Episode 044 – The Fred Factor: Turning an Unnoticed Job Into Art

Have you ever known someone so good at what they did it was like watching an artist?  Even when the thing they did would normally be considered unnoticeable?  Listen to Mark Sanborn’s description of his former postal carrier Fred, and learn how you can be a Fred – whatever you do.

(c) AdobeStock Photo

(c) AdobeStock Photo

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On This Episode

Rhythm of Life – GPS Failure and Panic in the Street
Tune-up Tip – An Unexpected Side-Effect of a Popular Pain-Killer
Feature Segment – The Fred Factor: How a Man Turned Delivering Mail Into Art

Rhythm of Life – GPS Failure and Panic in the Street

Recently I went on a business trip, and chose to bring my own GPS rather than paying for the added service in my rental car.  Problem was there was no satellite reception when I exited the airport, and I hadn’t prepared for such a possibility by mapping my route in advance.

Needless to say, panic ensued. But after a few deep breaths, I righted the course.  And learned a few important lessons as well.  Listen to learn more.

It’s good to experience GPS failure every once in a while.  It’s a great test for our ability to think under pressure.  It’s also good to remember to have a back-up plan.

Tune-Up Tip – An Unexpected Side-Effect of a Popular Painkiller

For many of us, Tylenol is the go-to over-the-counter drug when you have a headache?  It has a reputation as being safer than other pain medications.  But is that true?

Acetaminophen (active ingredient in Tylenol) is known as one of the most dangerous common drugs because of the danger that overdose presents.  According to an article by Dr. Mercola, Acetaminophen is responsible for high levels of emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths from liver failure.

The biggest problem is that it doesn’t take that much to cause these problems.  It can be toxic to your liver even at recommended doses when taken daily for only a few weeks.

But there is a new wrinkle to the drug, as reported in the Washington Post.  It also kills kindness.  A recent study found that Acetaminophen reduced a person’s ability to empathize with another person’s pain – both physical and emotional.  The ingredient not only dulls your own pain, but also your ability to feel someone else’s.

We’ve known for a while that hormones like oxytocin and serotonin affect empathy.  Now they’ve shown that pain killers do too.  And these same pain killers reduce joy as well.  They basically dull everything; not just the pain.

Based on the number of people who take some form of Acetaminophen on a regular basis, image the impacts to our overall empathy.  Pretty staggering.  Perhaps that explains the ongoing nastiness in the current Presidential campaign?

Feature Segment – The Fred Factor: How a Man Turned Delivering Mail Into Art

How does the ordinary become extraordinary?

By choosing to do whatever task you do in an extraordinary way.  Whether you are a celebrity or a common man, it’s all in how you choose to perform the task.  And that’s the story of Fred, as told by Mark Sanborn in his book The Fred Factor.

There are standard principles we can learn from the “Freds” in our lives:

  1. Everyone makes a difference – no matter how large or inefficient our organization may be; or how mundane the task.  We can choose to give our work its dignity.  A job may be mundane, but no job is unimportant.
  2. Success is built on relationships – personal service, instead of just service.  Relational interactions more than transactional. Make sure you bring your humanity to everything you do.
  3. Continually create value for others – and it doesn’t have to cost a penny. It can be as simple as doing more than necessary, or more than the competition.  Or by simplifying an over-complicated life.  Or by being fully present.
  4. Regularly reinvent yourself – find new ways to serve, to be extraordinary.  Continue to set the bar higher, to improve, to grow.

We don’t have to be super-human, or try to get there all at once.  Just start with one thing.  Something simple, yet extraordinary.  Like thanking the “Freds” in your life, or emulating them.

How you can be a “Fred”?  How can you be extraordinary in every day life by:

  • making a difference
  • building relationships
  • creating value
  • reinventing yourself

We need more “Freds” in the world.  Listen to this episode to learn more about what made Fred extraordinary, and other such examples in every day life.

And to help you, we still have the Read for Life Twitter contest.  What will you win? — A Free copy of this week's book Give and Take.

How do you win?
1. Tweet about this episode using the Twitter share button.
2. Add the hashtag #readforlife
3. Add my Twitter Handle: @KThompsonSings
I will draw a winner from the tweets on the Monday after the episode publishes.

If you have a great example of a “Fred” in your life, leave a comment below.