You know how it is. You’re on a late flight, excited to reach your destination. Everyone’s on board and buckled in. A speaker crackles. The captain announces that there will be a slight delay. An hour later you finally take off. Now you’re wondering if the car rental place will be open when you arrive.
When the plane touches down, it’s 1:30 in the morning. You enter the terminal, which is filled with harsh light and weary travellers. Give thanks that your luggage arrived. Approach the car rental counter—hurray—it’s open. Not only that, the service agent welcomes you with warmth and a huge smile, calls you “my darling”, can’t do enough to help you.
It’s now 2:00 AM. You stumble through a dark parking lot to the vehicle, which is black and unfamiliar. Struggle to find a way to open the trunk. Nothing. Suddenly, headlights appear beside you. It’s the car rental woman on her way home! She jumps out of the car, pops the trunk, and gives you a fast lesson in keyless car procedures. Urges you to take care driving in the fog. Smiles and waves as she leaves.
Life is good again. You will always rent from Avis at the airport in St. John’s, Newfoundland! (no Avis didn’t pay me to write that!!)
So many of us feel mixed about how to present ourselves as “professionals”. We want to be credible and behave accordingly. And it makes sense to keep suitable boundaries in our work life, after all, that’s what emotionally and socially intelligent people do.
But, sometimes in our attempt to be professional, we come across as stiff and too formal.
Maybe a bit aloof or unfriendly, which isn’t appealing to potential clients. I believe that providing whole-hearted service gives us the means to connect with other people authentically and appropriately.
Now, it’s one thing to say we’re “heart-centered” or “client focused” and a lot of people make that claim. It’s another to demonstrate it like our car rental heroine.
We might not call our clients and customers, “my darling” but we can show up as helpful people who genuinely care for others. Who are willing to go the extra mile (or two) even when it’s late and we’re on our way home!