvention is the name of the game in our new now times. Our job is it figure out the best path for us and enjoy the ride and learning along the way. To many times we do not pinch ourselves as a positive reminder to enjoy the moment pre rushing onto the next dream, as it may not come again or in the way you had planned. This is one of the best ways to navigate and master the game of life as I see it. Yes I d have a few new dreams that are in the works, so stay tunned for the future launch of Michael Alaska website.
Michael Alaska @ Alaska – Inc
The Eagle Always Rises Above Storm Clouds
We can find inspiration in many places; we can hear words or a saying that just hits home. The home of where we live, this is our essence, our heart, emotions, and our creative desires. While watching a popular show called Were Here, the base of this show is about three well known drag queens, who go to small rural town in the USA, set up shop with a few of the locals who want to experience being in drag, express themselves. then put on a show for the community.
The shows intention is to have a positive influence within these communities they travel to, usually there will be a very small population of gay people, the shows drag queens want to up lift, validate, and assist those who do not fit any mold, to feel loved, lifted up and supported. As we the viewing audience is getting to know one of the locals. who an out lesbian with discernment in this small town has agreed to do male drag. We hear from her how she lost a leg and an arm in an accident as a driver drove into her on her motorbike. I loved her on site and reminded me of many fabulous on of kind ladies I met on my travels, she was sharing how one of her tattoos on her arm and shoulder was a large eagle flying above a storm cloud.
Here is where she explained why she got it. Eagle always fly way above the storm cloud and coast, they allow the wind beneath them to float them until the whirling winds and storms pass. This hit home, on a few levels and as a wise metaphor, instantly I was loving this brave soul even more, who fought her way back to recovery to walk again and create a new life. Inspiration always finds us when we are attuned to hear, desire, and attract it, the eagle has always been and remains one of my favorite and honoured totems and their message of freedom, follow your own flight path.
Where in your life this day do you need to sore? To fly way above any storms clouds and know they will pass? They always do, our job is to seek the wisdom amongst the changing winds. Not always easy when you’re in the thick of it, we each have our own storms clouds, sometimes, they come in the form of a light gentle breeze that offers us a slight nudge, then we can get at times without a reprieve by larger blowing winds of change uninvited.
If the storm is brewing and it certainly is in different parts of our world that effects everything. One’s personals evolution and life lessons can feel like storms clouds at times, top that along with our environmental energies we are all feeling across the globe, where the energy then intensifies all the winds of change and our day to day. Can certainly test the graces, wit, and power of the most faithful, wise, and strong.
Coming in for a landing and a reprieve. May this story and these words remind you to fly above those storms’ clouds, knowing it will pass, the eagle always lands with grace and confidence. Trusting all parts of spirits plan and one’s own evolution and flight patterns, even when the way is not clear, rising above and gliding with the wind, not against.