The Customer Isn't Always Right
This morning I was asked to speak at a new employee orientation at WeWork headquarters in Chelsea. I've been asked to do this once before. It's always a blast. I noticed before everyone sat down that there was a copy of the book "Setting the Table" by Danny Meyer everywhere (he owns a bunch of very successful restaurants in NYC).
I asked someone nearby why all new employees were given that book (Mr. Meyer should write WeWork a thank you note - there were a LOT of books on tables) and the person told me they weren't entirely sure. I grabbed a copy and flipped from the intro to the back. The message was this: serving others is the key to happiness. Oh, and doing what you love.
I went up in front of the 65+ new employees and in my 6 minutes talked about service. Now, I'm of the mindset we're not here to be of service to anyone at first. We're meant to be of service to ourselves then to others. When we're willing to admit the only reason we help others is so we feel good, then we can pull back this veil of diffused focus and agree we help others feel good so we can feel good.
This idea of service as it relates to feelings - I can't tell you how many times I've been told 'you're of service to the client.' And I get why people might say that. It's what everyone says, but it's not what people really feel and if there one thing I know for sure it's that the Universe only hears how we really feel, not how we say we feel.
Oh, by the way - I don't really care if you believe in the talk of Universe or not as it relates to business. I've talked to many CEO's who openly roll their eyes at the idea of energy and Universal flow. I did for years. I made fun of everyone I met who talked about this stuff as I worked for Fortune 500 companies.
The joke was on me. I finally learned it's as real as it gets. Took me years to accept, but now I get it. Disbelief it at your own risk.
Back to this idea that being of service to a customer is a load of bull. See, anyone who resists this idea does so because it goes counter to what they know is the truth. They know it's a crock. That's why it bugs them so much when it's brought up. They're trying to buy into it and it's not logical.
Why would we come into this life to serve others? It doesn't make any sense. And why would anyone want to work with us if they sense we're trying to give them what they want at any sort of expense of what we want? That's called conditional pleasing and it doesn't help anyone.
It only make sense that we came into this lifetime to be happy and do what we want to do. While finding the literal path of what we want to do is a whole other post about ego and spiritual living, one thing here is very true: our feelings in terms of service is the only true indicator we have as to weather or not what we're doing is helpful or not for us...not others. FOR US.
And that is the end goal always - what works for US.
That goes for the classic service industries. The hotel industry, the restaurant industry, my industry coaching others. I'm not here to be of service to my clients and the person who said the customer was always right was a customer. They're not always right. But we like to say they are because we are coming at this idea from a place of very deep lack.
That's why most people will never abandon the idea of being of 'service' to their clients in many industries. They may be burnt out, exhausted and feel like they're chasing a greased pig to get clients, but at least they'll have clients and that's what matters, right? Not feeling good along the way but keeping the client happy not matter what is the goal.
I was watching the movie "Steve Jobs" the other day and I marveled at how Jobs (at least according to write Aaron Sorkin, a God in my book) made products that appealed to him first. He made them so he liked them and was baffled when others didn't. I love that thinking. He wasn't pushing against customers or telling them to like what he liked. He just knew what he liked and trusted that knowing and didn't give a rats ass what anyone else thought. Good way to live. Oh, and last I checked Apple was doing pretty well.
This service thinking comes from the feeling that this is not an abundant reality and deep unawareness of how things really work. And while being of service may result in more money and successful businesses for some time, in the end, it will crumble and fall and not always in terms of the bottom line, but in terms of a lack of happiness, drive and fulfillment and that's a fate worse than death.
I'm not saying we aren't meant to be compassionate and kind and helpful to others in our business life, I'm simply saying I know the truth is we are meant to be that way to ourselves all the time and then to others.
Priorities. All about priorities.