“The Customer is always right!” Have you ever been out at a store and heard a disgruntled customer pull this little jewel out of their back pocket?! I think this is one of the worst inventions of our society. It creates an expectation that people should keep their promises to us.
- “But your store has a 30-day money back guarantee!”
- “But you said you loved me!”
- “But you said you would pay me back!”
- “But this is a hospital! You’re supposed to fix me!”
I would advise all of us to spend less time thinking about broken promises from others. Spend time thinking less about unmet expectations… Spend almost all of your time thinking about the promises you make to yourself and whether or not you are keeping them.
One of the things I consistently tell young audiences is to learn how to put forth maximum effort when you least feel like it. Another way of saying this is, learn how to keep promises to yourself.
When an organization or business goes out of the way to keep customer promises, part of the understanding is the fact that they are having to go above-and-beyond as a staff to make the customer happy. I’m all for it. Why don’t more people go above and beyond for themselves? Why do so many of us have so many expectations about what lengths and discomfort others will go to for us, and yet we collapse under the weight of our own promises? If we’re even willing to make any promises to ourselves…
In a time where there is access to so many tools and resources (literally at the tips of our fingers) for any of us to take advantage of, I think the greatest skill of the future will be the ability for one to hold themselves accountable to goals and standards. The implied task is to take the time to establish some meaningful standards and set some lofty goals. You can’t do that if you are too busy worried about what other people didn’t do for you!
In Episode 42 of the Podcast you’ll hear audio from a speech I gave this past Monday at The University of Washington Tacoma. It was to a group of teenagers exploring the world of business. The one thing I tried to emphasize to these young people is the power of keeping promises to one’s self. I pointed out to them that if they couldn’t follow through for themselves then what would compel someone else to follow through for them? This is something that many more adults need to spend time thinking about… Or, do we believe that we can ask of children what we won’t ask of our selves?
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