Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Fred Factor

by Debby Giusti

Have you heard of THE FRED FACTOR? It’s a book by motivational speaker Mark Sanborn, published in 2004 by Doubleday.

The intriguing title caught my interest as well as the following statement on the front cover: How passion in your work and life can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. My days had recently seemed a bit ho-hum, and I wondered if the little book—only 112 pages in length and seemingly an easy read--could add a little zip to my life. Plus, I was looking for a topic for this blog and decided THE FRED FACTOR might be a win-win on both counts.

When I read the first page, I was hooked. In the opening chapter, Sanborn recounts that, after moving into a new neighborhood some years back, he was surprised when the postal carrier stopped by to see how he could help his newest customer. You guessed it. The guy’s name was Fred.

Upon learning Sanborn traveled in his job, Fred suggested a way to ensure piled up mail wouldn’t alert unsavory passersby when the home was vacant. As the new homeowner got to know more people in the area, he soon learned the postal carrier provided extraordinary service for all the customers on his route. Time after time, neighbors recounted tales of the many ways Fred went above and beyond in his job.

Mark began to share stories about this outstanding postal employee when he spoke to business and civic groups around the country and, before long, realized the impact Fred’s example had on others. Many told of Freds in their lives or their own desire to be a Fred to others, and the idea for the book began to take shape. Eventually, Sanborn developed a program based on the Mission Statement: Be a Fred…continually create new value for those you live and work with through dedication, passion and creativity.

In his book, Sanborn lists Four Fred Principles. I’ve added some thoughts about how the principles can apply to the writing life, and I hope you’ll share others that come to mind.

1. Everyone makes a difference. In a nutshell, always do your best, no matter what job you’re doing. Fred wasn’t the CEO of a company or even a sales rep or marketing expert, but he positively impacted every customer on his route and looked for ways to help others and provide outstanding service. Sanborn writes, “People give work dignity. There are no unimportant jobs, just people who feel unimportant doing their jobs.”

As writers, we need to value what we produce, whether a technical piece in our day job or newsletter for a school PTO. Likewise we need to embrace even our initial attempts to create works of fiction. Although our early stories may not be ready for publication, they have value and provide the foundation upon which we can build. In the same way, when we critique another writer’s work, we need to point out strengths and offer constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement that affirm and empower.

2. Everything is built on relationships. Sanborn writes, “Indifferent people deliver impersonal service. Service becomes personalized when a relationship exists between the provider and the customer.”

Carrying that business model into the writing world, we can see how some authors establish a lasting relationship with their readers. Whether through Facebook or Twitter or on a blog like Seekerville, the relationship is not based solely on selling a book, but on interest in their readers.

Hopefully, all of us in Seekerville have reaped the benefits of this blog where we have come together as friends who share a love for the written word.  In the past three years, we have supported one another when life hands us a lemon and celebrated when we've turned that lemon into lemonade.  Personally, my life has been enriched because of all of you, and I pray we'll be together for years and years to come.

3. You must continually create value for others. According to Sanborn, “Fred mastered the most important job skill of the twenty-first century: the ability to create value for customers without spending more money to do it.” He goes on to say that we compete against ourselves everyday, and if we fall short, often it's because of mediocrity, which he calls “a willingness to do just enough and nothing more to get by.”

Writers must ensure the end product is quality work and never fall short of the mark. Their readers deserve the best. Our blog readers do as well.

4. You can reinvent yourself regularly. No matter our circumstances, Sanborn reminds us that everyday is a new start and opportunities abound.

Lines fold and a genre that is hot today may be hard to sell next year so writers need to be open to change. Francine Rivers is a perfect example. After embracing her new faith in God, Francine changed from writing secular romance to the inspirational genre, which led her to write one of my all time favorite reads, REDEEMING LOVE.

According to Sanborn, “…the way to move through life joyfully and successfully is by focusing on what you give rather an on what you get.” Good advice for all of us to remember.

Years ago, I made a personal commitment to thank people who clean public areas, such as janitors in shopping malls, airports and highway rest stops. I appreciate the job they do and tell them so whenever I have a chance.

I also thank store cashiers, especially when lines are long and I know they’ve been on their feet for a number of hours. Three delightful ladies helped me in three different stores on Saturday, but one cashier stood out from the rest. She had been on the job since 8 AM that morning, and although it was after 6 PM at night, the cashier went out of her way to find coupons for me to use on a number of items I wanted to purchase. When I voiced my amazement at her cheerful manner and thoughtful service, she said she worked two jobs and, with the downturn in the economy, was happy to be employed. She was definitely a Fred.

Sanborn points out that being a Fred often produces a ripple effect. Recently that point was brought home to me. A woman—a Fred--in my church made a two-year commitment to move north to care for her sister who has Alzheimer. Amazed by her sacrifice, I decided to support her with weekly letters of encouragement. Often she writes back and mentions how my notes come at times when she feels most burdened or alone and offer her comfort and support to carry on. Interestingly, she also mentions a younger sister who turned her back on God some years ago. This younger sister has noticed my regular correspondence and has started to question the reason behind my actions, which provides opportunities for the older sister to talk about the Lord. My seemingly inconsequential notes are being used to not only support the lady I know, but also to be an example of outreach done in Christian love to her unbelieving sister.

Not long ago, I worked with a person—I’ll call her Jane—on a business project that, while it affected her company in a positive way, was not something she was required to do. Jane, who is shy and unassuming, gave it her all, and the project was a huge success. I knew she hadn’t shared her achievement with others with whom she worked so I sent a note informing the supervisor of Jane’s herculean efforts and the positive benefits her work had achieved. The supervision sent back an immediate email response. She heaped praise on her employee and thanked me for alerting her to the exceptional job Jane had done. She had also sent a courtesy copy to the company CEO, which provided Jane—a Fred who had gone above and beyond—to be recognized for her work.

Since reading THE FRED FACTOR, my outlook has changed. I’m now searching for Fred moments when I can reach out to others to improve their lives. In hopes of fostering that spirit within my family, I created a Fred Chart and have encouraged my family to make note of times they have been a Fred. Hopefully, the spirit of the postal worker who went above and beyond will spread from my family to neighbors and friends as we tell others about the small ways we are trying to affect change.

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reach out to those around us, to do the best job no matter what that job might be and to make the world a better place for all. Do you have a Fred story to share? Have you been a Fred or have you been touched by a Fred? Has this blog sparked ideas about how you, as a writer, can incorporate The Fred Factor into your life?

Share your Fred story or leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for a book of your choice—either Protecting Her Child, Christmas Peril, or Countdown to Death—plus a $10 Starbuck’s gift card.

The coffee’s on and the breakfast bar is open. Today’s specials include Eggs and Tomatoes Florentine, Ham and Cheese Puff, French Toast Casserole, Sausage and bacon, Almond-Pear Coffee Cake, and Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins. Plus, grits! Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you abundant blessings,

Debby Giusti

To learn more about Mark Sanborn and The Fred Factor, visit his web site:

Join me on Saturday when I add the final segment of a continuing Thanksgiving Tale of Terror, created by the Craftie Ladies of Suspense,


  1. Debby:

    Since you've taken care of the coffe, I've set up the tea pot.

    I have a son who is a Fred--literally. He carries the mail, and over the years I've heard stories of mail route happenings. I know some of the things he does, and things people do in return.

    He has people who have cold sodas or ice water for him when it's blistering hot, a warm word when it's cold, or cookies when he takes his ten minute break and waters their flowers while they're away. During the Christmas season he always ends up with a table full of goodies left in the mailbox for him.

    Yep, being a Fred can be good thing--even if your name is Derek.


    P.S. I have all the books, so let someone else enjoy them.

  2. This beautiful post touched my heart! Many have been "Freds" to me. The one who stands out is a dear Christian friend, now with the Lord, who went out of her way for anyone who crossed her path.

    When I lost my job, she called and encouraged me daily, treated me to coffee or a special lunch, dropped groceries off . . . she basically "adopted" me into her family. She sat by my side through the deaths of loved ones. She does not need earthly praise since she has received the ultimate reward, but I couldn't pass up the chance to remember her here. I have felt her influence as I reach out to my students daily. Hopefully, she's rubbed off on me in a way that is obvious to them!

    Thanks for sharing this, Debby. I believe the folks in your life are blessed by your giving spirit!

    reneeasmith61 [at] yahoo [dot] com

  3. Debby I absolutely loved reading your post! Your stories show what a wonderful woman you are.

    And everyone who shared already, your stories were wonderful!

    When I read the title "The Fred Factor" I immediately thought of Fred Flintstone, what a difference in character. One is out for himself and the other is out to help others.

    Thanks again Debby,

    Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

  4. Debbie, you are definitely a Fred!

    This point in particular resonated with me: “Fred mastered the most important job skill of the twenty-first century: the ability to create value for customers without spending more money to do it.”

    Someone years ago shared this concept with me and it made all the difference in my businesses. As a result, I was invited to weddings, baby showers... was honored to attend funerals and see to needs in hospitals. All of these are opportunities to be a witness in our lives for the Lord Jesus Christ. It is because of developing relationships that God opens doors for us to encourage and help others!

    Thanks for sharing Fred! Will have to procure myself a copy! :)

  5. whoops - and please enter me - may at maythek9spy dot com

    and thanks for the tea Helen. Looks like your Fred learned a lot from his Mom! :)

  6. Here's confirmation that the Weekend Edition's previews work. I came today looking for Fred and Debby.

    Thank you Debby and Mark Sandborn for being willing to 'spread the fred'. I can't think of a better person to gently prod us and remind us the value of going beyond the minimum. Look how God uses people who LISTEN!

    I often need to remind myself that I am to do all as to the Lord. It's not easy. But it turns a task into an opportunity. Now I'll have a name for it.

  7. Ah, Helen, of course your Derek would be a Fred. After all, he's your son!

    So nice to hear about the above and beyond Derek provides the customers on his route. No doubt, he loves his work and is always looking for ways to help others.

    Watering flowers! Oh, my! He is a gem!

    Thanks for sharing, Helen. And thanks for preparing tea this morning.

  8. Renee Ann,
    You have been truly blessed to have such a wonderful friend. Of course, you know that.

    Thanks for sharing the many ways she touched your life. I know you are passing that forward as you work with your students and lend a hand to folks in need.

    I can already feel my life being enriched today by the comments. We hear enough bad news. It's nice to focus on the positives for a change.

  9. Eva,
    I'm laughing about Fred Flintstone! Didn't even think about him! What a hoot!

    I guess that points out the importance a title plays in our initial reaction to a story or a blog. :)

  10. KC,
    God loves people who are willing to embrace others in all stages of their lives, which it sounds like you do. Would love to hear more about your business. No doubt, you're a Fred!

  11. Debby,

    This post made me think because my dad's name was Fred and he had an exceptional attitude about trusting people. He was a farmer and one time he sold a piece of his equipment to a man from another state who he had never laid eyes on. He took the mans check for several thousand dollars and let him drive off with the equipment.

    We thought it was a risky move. Who knew if the check was good? Dad said "He was fine. He came with a little boy. I'm not worried."

    Sure enough, the check went through fine.

    Recently, at a book signing of long-ago graduates from the local high school, a woman I had never met said "Oh, I didn't bring my checkbook. I want a book."

    I told her to take a book and gave her my mailing address. (I did make a mental note of her name). A few days later, I received the check.

    I think the world could use more trust among strangers. It's uplifting and I already think of it as "The Fred Factor," after my dad.

    Thanks for an original post!

    Put my name in for a prize.


  12. You have made my day. My week. My month.

    Deb, this is timeless and probably one of the best posts I've ever read because it applies to everything, every one, everywhere.

    You have blessed me and countless others because now I will try so much harder to be a Fred.

    You have inspired me, my friend. More than you can know. I love, love, love, love this.

    And yes, there are many Freds in my life, unsung blessings. Thank you for reminding me of them and helping me see them more clearly.

    I love Freds.

  13. Deb,
    Love your comment about turning a task into an opportunity. That's powerful and could actually be a mission statement for life. Thanks for sharing!

    And thanks to Tina who does such a great job on the WE...and on the entire blog. She always goes above and beyond and looks for ways to make Seekerville even better. Tina's a Fred extraordinaire!

  14. Cathy,

    So glad to see your comment this morning and to learn about your trusting dad. Loved how he knew the man was honest because he had his little boy with him.

    Your dad had the ability to size up a person and know his worth. I'm sure he always looked for the good in people, just as you do as well.

    I have to tell you, Cathy, your last blog in Seekerville made me pause and reflect on my own life. Your enthusiasm for writing and your drive to publish reminded me of how I used to feel and made me realized I had lost some of the spark that had pushed me forward in the past.

    In all honesty, your blog was the reason I started reading THE FRED FACTOR because I wanted to find the passion I used to have for my work. Thanks to you and Mark Sanborn, I'm back on track and excited about the challenges ahead!

  15. Ruthy, dear, when I see you, I see Fred!

    Thanks for the many ways you have blessed my life! :)


  16. Debby:

    Thanks so much for this post! What a challenge for all of us to get out there and spred the Fred! Also, a great reminder to always think about who we're truly working for. When I start complaining about my boss or job, I'm always reminded that Jesus is my real boss, and I wouldn't want to sluff off or let him down.

    God has blessed me with close friends who are constantly there when I need them and even though their 2000 miles away they still sense when a quick note or phone call is needed. I hope they feel the same about me.

    And you all in Seekerville have become Freds. Encouraging me to keep on keepin on! Thanks to you all!


  17. Spread the Fred! Love it, Kirsten!

    Also love your comment about working for Jesus. Very nice.

    Hubby is in the kitchen, and I just told him about your day job at the Naval Ship Yard in DC, which I learned about yesterday when you commented on Cheryl's blog post.

    Isn't it fun to learn more about our Seekerville friends? Those relationships just keep building. No wonder when we eventually meet, such as at writing conferences, it's like reconnecting with old friends...because that's just what we are!

    You are all such a blessing!

    I hope more folks who visit the blog with be encouraged to leave a comment. We love all our visitors, even lurkers, but we'd love to get to know everyone better so grab a cup of coffee--or tea--and tell us a bit about yourself and the Freds in your life.

  18. Morning Debby,

    Love the Fred Factor and love hearing about all the "Freds". I'm definitely in agreement with several of you who said the Seekers are Freds. You all have been "Freds" of encouragement over and over to me.

    And Tina of course is the CEO of "Freds" with her extraordinary work on this blog. smiling

    And our readers/commenters give us (as Cheryl pointed out yesterday) some amazing gems. Thanks all of you.

    And yes, we do need to keep up that passion. Your reminder has me contemplating today Deb.

  19. Debby, what an inspirational and enlightening post! I love Fred!

    In this busy world where our time is so scheduled and scarce, we need these reminders of what life is really about.

    Interaction. Support. Appreciation.

    You and Mark Sanborn touched my heart. I'm going to try extra hard to voice my appreciation of others' efforts, not just smile and think, *that was so nice!*

    Bless you for the time you take to make others' lives better, Debby. I've been the receipient of your graciousness more than once. You and Fred are quite a pair!

  20. I loved this! I want to get this book for all of my husband's employees. Many of them go above and beyond for him. I love Fred's story. How touching.

    Debby, wonderful post today. I hadn't heard of this book but can't wait to get a copy of it.

    Thanks for posting on this topic!

  21. I worked with a nurse, Deb Roberts, who was definitely a Fred.

  22. Hey, Debby! What a wonderful post! I definitely want to be more of a Fred. Unfortunately, I've not been much of a Fred most of my life. I feel inspired to do more. My problem is that I seem to have about half the energy of the Freds of the world. I've decided to get some B vitamins, gradually wean myself onto caffeine again, and make an elaborate meal for my family and my friend's family, since she just had surgery.

    Think the B vitamins and caffeine will work?

  23. I would like to think I'm a Fred but I know there are times when I've fallen short.

    But I have a best friend who is a Fred. No matter what anyone needs, she is always there ready and willing to help. She even put together my marketing packet at no cost to me and I'm sure she spent many hours on it. She's the first to call to see how I'm doing, to bring a meal to a family in need, to organize a food/clothing drive for families in our community - you name it, she is there. She is truly a Fred in our city!

  24. Debby, I loved your post! The Fred Factor is inspiring! Thanks for sharing this with Seekerville and for blessing others regularly with your thoughtfulness. Your life is a lovely example of the Fred Factor at work, dear friend.

    You and your post post encourage me to look for opportunities to bless clerks and other shoppers while I'm buying Christmas gifts. I also plan to talk about the Fred Factor at our Thanksgiving table, focusing on Sanborn's belief that the way to move through life joyfully and successfully is by focusing on what you give rather than on what you get.

    One Fred who impresses me is the woman who cleans the ladies restroom at a public beach in Florida. With all the sand that's tracked in and the messy habits of too many of us, she keeps that restroom amazingly clean. I thanked her one day. From her expression I could tell she wasn't used to compliments. There are countless others like her that could use some encouragement and I intend to be alert to opportunities to give it.


  25. WOW I will buy this book. Thank you Deb for sharing the Fred Factor!!

  26. I like the "reinvent yourself regularly" part. So hopeful as to what we have in Christ. Wonderful to think that when we allow Him to work through us...all change is possible.


  27. I don't know anyone personally named Fred, but I try to be a "Fred" to folks. To those cashiers at stores and resturants I try to say "thank you sweetie". (I'm from the south, we have to add a sweetie or honey to our sentence)! I try to say "have a nice day". I know it's hard for them to wait on people all day, for some folks are not the best customers to wait on. You never know when you will encourage someone.

  28. This is such a nice post, Debby. I love it.

    I'm going to change and become a decent human being.

    I swear.

    First thing tomorrow.

    Okay Friday.


  29. I thought of this while I was reading.

    Something I've always said to my daughters.


    If you're a waitress, you go be the very BEST waitress you know how to be. My groceries can be carried out well or poorly. The clerk at the cash register can do an extraordinary job or she can be miserable to do business with.

    You go do WHATEVER you do to the very best of you ability.

    Not sure this is exactly the FRED factor, but it made me think of that.

  30. Also, I think Fred oughta get a cut of this guy's royalties.


  31. Your posting is such an uplift today, Debby. My hubby is a "Fred" to many although he's not a mail carrier. And he makes a point of recognizing the job others do to make life a little more pleasant for everyone. His dad was a postman and went above and beyond on his route. So in this case it's like father like son. I concur that Seekers are Freds, too. I get much assistance and encouragement on the writing journey here. I'm thankful for all the Fred's I know and for their example.

  32. Oh, Deb...

    Hugs to you.

    And Mary, you big ol' softie, you're as Fredlike as anyone I know personally, you know, not Mother Theresa Fred, but Always-there-for-the-downtrodden quiet Fred.

    And I will not embarrass you by telling the world all the Fred-things you do, but you amaze me.

    Not as much as Ghirardelli hot fudge sundaes amaze me, but that's another blog post for another day.

    Hot chicken parm sandwiches for lunch. It's cold and rainy here, windy too.

    What could be better than breaded, fried chicken topped with cheese and red sauce?


  33. I try to be a Fred, though I don't know how well I succeed. I say thank you [to the point of wondering if I say it too much and when I really shouldn't] to just about everyone I come in contact with in the service sector [btdt, don't miss it]. I have two BFFs. One is a Fred for me [the other would be but is halfway across the country and so is a Fred in intangible ways]. She has watched my kids on a moment's notice, brought me magazines and snacks while in the hospital with one of the kiddos, sits in the parking lot at the mall with me talking through some things for so long that the security guards start giving us funny looks as they drive by REALLY SLOWLY, and never complaining when I pick Olive Garden [again!] for dinner because she goes out regularly and 'regularly' for me is 2-3xs a year. I try to do the same for her but it's harder with four kids, though I do my best [once, I loaded up the still not mobile infant and went to her house with pizzas and junk food after a particularly difficult day, but she does that kind of thing for me more often than I do it for her].

    I love her dearly. She was the one wedding I should have been in but they opted for a beach/destination wedding and I wasn't able to go because of timing [middle of the week during finals] and kids [DSnow3 was 8-9mos and not completely healthy]. Ah well. I'll keep her anyway =D.

    Books would be cool :).

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

  34. Ooo Ruth! I want one of those sandwiches! I may have to make chicken parm for dinner tonight now :).

  35. Thanks, Ruthy. But it's kinda late now to get your name off the 'naughty' list.

    But good try

  36. WOW, Deb ... I'm with Ruthy ... this is "one of the best posts I've ever read"!! Incredibly inspiring, so THANK YOU!!

    I LOVE "Freds" SOOO much, that I make it a habit (to the annoyance of my family) to ALWAYS talk to the manager in a store or restaurant where a Fred has waited on me with exceptional service, be it a great attitude, big smile, going the extra mile, whatever. And since I am a drama queen along with being a natural gusher when I really like something, I make darn sure the manager knows just HOW important their employee is to their success. You would be shocked how few people apparently do this because most managers look scared to death when they approach after I have asked to speak to them, but their countenance completely changes when I compliment their employee. Many of the managers have told me that most people will take the time to complain, but few will bother to rave over an employee beyond a tip. I don't know about anybody else, but that just makes me plain sad.

    If you ask me, "The Fred Factor" is actually the "God factor" because it basically boils down to Biblical principles and showing Christ to others. I mean, let's face it -- it's NOT our problems or moods that are the most important things to God ... it's people!! How we treat them in the face of our moods and problems. Which leads me back to something my old pastor always used to say: People are attached to our obedience. Amen to that!!

    Great post, Deb!!



  37. Hi Everyone,
    I had a meeting at church that took longer than I thought it would. Sorry to be away from the blog for so long.

    Sandra, you're right. Tina is the CEO Fred for Seekerville. Love it!

    Waving to Tina, who is probably at work. Where's her mug? I'll pour her a cup of coffee and see if she stops by.

  38. Hi Audra,
    You're the one who delivered coffee creamer to my door at are such a Fred!

    Isn't is fun to see the concept of something so simple and yet uplifting take hold and spread? I bet Mark Sanborn never imagined how the Fred Factor would grow, and the original Fred must feel extremely blessed that his willingness to serve has empowered so many.

  39. You know, Julie reminded me of a time I went to a Chick-fil-A in the Tulsa area. I worked at one for the better part of a decade. I know how it goes. This poor manager had a minimum of 5 trainees working [his whole front line/cashiers were trainees, with just him as the trainer]. Our order wasn't the easiest [coupon value substitutions, special sandwiches, etc] and when I got a comment card, everyone in my group thought I was going to complain. I didn't though. I wrote what I hope was seen as a very nice, complimentary note praising how well he was keeping it together and what a good job they all did under difficult circumstances [a whole soccer team walked in a few minutes after we did - with a whole trainee cashier staff - OUCH!]. I never heard from the owner of the store though I did leave contact info on the card as requested, but I do hope that it made the guy's day a little easier.

    Off to fold clothes so I can read Julieness later :).


    captcha: dulness - um, how could A Passion Most Pure be dul?

  40. Oh! This was such a goosebumpy post!!!! And yes the Seekers are all Fredettes!

    One of the Freds I know is really a Joe -- an older man with a developmental disability who was hired at my grocery store to collect the carts from the parking lot and bring them back into the store. Joe took his job very seriously and would practically whisk a cart right out from under your groceries if you weren't careful.

    He did such a good job in fact that he always had spare time on his shift. Management didn't know what to do with him but that was okay because Joe had some ideas of his own. He decided that if Walmart had a greeter then the grocery store should have one as well and he appointed himself to do the job! Definitely an act of Fred, don't you think?

    Thanks for the uplifting post, Debby! I'm definitely buying the book.

  41. Cheryl,

    Tell your hubby that Mark Sanborn talks about how to "grow" the Fred spirit within a company.

    Again, he uses FRED:

    Basically, he says to find Freds who are already in the office place. Reward them for their effort. Educate others on how to become Freds, and Demonstrate being a Fred through your own actions.

  42. Hi, Debby! Thanks for sharing the Fred Factor! One of my experiences is when my hubby was in and out of jobs due to layoffs and I worked as a grocery cashier. I always tried to treat each customer with the same respect and service that I want. One day, a scruffy looking guy came in with an equally scruffy looking woman. I could tell by his demeanor and hers that she was more his victim than his significant other. She would keep looking up at me, but would look away each time I tried to make eye contact with her. He was totally the one in charge, but I kept including her in the conversation. I could see her lack of self respect and her insecurity. I kept addressing her more than the man and she eventually held my gaze long enough for me to telegraph her a message. I wanted her to know that I cared and that she's just as important as the next person. She gave me a grateful if timid smile and walked out of the store with her shoulders and head held a little higher. I've prayed for her ever since and continue to pray for women in her situation. I never saw her again, but I have to trust God to take care of her. I've learned that many times it's the littlest things that help people the most.

    For the drawing: lr. mullin at live. com


  43. Melanie,

    Thanks for sharing your Fred plan. Making dinner for a friend's family is a wonderful way to help your friend who had surgery. Plus, her family will benefit from the yummy meal as well.

    Sorry about your lack of energy, Melanie. Have you been getting enough sleep?

  44. Edwina,

    Your friend sounds amazing! And energetic!

    She's definitely a Fred. But so are you, I know.

  45. Great post. I always learn something here.

  46. Hi Debby,
    Another interesting post.The "Fred" appears to be a common sense person and comfortable to be around....
    a good friend.

    janet_kerr (at)

  47. This is not exactly a Fred story because it involves money. But about 15 years ago when we had a bunch of little kids, we were extremely tight on money.

    We received in mail an old plastic cassette tape holder stuffed w/10 $100 bills. There was no return address, and to this day, I don't know who sent the cash.

    I'm very thankful for people who are willing to give of themselves.


    bcountryqueen6 at msn dot com for the contest.

  48. Such an inspiring message today, Debby! This is a great reminder not only to recognize and thank the "Freds" who cross our paths each day, but to try to be a "Fred" to others.

  49. Janet, you have such a beautiful family. Tell them hello for me! And a Happy Thanksgiving to all. Glad Fred will provide food for thought around your holiday table.

    God bless the lady who cleans the beach restroom. Isn't she wonderful to keep things tidy for others. Glad you could affirm her work and the service she provides to so many.

  50. CEO Fred Tina!

    Did you get the cup of coffee I poured for you? For some reason, I can't see the pictures next to the comments today. I miss your sweet face and your coffee mug!

  51. Hi Julia,
    Great tie in between Christ's call and being a Fred. They do work together, don't they!

  52. Hi Patsy,

    You're a Fred, spreading joy with your thanks to those who serve you in stores and restaurants.

    Your kind note arrived yesterday and made my day! Thank you, Patsy.

  53. Mary, you are such a Fred!

    And you taught your daughters the basis of the Fred Factor before Mark Sanborn had even heard of Fred. Good for you!

    As you mentioned, doing the best job no matter what that job might be is key to being a Fred!

  54. Yay, the photos beside the comments just mysteriously appeared.

    Did you fix the problem for me, Tina, AKA Fred?

  55. Mary,

    Fred Shea is the real Fred. He was recognized by the USPS, and Mark Sanborn was the speaker for the event, but I'm not sure if he shared his royalties! :)

  56. Pat,
    Your hubby must be a sweetie! Bet he's proud of you too!

    We need a Love My Postman Day! The gals who man my local PO are the best...all strong Christians who provide wonderful service to their customers. I always tell them that without their help, I'd never get my mansuscripts to NYC!

  57. Hi Debby:

    I love your post. It’s right up my alley. For years I taught a three-hour seminar on “Becoming a Value-Adding Person”. While it was mostly about real estate salesmanship, I did have a section on personal relationships.

    I expressed the FRED concept this way: always leave the people you meet with a positive charge. When you meet people they may be positively charged, neutral, or negatively charged. Whatever their charge, zap them with a positive jolt.

    Honest compliments work wonders. Showing admiration for any accomplishment the person has obtained also works well. (Look for patches or pins which indicate a trade or hobby, e.g., a Toastmaster’s pin.) Looking at people with genuine ‘approval’ in your eyes melts even negatively charged grumps.

    Usually doing this cost nothing but produces a wealth of results. I remember one cold December night I was giving a class and a lady came in wearing a bright yellow dress with flower designs on it. I thanked her for wearing something so cheerful. I said her dress was a gift to all who saw her. She loved the compliment.

    Another couple had just come back from a trip to Europe and I asked if they had any photos I could see. The next class they had dozens of photos and we went over them as they relived the enjoyment of their trip. They were very pleased that I showed an interest. (Their friends avoided asking about the trip because of fear they would ‘drag out the photos’). So many people ‘rain on other’s parades’ without even knowing it.

    I think that always giving others a positive charge is more encompassing than adding value alone.

    For writers I would suggest these ways to add value:

    1. Use your web site to show pictures of the locations in your books.
    2. Work interesting facts into your story that make the reader smarter.
    3. Work some ‘ah-ha’ moments into your story which may also stimulate similar ‘growth’ in the reader.
    4. When you write an historical novel, include a bibliography and notes on your research on your website. Georgina Gentry actually puts dozens of pages of these notes at the back of her fiction. I love it! But I don’t think many publishers would allow this.
    5. If music plays a part in the story, add sound clips to your website. This is very useful if the story involves folk music that readers may never have heard.
    6. If the heroine wins a cooking contest include the recipe on your web site.
    7. If you are writing a medical romance, include a glossary on your website which allows the reader to equate English terms to American terms and vice versa. (If the editor allows it, place this glossary in the back of the book.)
    8. If the characters build things, like furniture, show some pictures of that furniture -- especially if the piece is not generally known. What does a Louis XIV desk look like?
    9. If you’ve written a series of books, add a short summary of each and the order of publication on your web site.
    10. In an historical novel which has military uniforms, show pictures of those uniforms.

    In the above cases, the author is adding value to the reader’s enjoyment of the book. If there are three similar authors a reader likes equally well, and she can only buy one book, these value added features may tip the scale in your direction. It’s something to think about.


    BTW: I have all your books.

  58. Ruthy,

    Thanks for the yummy chicken sandwiches. You knew we were hungry and went to work to help.

    Another Fred moment! :)

  59. Carol,
    Aren't you lucky to have two BFFs! And they're lucky too!

    Pizza and junk food! Now that's a good friend. :)

    Love your mention of the long talks in the car parked in the mall lots. I'm sure those security guards wondered why you gals didn't move on...little did they know it was a Fred moment!

  60. Julie,

    I can see you demanding to talk to the supervisor and his apprehension as he draws near your table.

    Good for you to recognize outstanding service by telling the boss! That really pays off for the waitress or help staff.

    And it takes time and effort on your part so pat yourself on the back. You're a Fred to those who Fred you! Love it! :)

  61. You're right, Julie! The Fred Factor is the God Factor!

  62. Carol,

    Love your Chick-Fil-A Fred story. I'm sure that trainer's mood lifted when he read your comment.

  63. Kav, your Fred story made me smile. Very nice!

    And grocery stores should have greeters, right?

  64. Linnette,
    I'm praying for the woman too! Thanks for reaching out to her that day.

    As I mentioned, Sanborn wrote about the ripple effect. Hopefully, your outreach provided more encouragement than you'll ever know.

  65. Hi Runner!

    Thanks for being with us today!!! You're in the drawing.

  66. Hi Janet,
    Yes, a Fred has common sense and is comfortable to be he or she goes above and beyond because he/she sees a need or wants to solve a problem.

    Sounds like there are lots of Freds in Seekerville, but I knew that already! :)

  67. Connie, what a beautiful story. Yes, the person who sent that special gift was a Fred.

    My hubby volunteers at our church food pantry; in fact he's the Vice Pres for the organization that distributes money and food to the needy in our area. The number of people seeking financial aid and food is growing rapidly, but others--who can--are digging deep to help.

    IMHO, we'll see--and need--more Freds in the days ahead.

  68. Thanks, Myra, for your comment. As you mentioned, sometimes the best thanks we can give is to pay the kindness or outreach forward and help someone else in need.

  69. Fred...I mean Vince! :)

    Great post of yours today. You did what I asked and offered suggestions writers could use! Love the tips on how to enhance a web site and add value to the story.

    Also, loved the positive charge concept! You're right, Vince. Showing interest and affirming the person makes everyone stand taller and feel good. Negative charges abound. When we can instill that positive jolt, as you mentioned, we become a value-added person, also known as a Fred!

    BTW, I could see the woman wearing the yellow dress as I read your comment. You made her day, for sure!

  70. .

    “Love on a Dime” is now available for a limited time on Amazon as a Kindle eBook for free.

    BTW: when you have a very good product, the most powerful advertising is giving away free samples. Don’t miss this! : )


    It just occurred to me that your very post topic is an example of being a FRED!

    You always have great post topics from a FRED POV!



  71. Debby,

    I am thrilled that my November 8 Seekerville (in case anyone wants to see it :) blog post inspired you!

    Actually, thinking back on some of my experiences made me want to take some more risks as well. It isn't easy to keep pushing forward, which reminds me of a current favorite quote and I would have to look up who said it.

    "Playing it safe is one of the most popular ways to fail."



  72. Debby,

    Thanks for the post and the reminder to look for the blessings in life. And they are out there. I find them here all the time, even if I don't comment. Seekerville has given a wealth of the FRED FACTOR for me, not just in the writing world, but I count you as friends.

    And more, beautiful sisters in Christ.

    If you wouldn't mind, I would appreciate some prayer for decisions that need to be made in our business.

    Thanks so much.


    Tina P.

  73. Vince,
    Thanks for the info about LOVE ON A DIME. Great story by a delightful author! :)

    Plus, your tip about free samples is right on! Lots of authors use free excerpts as a way to reach out to readers.

    Thanks for your comment about my blog topic. You get a hug for charming the blogger. :)

  74. Cathy,
    So glad you stopped back again. You're right. Pushing forward takes courage and conviction, both of which you have in abundance.

    You inspired me. I know you inspire others, as well. Keep up the good work!

  75. Tina P,
    I'm heading out for my walk and will be lifting you up in prayer, concerning your business. Hope you get a clear answer in the not-too-distant future.

    Thanks for your comment about Seeker friends. I agree. Everyone on the blog is a friend. I'm blessed by all of you!

  76. I have to run to church and can't read comments right now. But I have to say I've witnessed Debby being a Fred on many occasions--to waiters, cashiers, housekeeping at a hotel, our cab driver... :)

    Debby, you are a Fred and always an inspiration to me!

  77. Great thoughts, Debby! I've run across 'Freds' over the years and they've always been a blessing to me. Wouldn't it be nice if we all took the time to be Fred?

  78. Thank you, Debby, for a wonderful review of my book The Fred Factor and the thoughtful comments you provided in your reflection on the themes. You exemplify the spirit of Fred and your blog is most gratifying to me.

  79. Debbie, I enjoyed your comments and reflections on The Fred Factor. I am a letter carrier and was proud that Mark found Fred to be so inspiring! Itold him so!
    I would like your readers to know about a book called: CARRIED AWAY; TRUE STORIES FROM LETTER CARRIERS ACROSS AMERICA. (Helen, your Derek would like this!)
    Proceeds go to a postal charity called PERF (Postal Employees Relief Fund) which grants financial help to postal workers in times of natural disaster.
    If you are interested in ordering our book or learning about it:
    Our collection has many "Fred" stories as well as funny, embarrassing, and human interest ones. Several customers also contributed stories about their own letter carrier.
    Anyway,Debby, great review and thoughtful observations about writing.
    Kate Drury

  80. Hey Missy,
    A woman on the run! Don't know how you do it all. Thanks for your sweet words.

  81. Hi Cara,
    As you know, Seekerville is loaded with Freds. Everyone today wrote about someone who had impacted them or they told a story about how they had reached out to someone in need. My heart is touched by all the positive charges, as Vince would say, that have been mentioned.

    Let's keep up the good work and continue to be Freds. After all, it's a win-win for everyone.

  82. Mark,
    What an honor to have you stop by Seekerville! As you may have noted, all of us have been affected in a positive way by the Fred Factor. The stories people have shared today show how the concepts you present apply to everyone no matter where we live or our job or our station in life. Thanks for a wonderful read and for challenging us to reach out to others and help to make the world a better place for all.

  83. Hi Kate,
    Thanks for stopping by and for providing information about your book, CARRIED AWAY. Thanks, too, for the wonderful service you provide to your customers.

    As I mentioned earlier today, the gals at my local post office are the greatest! Plus, my favorite uncle started out as a mail carrier and worked for the PO in Columbus, Ohio until he retired.

    Let's send a shout out to all USPS employees! We appreciate all of them!

  84. My postal carrier is wonderful! She always brings boxes of checks to the door because she doesn't like to leave them in the mailbox. :)

    Mark, thanks for stopping by the blog! We're honored!

    Kate, I heading to the blog to check it out now! :)

  85. I just ordered Carried Away. Looks cute! I can't wait to read it. :)

  86. I heard a piece on NPR yesterday about a school secretary who said that the school should treat the parents like the most important people who walked through the doors of the school.

    And the parents they interviewed said they felt important, wanted to be more involved when the school started treating them like that.

    It was one way the school could foster goodwill and it didn't cost anything other than a smile and a willingness to be helpful.

    So that secretary is definitely a Fred. Maybe she even read the Fred Factor!!!

  87. The guy at the office who delivers the mail at my office always has a smile on his face on his everyone. It's always a joy to see him wherever you run into him in the building.

    Debby, this is a wonderful post (and I already have all of your wonderful books).

  88. Pam, lovely story that I'm passing on to my daughter who is a teacher.


  89. Walt, your mail delivery man sounds like a Fred. I bet he brightens everyone's day.

  90. Dear Debby,
    Thank you so very much for this post! I was unfamiliar with this book, but thoroughly enjoyed reading your summary and learning how to be a "Fred". ~ Without going into personal detail, I must say that YOU have truly been a "Fred" in my life--with all of your prayers and encouragement throughout (and after) my spinal surgeries. Thank you sweet lady! Love and Blessings, Patti Jo

  91. Debbie,

    I'm on digest, so I'm a day late, but I wanted to say thanks for your post. It made me think of a few Fred Moments.

  92. Patti Jo,
    So glad to see you back in Seekerville! Continuing to send prayers your way. :)

  93. Patti Jo,
    So glad to see you back in Seekerville! Continuing to send prayers your way. :)

  94. So glad you stopped by, LaShaunda, and thanks for leaving a comment.

    I didn't know blogs could come through on digest. But then, I have so much to learn about the Internet and technology...

    Sorry about the double comment above. I clicked once and nothing happened so, of course, I clicked a second time. Thus, two comments.

  95. Debby,

    Great review of a great book. I had to read it back when I was working for the State of California and the concept of always going the extra mile to help/serve others is a good lesson anytime.


  96. Sandy,
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting on your long involvement with THE FRED FACTOR. That's probably why you always go above and beyond! :)

  97. Every morning I wake up to a FRED. A man who goes above and beyond each day to serve his God, his country, and his family. I am beyond blessed. And to you Debby, beyond thankful for raising such a wonderful man.

  98. Hi Debby,

    Thank you for sharing this. I love hearing stories like this, and the encouragement to become a Fred. You blessed me mightily--and that was before hearing what was for breakfast! Yum

    Mary Kay