The end of the season is a time for reflection. I am a man who wears many different hats – husband, teacher, and landscaper. Wearing these different hats gives me the chance to constantly learn new things and apply these to other parts of my lives.
I have an unending opportunity to learn from my daily interactions with customers. It doesn’t matter if the cystomers live in Overland Park, Shawnee or Mission Hills. My customers unknowingly teach me lessons on life every day. The key to getting the benefit of these lessons is to be open and aware as well as taking the time to reflect on what has happened.
THE GRASS IS GREENER WHEN YOU TAKE A STEP BACK AND ENJOY IT!
I was talking with a customer over the summer and we were walking the property looking at various details of the landscape. The customer commented that she wanted her grass to look as nice as the lawn across the street. Initially I was upset at the comment, as I had a lot of pride in her lawn. I had taken it from a weed patch to a lush lawn despite poor soil, no irrigation and lots of shade. I knew her lawn looked as good – if not better than– her neighbors. I asked my customer to walk with me across the street. Once we were there we looked across the street and it was quickly revealed that her lawn looked even better than her neighbors from across the street.
When we both took a step back and stopped looking only at the flaws that existed between the blades of grass and instead looked at the gorgeous lawn, the customer realized it was a was beautiful lawn and quickly shared her appreciation. This reminded me that in life if we are always focused on the problems that arise around us – then we miss out on being able to see how extraordinary life is.
TRUST IS SOMETHING THAT HAS TO BE EARNED – BUT ONCE YOU DO — IT IS VERY POWERFUL!
I am always very aware that when a customer agrees to let me take care of their landscape, they are putting a lot of trust in me. Their lawn is the most impressive part of their property for hundreds of people who pass by their house each day. One particular customer had a hard time trusting me to take care of her landscape. She had other so-called experts taking care of her landscape. It was their mistakes that she was hiring me to fix. This customer did not give her trust away freely. At first, all work was done with her careful and attentive eyes watching me. Every decision I made was double checked by other sources and then verified in print. I was very aware of this scrutiny. However, I knew that I was slowly earning her trust and with every new job on her property I noticed her grip of distrust loosening. I felt very satisfied that I had earned her trust when her instruction on doing some substantial beds in her front yard was accompanied by the instructions — “Just do what you do.”
A BEAUTIFUL GARDEN MAKES EVEN A RAINY DAY SEEM BETTER
Sometime lessons are simple. I have one customer for which I particularly enjoy working. She is always very appreciative and I feel she really notices the little things about my work. This was confirmed one afternoon when I was checking my messages after a trying day at school. It had been one of those difficult days to teach first grade. A steady rain had kept us inside all day, the kids were a little stir crazy and it took all of my energy to make the learning of /th/ phonemes and skip counting by 5 interesting. After staying until after dark doing paperwork and other non-teaching schoolwork, my mood had been soured. I had 6 landscaping messages to listen to on my business phone. Each message seemed like another drop in my rainy day. Until the last one. It was one of my customers thanking me for the garden I had installed just a couple weeks earlier. During the dreary rain, she had been able to look out at it all day and enjoy its beauty, which made the rain seem not so bad. Her message was “my garden” and thanks to her – even though it rained the rest of the week, it didn’t seem quite so bad!
It is important that we take time in life to reflect and see what lessons those around us have tried to teach us.
|Published on January 3rd, 2008||Posted by Jeff Hamons|