Department for Work and Pensions

“While attending the Sunderland Health Champions Awards in December 2017, I was fortunate to hear an inspiring and motivational talk from guest speaker, Gary McKendrick. Having not attended such a talk before, I was sceptical of how beneficial it would be. However, Gary was so real, inspiring and conveyed in such a true personal way that my scepticism was quickly dispelled.

The use of personal experience and theory give an excellent mix of thought-provoking and self-awareness. This vividly allowed the audience to self-reflect.  I left the event feeling invigorated;

I would suggest if you have the opportunity to attend a talk by Gary you make every effort to attend”.

Amanda Mains | Operational Excellence Directorate |  Department for Work and Pensions

Washington Mind

I invited Gary along to our Sunderland Health Champions celebration event in December 2017 as our guest speaker.

His passion shone through and everyone in the room left feeling inspired from the events of Gary’s life.

It was a great talk and I would recommend Gary to attend any function and I would not hesitate to work with him in the future.


Jemma Hutchinson

Business Support Manager
Washington Mind, Sunderland, NE38 7LP
Charitable Incorporated Organisation – 1156010

Are you taking ‘it’ seriously?

What is your “it”?

‘It’ could be anything:

  • Your health
  • Your business
  • Your career
  • Your relationships (with your partner/kids/family/friends/colleagues)
  • Your finances
  • Your life!!

Whatever it is, you’ve got to take ‘it’ seriously. I don’t mean serious have no fun, I mean you’ve got to commit to ‘it’.

And nurture it, care for it, value it, invest in it.

Otherwise, it’s just a passing phase, a hobby, something you’ll do when you feel like it.

If you take it for granted or ignore it, it’s like leaving your new bike outside to rust.

Take care of it. Value it. Invest in it.

When you invest in something, you get a return.

If you are investing but getting no return then either stop investing or ask yourself are you fully committed and investing the right way. Or do you need help.

I’m on this subject as a result of a day trip to York yesterday. I obviously value my family so invested in a day to York on the train.  The kids loved it, we all loved it. Great memories were created.

It was fantastic to be off the radar from the day job, being a dad, a husband and a tourist. I was present. We must be present in the moment. If we’re thinking about the past or worrying about how we look or worrying about something in the future that hasn’t even happened yet and likely won’t, then how can you enjoy the present moment. I have worked hard on this and keep learning how to be more present.

The best investment you can make in your relationships is to be fully present in the moment. Serve the other person with what they need. Sometimes this is just silence, as in listen to them.  Ever noticed that the two words are made up of the same letters: silent & listen.

So on the subject of taking things seriously, some experiences yesterday got me thinking.

We went into a local cafe and two confectionery shops. All three of them not taking their business seriously.  Or perhaps it was the staff not taking their jobs seriously or understanding what their job truly is. Is this then lack of staff training which again is the business owner not taking his business seriously.

Let me give you details.

Experience no1. A Cafe.

We needed lunch so we’re about to go into a Slug & Lettuce, a known brand so we felt safe to trust this option. We knew what to expect and this was good for our needs. This highlights the importance of building your trusted brand. However I do like to support local businesses and also try new places so we chose a local cafe opposite the Slug & Lettuce. Lovely helpful staff and the food was pretty decent but the place was just lacking something and we left feeling a lack of ‘wow’ and that we would not return nor go out of our way to recommend the place. The experience was not fully up to par. It’s the little things that count and make all the difference. For example, the backshop area leading to the toilets was shoddy and there was no soap in the toilets. If they took their business 100% seriously then they’d have this all on point.

Experience no2. A Sweet shop.

One of those shops that imports American sweets. The shop looked great on first impressions and the kids were buzzing, so was I. It was empty too so the guy should have been all over us or at least acknowledged us. But no, he just stayed behind his counter and said nothing until I spoke to him. Then his mobile rang and he answered it and had a lovely conversation, only pausing to serve us. His only customers at the time but he chose answering the phone. So we bought the sweets and left, then discovered that some of the sweets we bought were 2months out of date!! So back in to tell the guy, he was suitably embarrassed (and off the phone by this point so I go his full attention) and he apologised. Turns out the whole box of these sweets were out of date. Again if he took his business seriously he would not have let this happen. Systems in place for stock control, stock checking, re-ordering. And most importantly, some customer service skills.

Experience no3. A fudge shop.

Again we were the only customers in the shop. No positive greeting from the salesperson.  We said hello first, she replied. And I’m asking questions about fudge; what’s the most popular, what’s the strangest flavour, and she answers with no enthusiasm and not much of a smile. It seemed like she just needed a job, she was there to put the hours in, get paid and no more. Or perhaps we caught her on a bad day, she was dealing with some personal trauma, well in the customer service field you must be able to put your game face on when needed.

She had some fudge that’d just been made, she could’ve talked us through the process and offered a taste. But nothing, “yeah I’ve just made this batch” was all we got.

Massive mistakes all over. We walked into this shop as customers who were ready willing and able to buy. But we didn’t. The experience she delivered made us say “we might come back later”. Did we? Nope. And when we return to York, will we then, nope.

Your best form of marketing is a happy customer who has been delivered a positive experience at every touchpoint. Don’t do yourself a disservice by letting the little things bring you down.

Train your self and your staff in the importance of delivering an experience. Map your customer journey and assess if it delivers. From your website, your business card, your brochure, your emails, your phone manner, your quotes, your timely attention, your packaging, your service, your appearance, your attitude, your words, your housekeeping, your end report, your invoice, your after-sales care and your marketing to get that customer to buy again and again and tell others to as well.

Take IT seriously.

What’s your IT?

You can apply this logic to anything.

Value it, invest in it, nurture it, improve it. Surround yourself with people who help you do it.

Take your health seriously, your relationships, your work, your money, your home, your future. Take life seriously. But remember to take having fun seriously too.

Life isn’t about being serious, I mean take it seriously. Commit to it.