Recently, I was invited to attend a car show and work a booth with one of our manufacturers. The where and who is not important, but rather the time it took to get there, the hours spent and how I learned nothing — nothing — except the knowledge about a product.
To me, learning about the product made the trip a success. Some see success as having a $75,000 bass boat and catching their limit of 10-pound large mouth bass. My definition of success is the $800 boat and catching any fish at all. Either can be viewed as success, depending on how you look at it.
The pride of having caught a six-inch catfish might not measure up to the 10-pound bass but my goal was not to catch the big fish — it was to be out on the lake, without a phone ringing. Does it mean my goal is less important than the 75k boat and big mouth bass?
Having sacrificed hours and hours at clinic after clinic, from air conditioning to paint classes, these sacrifices have added up. They compiled themselves into an education, and a very valuable one. And no one can take that education away. The hours have been at the expense of sleep, money spent on fuel and most of all, time away from my family. Rarely does anyone have success without sacrifice.
But education is not an all-at-once occurrence. You don’t wake up one day and know everything. Life is a series of successes and failures. To volunteer, like I did at the show, is a small sacrifice. But these small sacrifices made over a lifetime have afforded me an education that I would never have gained anywhere else. Yes, there’s been a great deal of travel over the years but I’ve gotten behind-the-scenes opportunities that most would not have seen.
I know what you’re thinking: What’s this got to do with me and my customers?
If a customer needs a drum of oil and you have to leave at 5 a.m. to be sitting at the oil supplier’s dock at 6:30 a.m., is it worth it? If a customer ordered six gallons of paint and you wake up at 3 a.m., remembering you did not order the mixing color, do you sacrifice sleep to be at the paint company’s dock in Dallas — some 180 miles away — to make the customer happy? That’s entirely up to you.
Doing so just might be the difference between making sure a job is done right or not right. Doing a job right gives you pride, which in my estimation, cannot come without sacrifice. People who have no pride in their work show it.
Those who have pride excel and pride cannot be taught, only learned. What an oxymoron, right?