This is the first Blog of 2015 and it’s an extended version of what I would normally publish. I want to give you twice as much content and value to kick the year off with a little bit of something extra as a symbol of being of service to you, my fellow readers and followers and a way of showing deliberate gratitude for your support as we journey into 2015.
Christmas Day 2014!
Alarm clock 4.30am, shower, dress, straight into Federation Square, meet half a dozen volunteers, set up buffets, signage, coffee cart into place, meet a convoy of 5 vehicles at 6.00am with food to feed 1000 people (we think?). Several homeless people already starting to gather, interested, intrigued and of course hungry!
By 7.30am all food and buffet set up is complete. 80 volunteers from far and wide, all ages and backgrounds start to arrive. This will be a morning of service for them as well.
Briefing volunteers at 8.30am, group photos, Christmas wishes, hugs, sun is shining down, coffee cart is warming up and we all stand at our allocated areas in great hope and anticipation for many mouths to feed.
By 9.15am we have queues. 80 volunteers who have never worked together before start to serve breakfast to hundreds of people with smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts. I stand back every now and then and soak it all up, dreams can come true.
By 10.45am we had served over 1,000 people with queues still growing and a sad tone in my voice as I start to inform newly arrived guests that the buffets and coffee carts will be closing down shortly. We had ran out of food and yet this was truly a successful outcome for a first event of its kind. Refugees, asylum seekers and homeless, international visitors and many more were overwhelmed, surprised, delighted and humbled to received such a welcome on Christmas morning by the community of Melbourne. We could of fed 3,000 and next year I am determined to do just that!
This story I share with you to talk about the concept of “being of service”.
Never have I conceptualised and implemented such an event that is free, charitable and truly impactful at making a difference to other peoples lives like this event on Christmas Day.
In my pre entrepreneur days there has been many an event to execute and impact not only hundreds of thousands of peoples experience but a very obvious profitable bottom line impact. Whether it was an Australian Open, FA Cup Final, Boxing Day test or the record breaking 17th PINK concert at Rod Laver Arena I have only experienced catering to the masses, serving people whilst under an enormous amount of stress and clear purpose of commercial gains.
Don’t get me wrong I love business, in fact I thrive under pressure and enjoy the eb’s and flows of commercial decision making and watching the impacts of a bottom line. I’ve always felt I’ve served my customers, my staff and my stakeholders as best I can… until now.
It’s not until upon reflection of this Christmas Day event that I realised that I have experienced for the first time what it means to be of service. My customers on Christmas Day were probably the most forgiving and least demanding of all and yet they received the same attention, focus, professionalism and quality that any corporate box ticket holder would receive.
Being of service is to make use of your talents but not for your own gain!
I would describe it as being a volunteer every day of your working week, with no expectations in return (of course we all need to earn a living in the modern world and true exchange of money or salary for your most valuable gifts and talents seems like a fair exchange). Furthermore, If we view a job as only a job, we end up being a servant to a job or company and are unable to make long term effects and inspire people if we are not being of service. Less servant, more service.
There is a different energy in play when you are “doing it for them” instead of “doing it for me”. I can categorically say I didn’t work any less harder for a charity activity verses a full commercial activity, in fact I worked bloody hard leading right up to Christmas Day. There was a conscious decision made in November where I realised that the only way I would get the planning of the Christmas Day event completed at the professional level I expected of myself whilst maintaining my current business commitments, was to sleep less and fit more into a day.
I dropped my daily sleep down to an average 6 hours a night and the alarm was set permanently on 5.30am regardless of how late I got to bed. The end result however was a sense of ease, it felt effortless and it was enjoyable. At no stage of the journey did I feel stressed. When we use all of our talents and gifts that we have been given as well as what we have learned and developed along our journey we really are serving the best we possibly can. It is useless, empty and selfish to not share these gifts and talents.
In summary here are 3 ideals for being of service. If we are prepared to loose our self in service we will form far greater connections with our customers and they will be long lasting and not fleeting interactions.
To be of service:
- Offer up the most of your skills and talents and give more of yourself effortlessly than expected to the job.
- Make majority of the tasks you do each day ones that energise you.
- Love your customers. Embody your role with an intention of it all about them and not about you.
In 2015 I intend on diving deep ino the world of customer inspiration and want to continue to share my gifts and talents with you in what customer inspiration looks like in a modern world of business.
- more content on customer inspiration (weekly Q blogs).
- more value in the quarterly Q Cocktail events and far greater entertainment.
- more connection for you, widening the community of the service industry across multiple sectors and industries.