Growing up in Atlantic City in the late 70’s early 80’s. My career choice became pretty clear as a teenager. In high school, I kept my grades just high enough to stay on the Baseball and Swim teams. Academic achievement wasn’t high on my priority list and my performance was a bit, let’s say “lackluster” Mostly due to spending most of my lunches and the last 3 periods at the Golden Nugget, conveniently located across the street from Atlantic City High School. Talk about an internship. So college was out of the question at the time as I barely got out of high school in the recommended 4 years. I was either going to be the starting shortstop for the Phillies or I was heading for a “Life in the Fast lane” and a career in the “Glamorous Casino Industry.”

Right from the jump, I found it extremely challenging. Keeping the pace and handling the high demands to satisfy the most superstitious and loudest players in the joint. In a hostile arena known as the Craps Pit. I realized I’m going to need some sort of strategy or I’m going to have the same odds of making it in the Casino business as I do making it to the Major’s and it appears the Phillies must have somehow lost my number to boot.

At the time role models were a bit hard to gauge, in this regard. I was told more than once “If you get “into it” with a guest drag them into the pit. Empathy, I’m pretty sure wasn’t even a word then and definitely not in the Craps Pit. If it was, Empathy was when the customer yelled with a Dewar’s in one hand and a Montecristo in the other “ When are you going to learn this f-ing game?” and not ending it with “You stupid MF’er” or when the boxman or floor said: “Dummy-Up and Deal” instead of giving you a shot to the ribs. Whenever a “ Major Beef” on the table would breakout. It would escalate further, every time I tried to toss in my 2 cents. Just like throwing gas on a fire. I can literally feel my skin thickening each and every roll. So I had to change my approach in the name of Self-Preservation.

Inspired by the lost art of humility. It’s mixed with compassion and empathy. I call it” Kill them with Kindness.” with 4 simple rules. Give it a shot. It’s been working for me for the past 35 years with internal and external customers. As a bonus, research has shown an improvement in stress levels and the risk of work burnout is greatly reduced when kindness and empathy are the rules, not the exception. If you’re able to demonstrate empathy, your stress level will go down and people will feel safe talking. Which will spurn great relationships, making for a positive and productive workplace.

Kill them with Kindness.

Rule 1. Smile A genuine smile will disarm a disgruntled guest. A smile can change the tone of the conversation and lay the footing for more productive and civil interactions “Use your smile to change the world; don’t let the world change your smile.” — Chinese Proverb

Rule 2. Listen. Don’t just listen to the words people are saying, but the way they are saying them. Reply with empathetic phrases such as: “I see where you are coming from”, or “Thank you for sharing that with me. You will show them that you are truly listening, and will begin to chip away at their walls, resulting in more impactful conversations. “Listen with your eyes as well as your ears.” ― Graham Speechley

Rule 3. Do Not Take Anything Personally. Just like the song, Let it be. “Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” — Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements

Rule 4. Zero Expectation/ Zero Surprises /Zero Disappointments, Stop fighting things that are out of your control and focus your power on what you can control: your own mindset, emotions, and actions. When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are. “I have zero expectation of others” — Gary Vaynerchuk

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