Real People, Real Businesses, Real Success
Have you ever noticed that some businesses, stores, restaurants, and people make you feel good simply by virtue of coming into contact with them?
Well, I have. There’s a little coffee shop around the corner called Carmels that I adore. The owner is a guy named Pat. He remembers my name, and looks me (and everyone I am with) in the eye when we come through the door. He is always happy to see us. The pictures on the walls have been carefully selected to create an ambiance that is both relaxing and upbeat. The lattes are created by someone who treats his job as his art and presents his creations with pride. The food is delectable. And we inevitably leave happier than we were when we came in.
My all time favorite sandwich shop, Sacks Art of Sandwicherie is run by a married couple who stop to talk to us when we are there. Every once in a while, one of the owners will get a sly grin and give us drinks at no charge. “Today is Diane day,” he will say, slyly grinning as he hands me my cup. They hire people who make us feel special too. They ask about our kids. They crack jokes that make us giggle. We go there every weekend, often because there is no place else we’d rather have lunch. (The sandwiches are killer too.) There is usually a line that goes all the way to the door, because we are not the only ones who feel compelled to visit time after time.
When I walk into some stores and even offices, I feel good as soon as I step into the building. In others, I can’t wait to leave. It is not necessarily a matter of the displays, the furniture, or even the merchandise as it is the energy that is created by the people who are involved in some way with the experience people have while they are there. They infuse passion into their work. They make it a point to truly connect with people. And they bring who they really are to what they do.
We are discerning consumers. People are beginning to recognize that there is a difference when products and services are derived from passionate people who care deeply about what they do and the impact it makes. Those who are going through the motions to make a buck will find that their customer bases are dwindling as we continue to realize that we can have better experiences somewhere else.
When products and services make people feel good, it is often because the people involved in creating and administering them feel good when they do their work. Their work has become more than a means to an end. It is an experience that they have learned to show up and be present for. And they have found a way to make it meaningful not only for themselves, but for every person they come into contact with.
They have taken the notion that work isn’t supposed to be fun and turned it on its head. They’ve found a way to bust out of a paradigm that had them passing the time until the work day was over and living only for the weekends (or maybe they never bought into it at all.) And they may have suffered a mishap or two – the promotion they were hoping for went to someone else, the proposal they toiled on for hours ended up in someone’s trash can, the big sale slipped through their fingers. But they picked themselves up and focused on what they could do from that point forward.
They realized that truly living isn’t about following the road that is well traveled – the one that had them killing themselves to fit a mold that was never made for them. Instead, they decided to listen to their hearts and take action on the soft, sweet, voice that told them not to give up on their dreams and led them step by step to their next adventure.
These are the people that create the places, the products and the services I want to be a part of. They are bright eyed and big hearted. They care about others – and themselves too. They are courageous and also vulnerable. They’ve decided to stop playing small and when someone tells them it can’t be done, they do it anyway. They make the world brighter one moment at a time. These people have taken off the masks that keep people from seeing who they really are. No pretense, hype or facades.
They are REAL. They delight and inspire me. And I salute them.
For more on being real, listen to my interview on blogtalkradio with Sales Call Reluctance Coach Connie Kadansky, Real vs. Phony Salespeople. And stay tuned for the launch of a new video series, On the Road to Real: The Adventures of Pistachio (coming in July via OnTheRoadtoReal.com), designed to help us all experience the ineffable joy shared by the people I wrote about in this blog.
Photo credit: Patrimonio Designs Limited