Last week, as I was going about my work duties and later, my social networking, I had a few experiences in the same day that reminded me of an important lesson in business and in life.
Early that morning I found myself on the way to meet a new coaching prospect who had been referred to me by a previous client – what is known in sales circles as a warm lead. It was a spectacular autumn morning in Perth and we had coffee out in the sunshine overlooking a beautiful lake. The meeting naturally went well – we hit it off and the gentleman concerned became a new client. As soon as I left the meeting, I rang my referrer to thank her and to let her know that it had been a successful match. This business angel was delighted because by taking a moment out of her day, with one introduction she had been able to help him and to help me at the same time. My new client was also keen to offer her son some more work and more career mentorship, so everyone was a winner from that small act of kindness.
It was a day where one of my businesses needed me to do a job that required some physical labour. That might sound a bit odd when I have a cleaning business, but I set up the enterprise right from the beginning with the notion of practicing what I preach, namely delegating the work that others can do and freeing me to use my expertise on managing and growing my businesses.
The reason I had to do the so-called ‘grunt work’ that day was that it was a task that would have distracted my staff from their normal duties, plus I’m currently the only one who has a vehicle with a tow bar, which I needed to pull a trailer. It’s an extra service that we offer in our cleaning business, whereby we also take discarded bulk rubbish items, such as beds, furniture and white goods to the Council tip for recycling. Many of our strata complexes have transient residents who think nothing of dumping such items on the common areas for ‘someone else’ to deal with.
I found myself down a narrow laneway at the back of one of our high-rise apartment blocks, realising that someone had parked and blocked the exit. It would have been a ridiculously long way to reverse a trailer, so I began to undertake what would probably have been about a thirty-point turn, backwards and forwards, carefully avoiding multiple parked cars. Suddenly a young workman appeared from nowhere, giving me directions to help me judge how close or far my trailer was from the vehicles. I laughed to myself as I remembered the scene in the first Austin Powers movie where the bumbling superhero had to turn a golf buggy around in a tight laneway. If you haven’t seen it, check it out – I had tears of laughter. With the help of my ‘Whoa’ and ‘Back a bit further’ angel, I completed this turn-around much more quickly and safely than Austin Powers had.
My staff then helped me load the bulk items onto the trailer, including some heavy couches, a fridge, washing machine and a collection of household bits and pieces. Usually it’s easier to unload the items than to load them, so I can manage on my own at the tip. When it came to unloading a four-seater couch and trying to manoeuvre it to where I could lift it over a low wall, I was struggling, particularly as I had only just made it in time before the tip closed, so I was trying to hurry. The couch had to fit between some safety chains that are intended to stop people falling over the wall with a big drop on the other side and it was both heavy and awkward. Suddenly, a young man appeared at my side, asking “Would you like a hand with that mate?”
He had seen me struggling and immediately came over to help. I thought, ‘That’s such an Aussie thing to do.’ I also assumed that he worked there, until he returned to his own truck to start unloading his own stuff. I offered to reciprocate but he said he was fine.
As if that wasn’t enough good deeds received for the day, I had another great experience in the evening. I’d been meaning to check out a local social club, where I hoped to meet more of the locals in my new community. Having bought a house in the Perth hills at Christmas, I’m keen to make new friendships as well as business connections in the area. I entered the clubhouse on my own and approached the bar. The friendly bar maid immediately smiled and asked if I was a member. I smiled back and said, “Not yet, but I’m interested in joining.” I sat at a bar stool mid-way between two sets of two blokes. Before my Guinness had even settled, the one on my left introduced himself as Neil and began to chat. Before I’d taken my first sip, the guy on my right was grabbing me a membership application form and a pen. One sponsored me and the other seconded me.
“Does this make you guys responsible for my behaviour then?” I joked, pointing out that they didn’t yet know me from a bar of soap. They were obviously great judges of character and had sussed out that I was a good guy straight away. We went on to have some interesting conversations and I made some new friends. The greatest irony of my behavioural question was that I had been seconded by none other than a guy known as Ned Kelly!
For the benefit of my overseas friends, the original Ned Kelly was Australia’s most infamous outlaw, who in true Aussie anti-authoritarian fashion was seen by many as a larrikin, hanged by the Victorian legal system, despite a mass protest from over thirty thousand petitioners. He was a sort of Aussie version of the better-known Robin Hood of England, – well, you must remember that our nation was built by convicts, except that they had mostly been convicted for things like stealing a loaf when they were starving etc. Instead of leaving me hanging with ‘Billy No-Mates’, as even his namesake would not have done, this Ned Kelly had given me the gift of helping to make my day.
So here is the point of my story: in a day that had included a diverse array of challenges, I had enjoyed some positive experiences – a warm referral; being helped without even asking for it when others saw I was struggling; and being welcomed by strangers, who then became friends.
It had been a day where good things had happened and I thanked the Universe for those gifts. I also realised though that I had received back to me those same things that I endeavour to frequently give to others.
Whenever I can, I try to connect good people. If I can help others who are struggling as I go through my day, I habitually try my best to do what I can; if I can help bring a smile to someone’s face, it’s one of life’s simplest gifts. In fact, the oldest lessons are the simplest – regularly do good things for others and it will not only help them and help you on a spiritual level, but it will also somehow come back to you in unexpected ways.
In hindsight, it had been a typical day – it’s just that I took the time and the moment of brain-power to notice the karmic lesson. I hope my realisation might make a difference to your life and to those whom you encounter today, both in your business and in your daily life. If it does, I’d love to hear about it. Have a great day!