My announcement for the Yellow Goldfish Book launch today was going to be slightly different than what you see in the banner collage image until this morning I sat to finalize it before sending out my newsletter. And then, just like we describe on page 242 of the book that someone in Qualtrics CEO Ryan’s Smith’s team said just when they were ready to sign The Utah Jazz jersey, a voice in my head went “Hey, if you are really serious about cancer research and what today means to you, why don’t you put 5 For The Fight everywhere possible and tell the whole story?”. So little by little, this photo collage took shape as the announcement image, the text of my newsletter started to change and the rest of the story started appearing on my social media announcements, the number of characters allowing so. Then as people (even some I don’t know on IG) started sharing how touched they were, I decided to share the whole story also in a blog post (yeah to no characters limits). So here it is.
18 September is a very special day for me. It’s the day my parents married 42 years ago and it’s my father’s birthday. My father was an Italian (and Latin and Greek) professor and he taught me the love of learning and sharing knowledge, the value of smiling, the importance of being grateful and having faith, and he instilled in me the Don Bosco teaching that sanctity is about being happy and doing good to everyone. He would have turned 71 today and during his last birthday together 8 years ago in Italy (two days before leaving him to return to the Netherlands without knowing if I would ever see him again), I shared with him my BIG dream: to write two books, a business book, and a novel, that would contribute to more happiness in the world, and to do so before my 40 birthday. We knew then already that he wasn’t going to be there to see it so, sharing with him my intention was my way of making him part of it and getting myself committed to it (given that writing had always been my deepest desire).
The novel became a non-fiction about his last six months of life while I was pregnant with my first child, and it is still in the making – as it turned out to be more emotional than I was ready for. So to hold the promise, earlier this year I published a short story instead (The Gift of a Connecting Gaze), about how we connected during these days before I left for the Netherlands.
And the business book?
I was already passionate about Customer Experience and Happiness and I had been advocating and pursuing them both in my work, but the hardships during my father’s last six months in Italy while I was pregnant and most of the time 1.800 km away in the Netherlands, though me how much we rely on companies for our lives (for healthcare, to travel, to stay connected to our families, etc…), how much interactions with companies represent a key part of our daily lives, how much the leaders in the companies we work for influence us, and how much (the people within) companies can (and should) design and deliver products, services, and experiences that are meaningful and life-enriching for customers, enabling and empowering their employees to make a difference in peoples’ lives.
When I first heard about my father’s illness in July 2010, I was only 3 months pregnant. Thanks to the “parental leave” option Philips had and my very supportive and encouraging managers, I was able to spend a full month in Italy with my dad before pregnancy’s complication, and my father getting worst, required me to return to the Netherlands in September. From that moment we connected nearly 24×7 via Skype and, despite a prognosis of just 3 months, my dad managed to wait 6 months till I would give birth to my son in NL, waited extra 20 days that we could fly to Italy, and then passed away at the end of January, just 4 days after we left back to NL. Now, imagine the surprise of finding a house without TV connection, internet, or phone line to call my mother when in February we returned to the Netherlands from Italy after my father’s funeral had taken place. It turns out that during a month in and out of the hospital to give birth and back and forward from Italy, my husband and I had missed that one bank payment to our telco provider had not gone through, and even after paying it would take 5 days to get reconnected. 5 days without a phone connection or the internet? In the saddest time of my life, I couldn’t talk to my mum or to my friends in Italy. What if this had happened when my father was still alive and our calls were pretty much his oxygen tube? I was shocked. Do companies understand the impact they can have on people’s lives, and how much they can contribute to life?
With my father’s doctors and my mum, at every tough choice, we had to make we asked the question “does this add life to the days or days to life?“, and we had one mantra driving every choice we made for my dad’s treatments: “We want to add life to the days, not days to life“, even when that meant my father may not get to meet my son. And, against all medical prognosis, he did!
So today, I couldn’t be more happy and proud to honor my father’s birthday with the official launch of Yellow Goldfish together with Stan Phelps. While I’m still somewhat in disbelief, the Yellow Goldfish book has been completed and is now available for purchase on Amazon in multiple countries.
My dream now is that this book creates awareness for the questions we should be posing in our daily business choices: “does this contribute to customers, employees, or societal happiness? does this contribute to a healthier, happier, more peaceful life and world?”
A Yellow Goldfish is anytime a business does a little extra to contribute to the happiness of its customers, employees, or society. Based on nearly 300 case studies of companies that are already doing little extra to increase happiness, in the book, we provide a nine-part framework (the WHAT) to increase happiness in business to drive growth, productivity, and prosperity. In the HOW, the last of the six stages of GROWTH we cover is Harvesting, which is also about Giving Back. And of the examples we found during our research – 5 For The Fight – was especially meaningful to me!
This is why my part of the royalties from the books purchased in the first 5
days months* will go to Qualtrics initiative #5ForTheFight to support innovative groundbreaking research to fight cancer!
Let’s make this world Happier and Healthier!! Together we can!
If you do buy the book, I hope you enjoy the content, connect with me and share your feedback! I look forward to reading it!
* UPDATES: (November 2018) I decided to change this from 5 days – initially announced (yeah first-time author sales optimism!) to 5 months, till 30 January – the day my dad left us to a better life – 2019, to have the chance to collect even more funds for #5ForTheFight .
(February 2018) On February 8th my co-author Stan Phelps has rounded up the amount of royalties matured till 30 January to 555$ & paid my half directly to 5ForTheFight!
(January 2020) My 50% of Amazon royalties for the entire 2019 and 50% of 2019 bulk sales have gone to 5ForTheFight. For the future, my co-author Stan Phelps will continue indefinitely to devolve my 50% of Yellow Goldfish’s royalties to 5ForTheFight. Join the cause.
You can find out more about Yellow Goldfish and links to various Amazon/Kindles local stores where you can buy the book here.