What “They” Don’t Tell You – Part 2

What “They” Don’t Tell You – Part 2

Krista Trietley-EstesKrista comes to TrainerTainment with a world of experience. She grew up in the family entertainment industry, worked most positions in the center, went off to college, and spent her early career developing and delivering training in the corporate world. She is an Arbonne entrepreneur and an enthusiastic sales representative for TrainerTainment. We are lucky to have her experience, insight, and commitment to others growth. I know you’ll enjoy this two-part series.

Plot Twist

Don’t you love those? If you remember part one from last week, you’ll know I’m sharing the story of my ideal internship during my final year of college – lake views and shopping all day with image consultant extraordinaire Linda Thomas!

Day one. Walk in. Sit down. Super excited. Huge smile on my face. I ask, “When is our first shopping client?” Linda replied, “Today and I really want you to pay attention and see how you like it. Really think through how the day goes and we will talk about how you feel afterward, okay?”

In my head I was thinking, “Of course I am going to love this. I was born to do this. I am going to knock your socks off!”  I’m sure I was about to squeal with delight and excitement.

The Appointment

It’s 10am and we are headed to one of my favorite department stores in one of my favorite areas of Dallas. I felt so important. All the employees knew Linda. We got to go in the back where all the stylists went. We even had stylists there to assist if needed. This was a very important client.

As the day progresses, I remember Linda’s words. I was to “pay attention to how I felt during the appointment and see how it goes.” What I notice is two hours had passed and the client hadn’t selected anything we chose for her. I also notice the client isn’t particularly pleasant. I fight the negative feelings that were creeping in. Maybe she’s having a rough day. I’m hopeful the next few hours will be more exciting.

Those hours pass slowly as we add three shoe people and two additional stylists to the mix to try to make the client happy. The dressing room looks like we pulled the entire department store in it and flipped it on its head. I’m feeling exhausted, not empowered, and the morning’s enthusiasm is waning.

Realism Meets Enthusiasm

The client left with one dress and one blouse. Eight hours for a dress and a blouse that I’m not sure she even really liked. I wanted to change lives with clothing. I wanted to show people what great looks like. I wanted to work with people who were open to learning and who wanted and needed help. This appointment was not that! My mind was racing. What did I get myself into? How will I possibly be able to do another 392 hours of this? I remember wondering if this was really what I want to do with my life. Uh-oh. I have no other path. OMG!


As we get into the car, Linda asks, “So, tell me. How do you think that went?”  It’s my first day. I can’t show her my crazy! I reply, “It was an experience.”  “An experience,” she says. “Tell me more.”

So, I just let her in. I tell her exactly what was going on in my head. At this point, I’m thinking she isn’t going to want to ride with crazy all the way back to Lake Dallas. Since Lyft wasn’t a thing in 2009, I figured I might have to walk back or call my husband for a ride. Plus, now I’ll have to find another internship. How could I spend 392 more hours in that kind of misery?

After I get it all out, Linda smiled and said. “Great. I am really glad those are your thoughts.” To say I was stunned at her response would be an understatement. She then said, “Trips like these are rare in my business and I, like you, want to inspire people. I want to work with people who are open to learning. I want to help them learn about the messages they send with their clothes. I want to teach people what to wear and how to wear it. How to create a positive impression from the time a person walks into a room. That is what I really do. I am a speaker. I speak to groups all over, some small and some large, and that is also what I want you to do. Your first gig is in three days. Don’t worry. You can do this. I’ll be with you every step of the way. We will speak together on the four generations in the workplace. You will be the Gen Y because that is who you are and I am a Baby Boomer. You’ll need to study over the next couple of days. I have the bullet points for you to cover and I know you will be amazing. I wouldn’t have hired you if I didn’t think you could do it.”

I am pretty sure my eyes were really big. I had never done true public speaking, but I had no other choice. I wanted to learn from her, I trusted her, and I decided I was in this thing. This was my summer internship. I could do it.

The Moment of Truth

Thursday came. I had studied hard. This was the first of many presentations I did with Linda over the course of my internship. She hired me in the fall of 2009 and we continued our joint seminars through 2010 until I graduated and landed my dream corporate job as a trainer with a large retailer.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones. Many of my friends who chose 400 hour internships in New York, LA, and downtown Dallas didn’t land dream jobs. I say this not to impress you, but rather to impress upon you how important it is to appreciate your current season. You never know what the next season may hold.

The Moral of the Story

“They” (those on the outside who tell you to go to college), should also be telling you about hands on training. Working side by side with someone makes all the difference.

An internship with any job can be one of the most valuable things you do for not only your career but for yourself. The time I spent with Linda, every time, was mentorship and real-life experience. There’s no amount of money or time that could match the value of those 400 hours. I would have worked 10,000 hours for free with her. Being trained by the expert on the thing you want to do is very valuable.

Once you get that training, pay it forward. Find someone to train who is open, wants to grow and learn, and works hard. If I hadn’t had the mentorship of someone who would stand side by side with me, show me the way, believe in me, take me through a fail experience, and then show me a win experience, I doubt I would be here today working for TrainerTainment.

That 400 hour internship changed the trajectory of my life. When I came back to school the next semester, I was a totally different person. I had a tough professor and even she asked, “What happened to you?” I was so different others noticed.

Linda believed in me at a level I had not experienced before. I had someone other than my parents telling me I was great. Linda helped me believe I could do more and be more than I thought. She helped me out of the goodness of her heart. She was always ready to share the spotlight not just with me, but with everyone. I will continue her legacy.

I encourage you to visualize your dream job. Work with someone already in that job. Take others with you. Decide that whether not a leader has your back, your peers are

What “They” Don’t Tell You – Part 1

What “They” Don’t Tell You – Part 1

Krista Trietley-EstesKrista comes to TrainerTainment with a world of experience. She grew up in the family entertainment industry, worked most positions in the center, went off to college, and spent her early career developing and delivering training in the corporate world. She is an Arbonne entrepreneur and an enthusiastic sales representative for TrainerTainment. We are lucky to have her experience, insight, and commitment to others growth. I know you’ll enjoy this two-part series.

Go to college, they say

Get your basics, pick a major, change your major a couple of times, and when you graduate, get your first real job. What they don’t tell you is that it’s quite likely that when you graduate from college, your first job will not be the dream job you thought the degree was going to bring.

I’m more than a decade beyond college and now know most people will not get their dream job. You must work your way up the ladder. Not every leader is going to have your back. Not every ladder will be worth the climb. Not every encounter with peers is going to be pleasant. But, if you can stick it out and remember where you want to go, it is possible to get to where you want to be.

A 400 Hour Internship

In college, we were required to do a 400 hour internship. I was in a Fashion program and many of my friends were dashing off to New York and LA or working in downtown Dallas. Many of them were getting paid for their internship.

I spent the summer of 2009 in the heart of Lake Dallas. Google it. You’ll find a small town, with a population of maybe 700 people and one stop light. If you blink, you miss the entire place. I was in the heart of Lake Dallas and my heart is there still.

From a young age, I was taught to find something you love to do and figure out a way to make a living doing it. Mom and Dad said you’ll never have to work a day of your life when you love what you do.

I Love Shopping!

I loved shopping. I loved dressing people. I truly have a gift for this type of thing, and I decided I would love being an image consultant. My plan for internship was to find a local image consultant who would take me on as their intern and teach me the tools of the trade. One problem. Finding image consultants who were local was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Finally, I found a consultant in LA who referred me a local – Linda Thomas.

When I found out Linda was in Lake Dallas, I was completely inspired. I had wonderful romanticized ideas of working in an office overlooking a lake after shopping all day long with our amazing clients. I quickly picked up the phone to call her.

The Call

Ring. Ring. Ring. No answer. I left a message.

“Hello, this is Krista Estes, I calling to talk with you about the possibility of being a free intern for you over the summer. If you could give me a call back, I would really appreciate it.”

When Linda’s husband Carl tells this story today, he says the “free” part is what hooked him. Linda says it was my eye contact at our first meeting. We all have different things that hook us, I guess. Whichever it was, the word “free” or my spot-on eye contact, I got the internship. I was on my way to lake views and shopping.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story…And call or email me right away to help you grow, using our training and coaching programs. And if you want a little advice on your next outfit, I’m up for that as well!

Service BEYOND Sanitation

Service BEYOND Sanitation

Candi Kelley is the Director of Training at TrainerTainment. Her experience in the entertainment & hospitality industry includes restaurant expertise, franchisee development, operational leadership, and much more. Her passion for great guest experience, training, and building others is evident in her day to day focus on building and sharing products and services that help teams SOAR!

We are definitely in an unprecedented time. Even though things may feel scary and uncertain, opportunity and innovation are also possible. These possibilities are visible each and every day. Hopefully, we’ve used some of this time to analyze the type of business we want to be when we reopen (and we will reopen!). I personally am obsessed with guest service, so If you haven’t spent some time thinking about your customer service standards, it might be a good time to add that to your list NOW.

Across the globe, 96% of consumers say customer service is an important factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand.

Although Customer Service should be a top priority for every business, it sure seems to have gotten complicated. Businesses use terms like Client Relations, Service Recovery, Positive Scripting, etc. While these words represent fantastic customer service initiatives, the core concept of great guest service remains.

Guests/Customers want to be treated in a respectful, consistent manner. When I think of the best customer service providers, (Chick-fil-A, Southwest, IHG), the thing that comes most to mind is consistency. Not one of these brands does anything that is magical, fantastical, or amazing. However, what they do is to consistently provide me with a great meal, travel accommodations, and experience. At times they make me feel a little special and they never fall below the basic promises they make to me, the guest!

Brands that accomplish this level of consistency build the trust needed to create loyal guests/customers. This type of fanatical consistency can be the foundation of your customer service experience. 87% of consumers believe that companies need to provide a more consistent customer experience. (Zendesk)

My challenge to you is to first lay out the foundation of consistency. Look at your processes. Are they followed by all? Were they created with the guest in mind? What needs to be improved to ensure the type of service level measures up to your guest’s expectations, and is delivered the same each and every time? Spend some energy to think about guest service from the consumer’s (not the business owner’s), perspective. Customers need to trust you will consistently deliver on your promises, rather than an occasional upgraded experience when it may be convenient for you.

In the weeks that come, I will share 4 additional steps that may help you build upon this great service foundation so you can S.O.A.R with a new excellent customer service strategy.

Only 1% of customers feel that their expectations of customer service are always met. – RightNow

If you want to talk through your processes or simply have an additional perspective, feel free to reach out to candi@trainertainment.net.

I am here. What do you need?

What to do Now . . .

What to do Now . . .

Tired of Waiting?

I know each of us is tired of waiting or worrying about what’s next. Uncertainty can cause a bit of insanity. My solution to the uncertain, is always to take some type of action. If you want to stop waiting, do something. As I thought about the things that might be worked on now in planning to re-open, PEOPLE ring first and foremost in my mind.

Ready to Create Extraordinary?

As a business owner or a team member, this is a perfect time to make sure you are where you want to be. If you spend the time to make a list of all the characteristics and traits you want in a team member, or if you are a team member, in a job, then you have a guide to help you know who to bring back or whether or not you should go back to “business as usual”. Nothing is going to be ordinary. It a great time to create a new extraordinary situation for yourself and for the businesses that serve the public.

A Little Woo-Woo for Today

A Little Woo-Woo for Today

Laura consistently fights for the health and wealth of TrainerTainment coaching clients. She’s worked with teams from Canada to the Bahamas. Her superpower of listening makes her a great partner in hearing what needs to be done next. Helping clients see that for themselves is something we all work on each and every session… If you dare, practice working on you today!

A Little Woo-Woo for Today

By: Laura O’Neal – Business Coach Leader
TI feel like I’m the woo-woo person on the TrainerTainment team. If woo-woo isn’t your thing, you might want to skip this blog. 🙂

I say the blog is woo-woo because it’s about emotion. Touchy-feely stuff. I believe we are in a time of great emotion as we navigate through layoffs, shutdowns, pandemics, and more. My goal is to share a way to better connect to those emotions and use them and this time for growth.

I think it’s possible any external disconnection we might feel because we are physically disconnected from others may be exacerbated by the disconnection we feel internally. We may feel disconnected from ourselves at this time because we have never been in a time, place, or space like we are now.

To close the gap on that disconnection, I encourage you to take a few quiet minutes and answer the questions below. No one is going to grade your work. This is an exercise just for you. Think carefully about how you feel now and how you felt in the past as you delve into the thoughts below.

What does not having freedom mean to you?

What does being told what to do mean to you?

What does not having choice mean to you?

What does waiting mean to you?

This is not only a time to address business issues, but it is also a time to address things that might have been holding us back personally and professionally. It has been my observation as a business coach, that there are ZERO DEGREES OF SEPARATION between the business owner as a person and the business itself. As humans, owners, or team members, we bring who we are to every situation.

I hope you’ll spend time thinking and especially feeling your way through the questions above. If you need to reach out to a friend, online counselor, or your pastor to walk through each question, do so. You can certainly reach out to us as well. We’re pretty good listeners and ready to help.

Stay safe friends.


Do Your Business and Personal Values Match?

Do Your Business and Personal Values Match?


Do your personal values (how you run your life, treat your family, your view of “fairness,” creating work-life balance, listening, responding, maintaining your environment) match up to the life you lead at work? If not, why not?


This might be a wonderful time to reflect on your CORE VALUES. What do you value? Take time to think deeply. This is not an exercise about what you mean to value or think you should value. This exercise completed thoughtfully, will shine a light on the values you actually live now.


What is non-negotiable for you personally? What is your natural way of being when you are at your very best? Do your work processes line up with your personal values? If you are kind at home in the way you communicate with your friends and family, but are brash and intolerant at work, why the disconnect? If you keep a tidy home but your workplace is messy, what’s that about? Now is the time to connect your personal values and your business values. The world is changing minute by minute. Why not get in a position to be the best you that has ever been!


Here’s the point. The way you are is the way you are. How is that working for you? Now is a great time to ask these two questions:

  • Am I out of balance with who I really am or want to be professionally and personally?
  • Am I out of sync with who I truly want to be?

You have some time to take a deeper look right now. Use a paper and pen (not the computer). Paper and pen slow you down. Things look differently at a slower pace. Rather than rushing through at warp speed as you pound your thoughts out on the computer, write them out. I promise a little old school pen and paper will create the clarity you might not get if you rush through the thinking!


If you need some help figuring it out, give us a call. We want to offer you a free Business Tune-Up Assessment (live, confidential, online, of course, and FREE). Let us help you see where you are today (before the shut down), where you want to be, and where you might need some help.

Reach out to me to book time for a virtual assessment: laura@trainertainment.net.

Make Virtual Work Your Real Work

Make Virtual Work Your Real Work


Here’s the thing about TrainerTainment: we are a team. We are a virtual team. Everyone lives and works from their home in a different state or city. We know what it means to be a team (not just people who work together, or us and them, or leaders and staff). We have been a virtual team for almost 15 years. To that end, I’m going to share with you four tips that may help you if you’ve transitioned from the office to your home for work.

  1. TURN ON YOUR CAMERA – If you have always worked in an office, there are things you get out of that type of environment you don’t get virtually. The quick “Hi!” walking past a desk, the water cooler gossip or catch up, the morale builder from the quick “nice job on that report” when passing in the hall. When all of those “walk by” moments are gone, you must intentionally create interaction when you are a virtual workplace setting.
  2. Have face to face meetings and check-ins at least once a week (twice a week is even better). Use software such as Zoom, GoTo Meeting, Google Hang Outs, (some are at a greatly reduced price during quarantine or free depending on team size). Have Zoom lunches. Play Words With Friends with a glass of wine after work instead of happy hour. Or have a Zoom Happy Hour.
  3. CLEAR EXPECTATIONS – Make sure you are very clear about what work you are doing. If the boss hasn’t made it clear, then you take the step and ask. Don’t forget about priorities. You may need extra information and/or tools to get work done.
  4. CUT ‘EM SOME SLACK – Working from home sometimes means wearing all of your hats at the same time. If you receive an email or text that sounds short or rude, assume the BEST, not the worst. We are all in this together, so ASK what the person meant by the email or PICK UP THE PHONE and give them a call. For important information, have that Zoom call even if it is one-to-one so you can get more information through body language and expression.

Hang in there and certainly reach out to us if you need clarification or more assistance. We’d love to help!

Please, I’m Begging You!

Please, I’m Begging You!

marliesmarlieMarlies is an amazing TrainerTainment team member. Her ability to keep us organized and take the lead on project and process development is second to none. In addition to her administrative powers, Marlies leads our management and leadership hiring initiatives. In 2019 Marlies helped our customers hire 15 General Managers, 13 Sales Managers, 2 Food & Beverage Directors, a Party Coordinator, and a Game Room Manager. Marlies values great service and communication. I hope you’ll enjoy her unique insight from a personal “lack of guest service” story. Everyone’s behavior in an organization has an impact on their brand. Take a peek at Marlies’ experience and answer her question below.


The time had come to make a change in service with the cable company. My decision to switch to internet TV streaming services came with a lot of thought and research. I was a customer with DirecTV for over ten years. In recent years, their constant price increases combined with service interruptions, dropping value, and negative customer service made the decision easy. I called customer service to terminate my account.


The customer service representative answered the line and in a robotic, static way went through the motions of verifying my account. Finally, with verification out of the way, the representative asked what she could do for me. I informed her that I would like to cancel my account. That caught her attention and the monotone sound of her voice changed suddenly to concern. She asked for me to please hold, cancellation requests required her to transfer me to a supervisor.


I was on hold for a few minutes before the supervisor answered. My patience was wearing thin. When he came onto the line he introduced himself as the regional supervisor for my service area to which I replied, “I’d like to cancel my account. Can you please help me with that?” He responded, “I’m sorry to hear that. May I ask for the reason why you want to cancel your account with us?” “I’m no longer happy with the products and services you provide.” I went on to inform him about my numerous encounters with the customer service team and the poor service received, as well as the service interruptions in my area. He said, “I apologize for the inconvenience and would like to make it up to you by offering a $400 discount on the renewal price if you stay with us.”


I asked, “How would a discount change the poor experience I’m having with DirecTV?” He couldn’t give me a specific answer to this question. But sweetened the pot and said, “I’ll give you a $200 gift card in addition to the $400 renewal discount. How does that sound?” I repeated my question about how a discount today would change my poor service experience overall.


I stood firm and was determined to cancel the account. Suddenly, the supervisor realized I was not going to change my mind and he raised his voice. He started screaming and literally crying into the phone, “PLEASE! I’m begging you! They’re going to fire me if I can’t renew your account. I have a wife and kids to feed!”

While shaken by his behavior, I told him, I was sorry to hear his company treats their team members so badly. I also suggested their treatment might be a direct reflection of the overall poor service your customers are receiving in my area. I went on to share that my hope was he didn’t get fired, but my decision stands – I would like to cancel my account now. His emotional outburst abruptly changed, and he switched over to being professional and collected in his demeanor. “Of course, I can help you with that. Give me a moment.”


I was amazed by this guy’s acting performance and at the same time disgusted. That was the end of my relationship with this TV provider. In that telephone conversation, the supervisor went from friendly to persuasive, angry and crying, to calm and collected. He probably thought of everything he could possibly offer to keep the customer. I was stunned at the extremes. A discount can’t overcome chronic poor service. I wonder if he still works for this company. I couldn’t deliver or try to support this lack of service.

To what lengths have you seen people go to make a sale or to keep a customer? How far would you go? Is there a financial number that would have made you stay? Do you think I made the right decision?

Today’s Excellence is Tomorrow’s Mediocrity

Today’s Excellence is Tomorrow’s Mediocrity

The risk of refusing to grow!

What a quote! I love this guy Rick Houcek who writes a 2-minute Monday morning motivator. It’s easy. in that, it takes about 2 minutes to read, and I almost always get a ton out of what he puts out. The title of my article today is a direct quote from his 2/25/20 newsletter and I felt like I just had to share my thoughts. I’d love to hear what you think.

In my mind GROWTH is necessary!

I think there are many ways to intentionally focus on growth. First and foremost is PRIORITIZATION. For me, I have a morning ritual of reading. Honestly, I look forward to getting out of bed and into the words of the day. Once I get set, I go for a walk. Sometimes on the treadmill, sometimes outside. I listen to Audible when I walk. I just finished, Never Split the Difference. It is a GREAT read.


This morning ritual is a very important set up for the day. If missed for any reason, it takes a toll. My stress level increases and productivity for the day decreases. It may seem counterintuitive to add something to the schedule and subtract the stress, but it is the way it works for me. Yes, I must get up early and it’s worth it.


Reading is not the only way to gain knowledge. Candi, our director of training, is an avid podcast listener. Amy, who has trained for us, reads a ton of blogs every week. Mary, our director of operations, loves THE PHYSICAL BOOK and reads with a highlighter in hand! Talking with others, listening to the many, and curiosity about everything is a voracious way to feed your growth.


I do believe there is a balance between not thinking your good enough and always pursuing excellence. It is important to take time and celebrate the wins. However, there is a danger of basking in the glow of today and not continuing to seek improvement for tomorrow. The warp speed of change today is sure to transform today’s excellence into yesterday’s old news.


No one jumps out of bed and shouts, “I hope I’m mediocre today!”. In the same thought though, maybe few jump up thinking “I’m going to seek excellence today!” I’d love to encourage you to decide to jump out of bed with intention. Be present today. Be excellent today. Learn something. Share something with someone. Smile. Make someone else’s day.

I’d love to hear what you think would make today an excellent day for you.

Krista Estes and Sonya Terry Join Our Growing Team of Sales Specialists

Krista Estes and Sonya Terry Join Our Growing Team of Sales Specialists

Krista Estes

TrainerTainment is pleased to announce that Krista Estes and Sonya Terry have joined the company as sales specialists.

Krista comes to TrainerTainment after eight years with Walmart as a talent manager and trainer in its Academy Operations training center. She is a third-generation amusement industry veteran, having started her career as a teenager working in her family’s Cowtown Bowling Palace in Fort Worth. Her father, Jay Trietley is a 40-year veteran of the bowling industry who taught her the essentials of customer service.

Krista was a competitive youth bowler and began her college studies on a scholarship from the Youth American Bowling Alliance. She graduated college with a B.S. in fashion merchandising from Texas Women’s University and a M.S. in organizational leadership from Northwood University.

Sonya Terry

Sonya Terry joins TrainerTainment after more than 16 years in the laser tag industry as a trainer, general manager and area manager in Texas for Leisure Entertainment Corporation of Canada. The company’s Laser Quest is one of the first manufacturers and operators of laser tag arenas. Sonya has extensive experience in training and motivating young, first-time workers in the amusement industry, which is one of TrainerTainment’s specialties.

Prior to Laser Quest Sonya worked for more than ten years in fashion retail, where her responsibilities including developing policies, procedures and best practices for Boot Town, a chain of 17 western wear stores.

“Krista and Sonya know from experience the training and operating practices that lead to the success of an amusement center,” says Beth Standlee, CEO of TrainerTainment. “They are also accomplished sales professionals who are ideally suited to helping our customers grow
their sales and service teams and make their businesses thrive.”

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