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Need For Speed

April 23, 2024 BY The Siren Of Support Leave a comment

The rush to get to 5 o’clock, the relief that Friday brings, the countdown to the next vacation.  Getting all the jobs out the door, all the phone calls made, all the to-do’s considered done enough. In our race to get “there” we lose the opportunity to learn, to teach, to experience or bestow joy. We surrender to the mayhem of busy-ness, and in turn become oblivious to the magical moments that life presents. We have become so hyper-focused on “finishing” that we have stopped noticing the moments in our days and lives that actually matter. 

At some point during my childhood I was forced to read “Fahrenheit 451” written by Ray Bradbury. I read the book. I quickly did the associated homework, with hopes I had time before the streetlights came on to go knock on Tammi’s door and roam the neighborhood causing minor chaos. I wasn’t invested in the story, I simply just had to get it done. It wasn’t until later in life that I was truly affected by the messaging.

The outward premise of the story is that censorship, technology, and the media control of the masses have taken over the general population. While the messaging is terrifying, partly because it’s true, the underlying theme is “the faster the better”. Highway billboards extend to 200 feet to allow for speeding cars to be able to read them. Walls were covered in TV’s to provide for constant infiltration of senseless entertainment. 

Everyone was in a hurry to do nothing. We had become a society that was distracted by technology and focused on speeding through life. Bradbury is likely rolling in his grave as I put these words down. 

This is not a book report to make up for my lacking in middle school. This is our lives. Speed, scroll, swipe. 

We rush to finish tasks, not to perfect them, but to mark them off. Phone calls are answered, but connections are not made. Emails, texts, and instant messages all responded to in the most direct, efficient manner with no emotion. Quickly does not always equal complete and complete does not always equate to a job well done.  

With all our efficiencies, technology, and haste, where does that leave our recipients? How as service professionals does the need for speed negatively affect our customers? What is the magic formula that leads to a balance of quality and quantity? 

Stop and Smell the Roses: Sometimes they are going to smell like poop. But often, they will release the sweet floral smell you expect. Is the customer unhappy, but not outwardly complaining and you just left the social cues in the dust? Did you remedy the symptoms, but were too busy to find the actual cause? Slow down enough in your interactions to not only identify, but address anything that feels crappy. Do what is right for the right reasons, and never ignore an opportunity to make a positive impact. 

Find the Magic: There are days that just making it to the end is a win. Floating through the hours, oblivious to anything short of massive destruction, and just getting the job done in a bubble is an unhealthy, yet occasionally necessary defense mechanism. We all have days where we just can’t find the positivity or conjure the strength to pull ourselves out of the pit. Hit the quota, to hell with the rest of it. 

Days like that feel bad. You know it. Coworkers can see it. Customers can feel it. 

Take a break and find the magic in the ordinary. All your tools are where you left them. Your internet connection hasn’t failed once yet today. You didn’t have to use excessive force to get that rusty bolt out from the customer from Wisconsin’s car. 

Don’t just find the magic, be the magic. Put the rage into creating the best product or service you can give. Find joy in putting in the extra effort. 

We are surrounded by fascinating things all the time, we are just too busy to see them. 

Turn off Auto-pilot: “We always just send a prefilled message response to this request”. “Whenever this leaks, we always replace this part”. “We never cover that under warranty”. 

Always and never don’t work in business. Look at the specifics of a situation, take into consideration the outlying factors, and find the individuality of the circumstance. We are in the people business, without people, you will have no business. 

When you put conscious effort into your day's activities you find better ways of doing things, become more efficient without a cost to the service or quality level and not only meet, but exceed goals.  

I have to consciously choose daily to acknowledge what is happening around me. I have to put forth effort to not just cruise through the mundane. When I succeed, I am able to take a moment at the end of the day when all is quiet and everything is crossed off the list, to reflect on the moments that I was able to make a difference, to be aware enough to allow someone to impact my path. 

I challenge you, in whatever moment of silence you are granted to look back at your day and identify that magical juncture that normally would have been forgotten. Let it impact you, allow it to change you, accept it and appreciate it. 

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