6 Powerful and Inspirational Quotes I Love

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I’ve been asked, “What are you currently reading and what do you recommend?”  

My answer?

Nothing and zip. (Well, I could recommend these books, but that might be a tad self-serving!)

But seriously, I’m not a big reader.

What has meant a great deal to me, though, are specific quotes. I’ll share them here and then ask you to give us a favorite quote. Here we go!

Careful, Making Assumptions Is Costly!

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The Story

In 1984, while living in Great Falls, Montana with my wife, Karen, and our sweet one-year-old, Kristin (actual house and child pictured), I wrote a letter to the local paper. Much to my surprise, it was published.

The piece confronted, probably with a defensive and immature tone, how Montanans viewed the Miller’s home state of New York.

I was attempting to counter the myth held by westerners that New York is a “concrete jungle.” In reality, New York is millions of acres of rolling hills, mountains, streams, lakes, forests, farms, and dairy cows.

For Upstate New Yorkers like Karen and me, “The Big Apple” does not define our home state.

Once published, though, I wondered if my letter might make some Great Falls’ locals none-too-pleased with me.

The next morning, I found out—or so I assumed. Overnight, someone had placed on our porch a homemade wire cage containing one …

Outstanding Customer Service — Easy As 1-2-3!

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Tara, #2 of seven Miller offspring—a mom with two kids of her own— watches for examples of the QBQ! book in the world. She just sent me this example of outstanding customer service, with succinct commentary:

“Dad, this is QBQ! all the way!”

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Junior Olympics Gymnastics, Brighton, CO

The Story

Tara’s 3-year-old, our spunky and most chatty granddaughter, McKenna, attends “Tiny Tots and Tumblers” classes at Junior Olympics Gymnastics in Brighton, Colorado.

The owner, Jen Chase, sent all the parents this email:

PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY: Be a Jerk Today!

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Yesterday, I was “The Jerk.”

Do you recall the 1979 Steve Martin movie “The Jerk” where he, as Navin Johnson, jumped up and down excitedly exclaiming, “The new phone book’s here! The new phone book’s here!”

He was soooo thrilled! He was in the new phonebook!

A classic movie moment here. (only 41 seconds)

Accountable Parenting: Strong Is Not Wrong

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Jill and Tim Taylor in Home Improvement

In a 1995 episode of Home Improvement, Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor and his buddies discuss “The Look,” defined as the facial expression an unhappy wife employs to send a serious message to her husband.

During the scene, Tim’s sidekick, Al, chimes in with, “Oh, man, I hate ‘the look.’” When someone points out he’s not married, the still-living-at-home-forty-something says, “I get ‘The Look’ from Mother.”

Parents, have you mastered The Look?

Accountability and Adversity: One CEO’s Story

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The QBQ! Workbook

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In a note we received from Albert Castillo, CEO of San Antonio Eye Center, there are so many powerful messages, we felt it important to share.

John, the QBQ! book has been very inspiring for my staff. Each wrote a short essay on what the book meant to them, and many brought tears to my eyes. In return, I shared with them my own story. Here it is below:

OWNERSHIP: A Powerful Principle of Success

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Since 2012, Karen and I have owned a 1995 home in the Rocky Mountains. Sitting high atop a hill overlooking the “Fraser Valley,” it provides a beautiful western view.

The lower portion of our one-acre lot has an old dirt driveway leading to a dirt road. We’ve never used this driveway since we can’t get up to the house with it. This driveway simply dead-ends into the hill below the home.

Alongside this useless driveway, grass and weeds grow. No biggie, I mean—it is the mountains. So I’ve never mowed there. In fact, there’s so little grass at 8,600 feet, we don’t even keep a mower in Fraser.

Last week, though, I loaded our 22” Toro push mower into my Tacoma and delivered it 88 miles to the house in the hills. I then slid, along with the mower, down the embankment to the old driveway and mowed weeds for over an hour.

Why did I do this?

Personal Accountability: Doing Beats Thinking

I’ve been to a bunch of corporate conferences in my 20 years of keynote speaking on “Personal Accountability and the QBQ!” Usually, I can be found standing in the back of the ballroom waiting to present.

So I’ve heard lots of executives talk. Mostly, it’s industry and company specific info and technical in nature. READ: Dry and dull.

Or it is “‘rah rah’ you can succeed!!!” stuff. READ: Waste of time.

But once in a while, while admittedly half-listening, an alarm goes off in my brain.

Like yesterday.

I was waiting to deliver my accountability message to 600 Walmart managers in Arkansas when one of the execs quoted the CEO of Walmart U.S.—Greg Foran—who has said:

Searching for Random Acts of QBQ!

Candlewood Suites qbq! finalHave you witnessed a “Random Act of QBQ!” recently? My brother-in-law, Tom, ran across this one. Enjoy!

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John, I have a QBQ! story for you!

While at a conference in Chicago, my laptop mouse died. I wasn’t sure if it was broken or just needed a new battery.

So I went to the Candlewood Suites store in the lobby, but they didn’t have any “mice” or the battery I needed.

At the front desk, I asked Julie if they possibly had a spare mouse that another guest had left behind. She looked in their little “lost and found” cardboard box, but there weren’t any.

I thanked Julie and headed out to the conference center next door.