Last week my wife and I went to a hole-in-the-wall diner near her work. I didn’t walk in there for lunch expecting to learn a business lesson, but I ended up doing just that.
You’re in business, right? You have products or services that you sell to your consumers, whether those are other businesses or individuals.
Let’s say that, whatever business field you’re in, you are at the top of it. You have the best products around. No competition can beat your prices or your products.
So you serve the best beer around. So what? If you have lousy service, as the sign attests, then you’re not going to have too many repeat customers.
No matter the level of your products, your most important product is your customer service.
Back to our lunch.
This diner had a typical diner fare and typical ambiance. The food was nothing ordinary, but it was seasoned impeccably and cooked fantastically.
The hand-cut fries we had — and we agreed on this count — were the best we’ve ever had. But we might not go back, because the customer service really lacked.
Having the best product in your field does not make up for lousy customer service. If you don’t realize this, you’re on your way out of business.
I’m growing a garden. It’s the first year my wife and I are doing so and it’s been challenging and rewarding. But what I’ve come to learn is that without it, I would be much worse off.
It’s my sanctuary.
I hadn’t really thought about having a sanctuary before. So on a day when I was really stressed, I was gardening — pulling out stray grass, lifting up leaves to see if fruit and veggies were below — and I realized that my garden takes that stress away. Sanctuary.
Now that a lot of our cucumbers, zucchini and tomatoes are beginning to be harvested — our lettuce came in in early June — it’s much easier to sense ease, calm and tranquility when working in the garden.
To know that I had such a crucial part in the garden’s emergence, to know that day after day of hard work — bringing out the hose, emptying rain barrels into watering cans, staking plants as they grow larger — that’s my sanctuary.
No matter how the day turned out, once I step foot in that magical 12-by-15-foot space, I know everything will be alright. That’s what a sanctuary does.
Without it, I would be ensconced in perpetual stress, never feeling truly relieved. Without it, I would feel lost, never able to find my way.
And now that I have one, and, more importantly, realize I have one, I know others need it, too. Just that one place (maybe even in your own mind) where you can get away, de-stress and be happy. Everyone needs that.
So what’s next? I’m going to continue feeling relieved in my sanctuary. (And reap the rewards from that garden by eating the fruit, vegetables and herbs it produces.)
You should find yours (if you don’t already have one). And if you do, what is it?