All this week the preacher at the Chautauqua Institute is the Very Rev. Alan Jones, dean emeritus, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco.
In his sermon this morning he had a quote that made the congregation chuckle but perhaps the laughter was a little uncomfortable because of the truth of his statement:
“I know that I’m nothing but I’m all that I can think about.”
Just think about that for a moment.
I have a house full of 13 year old giggly, girls today (remnants from the Twilight trilogy all nighter) and I shared the quote with them. Their response? “That’s SO TRUE.” OMG
It really doesn’t matter who we are or how old we are – bottom line – we think about ourselves an awful lot. That’s where the “what’s in it for me” and “what have you done for me lately” phrases come from.
So what does that mean for our customers? Or for our employees? Or our boss?
When I was a teen and obsessed over a new pimple, my Mom would say “No one will notice because they are all worried about their own pimples.”
That is still true as adults. Our customers, our employees, our vendors, our competition, our boss – they are thinking about themselves. So if we keep that in mind – it should help us in a variety of ways:
- Putting ourselves in our customer’s shoes all of a sudden has new value
- If the competition is thinking about themselves and their success and you think about the customer – how will that change the experience from the customer’s point of view?
- If you remember your employees are thinking about themselves – might that change how you manage and respond to their opportunities for improvement?
If we put the customer first – understanding that they are really just thinking about themselves, their own needs, their own budget, their own problem that needs a solution – if we think like they do and recognize and respond to them – won’t we stand out in their minds as being sympathetic, empathetic, understanding and the only business they want to do business with?
I think so.
Think about this. Have you had a conversation that just dominates your time together? You barely have a chance to get a word in edgewise except for “oh my” or “tell me more” or “how did that make you feel?” We share nothing of ourselves. We say almost nothing. Yet what is their memory of your time together?
“That Debbie is the best conversationalist. I just love talking with her!”
I know I’m nothing but I’m all I can think about.
How can you use that truth to stand out from the competition today?