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One Step, One Dial

June 8, 2014
Mary Jane Copps

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I have a very clear memory of the first time I met Crane Stookey. It was on a blustery winter’s evening and I was giving a two-hour presentation on phone skills. I may be mistaken, but I believe he was in the launch stages of his business, figuring things out, pulling pieces together. He sat at the front table to my left and every time I looked in his direction, he was looking right back at me.

While he was listening and interested, his face revealed something else, something that at the time I interpreted as cynicism.  As the evening progressed and I moved around the room handing out written information he stopped me at his table and said (and I’m definitely paraphrasing here):

“Are you really telling us that when we want to reach someone on the phone we might have to leave five messages before we’ll connect with them?”

“Yes,” I said. “That’s what I’m saying. It works.”

His face filled with disbelief, he said “I’m not doing that!”

Since that evening I’ve had the pleasure of working with Crane on numerous occasions. I admire him a great deal and now realize that he wasn’t cynical that evening, he was uncomfortable and perhaps even a little afraid of phonework. That’s why I laughed out loud this past week when I read this post. Whether you bring reticence to your phonework or not, I know you’ll enjoy his story:

The deck of a container ship is 30 feet above the ocean, or more. If the ship catches fire or starts sinking, the crew may need to abandon ship, and if the lifeboats can’t be lowered with the crew in them, the crew may have to jump into the water from the deck. But jumping can be a way to lose control of the fall, and can be dangerous, so they don’t jump. No great heroic leaps. They just step. They step out into space, and fall. One small step for the body, an immense step for the mind.

In the abandon ship training the metal platform that simulates the deck juts out over the pool about 20 feet above it. The instructor tells me to stand a few steps back from the edge and walk forward. And just keep walking. To make sure I fall in an upright position, not landing in a belly flop or twisting backward and hitting my head on the side of the ship, I walk upright out into space and fall.

The simulation is perfectly safe, divers waiting in the nice warm water to help me, an instructor next to me on the platform who just demonstrated how easy it is, thousands of people before me who have safely taken this step. I know I can trust the water to catch me. Three ordinary steps, and then a fourth ordinary step. What’s the problem? Just because there’s nothing to step on? Nothing but space? It feels like my body freezing, but of course it’s really my mind. Then my body steps anyway … read more

 

 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Steve Foran says:

    Hate to sound like a groupie but I love reading your posts.

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