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Lessons for Funeral Service Professionals from the Appalachian Trail

June 16, 2022 by Dr. Jason Troyer
Featured, Finding Resilience

The Appalachian Trail runs through the mountains of Tennessee about 20 miles from my home. Known to the hikers as the “A.T.”, it spans nearly 2,200 miles from northern Georgia to Maine and touches 14 states. Because each hiker has their own pace, it takes an average of four to six months to complete the entire hike. Every year, more than 3,000 hikers attempt this feat, which is referred to as a "thru-hike" of the A.T. Only about 25% of them are successful.

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How to Set and Achieve Sustainable Goals

April 18, 2022 by Dr. Jason Troyer
Featured, Finding Resilience

“I have plenty of time” is something I never hear funeral professionals say. Not only are funeral professionals loaded up to the maximum, but we are also looking for ways to make our lives more efficient to fit even more activities, initiatives and goals into our lives. We frenetically strive for progress on multiple projects and create the illusion that we are accomplishing a lot, but we have only succeeded in spreading ourselves thin. And then we wonder why we have not made more progress on a specific goal.

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How to Turn Funeral Home Employees into Leaders

February 18, 2022 by Dr. Jason Troyer
Featured, Finding Resilience

“No one is stepping up and showing any leadership. I still have to do most of it myself.” As John* inched closer to his retirement date, he had hoped that his children (who are funeral professionals) would start taking on more responsibility to help families, work with vendors and volunteer for countless other tasks. But when you talked to John’s children, they would frequently complain that their father would not allow them to take on these new responsibilities.

Then John contracted COVID-19, forcing him to miss work for three weeks. In hindsight, he wishes he had let his children take on more responsibilities earlier. Instead, he had less than a day to prepare them to run the business without him and found out the hard way that they were not ready to take over day-to-day operations.

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5 Things Funeral Professionals Wish the Public Knew About Them

December 09, 2021 by Dr. Jason Troyer
Featured, Finding Resilience

Funeral professionals do much of their work in the background. Consequently, the public often has misconceptions about who they are and what they do. As someone who has worked closely with funeral professionals for almost 10 years, I feel compelled to share the real story of funeral professionals. So, on their behalf, here are five things that funeral professionals wish the public knew about them.

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A Better Way to Set Goals

October 14, 2021 by Dr. Jason Troyer
Featured, Funeral Home Business, Finding Resilience

You are probably setting the wrong goals. In my opinion, these are examples of unhelpful goals:

  • To increase annual call volume to 200 calls
  • To increase the average amount spent per call by $300
  • To improve your customer Net Promoter Score
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Helping Family Members Find Balance in Funeral Service

August 12, 2021 by Dr. Jason Troyer
Featured, Funeral Home Business, Finding Resilience

“I’m worried about my dad. He’s been pushing himself too hard and he won’t take a break,” said Tom.*

Tom was concerned about his father, Frank. I learned that Frank was 74 years old, a second-generation funeral director and owned the family firm. Despite having three younger family members working for the funeral home, Frank continued to work long hours and go for weeks without a day off.

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Black Olives, Green Olives & Better Decision-Making

April 08, 2021 by Dr. Jason Troyer
Featured, Finding Resilience

Black olives and green olives. Now that is a simple decision. In my experience, people have strong opinions one way or another – there’s not a lot of gray area here. For me, few ingredients can ruin a recipe or pizza faster than green olives. And you can’t just pick them off; their vile juice spoils the entire dish. Meanwhile, black olives are a culinary gift. They make almost everything better. (I know I’ve offended some of you – my wife doesn’t agree with me either.)

My point is that black and green olives are easy decisions. Unfortunately, many of our personal and business decisions are not so straightforward. In the midst of making an important decision, you may be bogged down by a variety of concerns.

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4 Lessons from a True Innovator

January 14, 2021 by Dr. Jason Troyer
Finding Resilience

Each year on January 4, Louis Braille is recognized on World Braille Day. Before this year, I had little knowledge of Braille’s personal story. All I knew was that he was the guy who created a system of raised dots that allows individuals who are blind to read. What I discovered is that Louis Braille has a fascinating backstory – one with distinct lessons for all of us.

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5 Pieces of Advice for Overwhelmed Funeral Professionals

December 11, 2020 by Dr. Jason Troyer
Funeral Home Business, Finding Resilience

Let’s get the bad news out of the way: People all over the world have faced unimaginable loss this year – lost jobs, lost opportunities and, yes, lost loved ones. All of these losses can lead to additional stress on relationships, extra challenges for parents of school-age children, limited contact with our family and friends, financial hardship and acute anxiety. Funeral professionals specifically have faced increased danger in your job duties, added career stress and frustration as you improvise ways to best serve families.

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3 Ways to Reach Out during NFDA

October 15, 2020 by Dr. Jason Troyer
Industry Events, Finding Resilience, Guest Post

Funeral service is a lonely profession. Your non-funeral professional friends don’t want to hear about the challenges of your daily work. They don’t want to know about your surprise inspection, that a casket arrived with a huge dent or how you spent hours in the prep room getting ready for a viewing. However, a few times a year, funeral professionals have the opportunity to be surrounded by people who truly understand them at the state and national conventions and expos.

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