The Driver and The Passenger

When I travel in the car with my family, I’m usually the one who drives. I don’t mind at all. If there is ever any question as to who should drive, I volunteer. If it is a journey to a destination we’ve never been, Bethany is far better navigating me and making the strategic decisions on how to get there. I’m better at following her lead. I enjoy driving.

Most of us really don’t stop to think of how much relaxed yet active focus it takes to drive a car. There are so many iables that require our constant monitoring and adjustment. The speed. The distance between us and every other object sharing the road. The signs and signals to obey come from every direction. I mean, seriously, driving is very busy work. There is not much else that we can (or should) pay attention to but the journey ahead and everything involved in making sure we get to the end of it safely.

For those of us who are drivers, when the occasion arrises to be in the passenger seat, it is like being in a whole new world. A road we may have driven hundreds of times is filled with things that have always been there but we are too busy to notice. While we are busy being focused on the road ahead there was a whole reality that was passing us by. This is not to say that the passenger seat is better. This is just to say that there is a focus on the bigger picture unfolding around the car as it travels ahead. One that is not solely attentive to the act of driving.

I’m having some fairly major surgery this upcoming Monday (November 22nd, 2010). I have some disk degeneration in my neck (C5, 6, & 7) that is causing bulging into the nerve space. This has caused me to be in ious levels of constant pain from my neck down my right arm for over four years now. I’ve finally run out of non-surgical options to treat it and treating it surgically is now the only remaining option. The recovery time is expected to be 4-6 weeks with at least the first two weeks spent in a hard collar/brace that will not permit me to drive or do much in the way of writing, computing, consulting, or posting to my ious sites.

I will be in a unique position. From both a physical perspective (due to the hard collar) and the metaphorical (Not being able to write). One in which the driver and passenger are merged. I will be called to appreciate and enjoy the world that is unfolding around me while at the same time focused on the busy work of keeping myself on the road ahead, making sure I get to the end of it safely.

I’ll see you back here, in the drivers seat, at the end of this journey.

What is true now?

Are you looking for the reason to always have something to capture ideas with you at all times? Are you looking for the point in doing regular reviews? Are you stuck with not knowing what to do next out of the 50 things you should be doing and the 500 you could be doing? Then the solution can be found in answering, to the fullest extent possible, the one question above. Other questions, such as…

How |kaibk|referrer|nkrez
much time do I have?

What tools are at my disposal?

What is the next action to move the project forward?

None of these questions can be honestly answered until you have truthfully quantified “What is true now?”. This is why regular reviews, brain dumps, capturing things easily, etc. is so very critical. Until you can define all of the truths of your world, until you know where you are right this moment, until you can appreciate both what you have and what you don’t, there is no possible way you can know for sure that the next step you take is the one you should be taking

The Wait

I recently stopped to order some lunch to-go at an Asian deli that is newly opened and not too far away from me. Bethany and I had been there to eat-in once before and were blown away by the quality of the food as well as the general vibe of the staff. The Pad Thai was so good that we had been thinking about it ever since.

I walked in and was greeted warmly by the kind young man behind the counter. I placed my order and gave him my card to pay. As he was running it through I mentioned we had been in before and how much we enjoyed the Pad Thai. He mentioned that it must have been when he was not there because he remembers every face, which I confirmed was indeed the case. He let me know that it would be ready soon, directed me to a comfortable place to sit with reading material, and offered me a glass of water while I waited.

I sat down, pulled out my iPhone, fired up Instapaper, and waited. Not more than ten minutes had passed and, as he was delivering another order, he stopped to apologize for the wait (what wait?) and that my order would be ready as soon as possible. I let him know that all was cool with me (like I said, what wait?) no distress needed. Less then five minutes later he called me up for my order. Before handing it to me he placed a can of soda in the bag and proceeded to explain that he was sorry for the wait, that normally they are much faster, and the free soda was to make up for that.

It was less then 15 minutes between placing my order and having it in hand.

I did not feel like I waited an inordinately long time. I displayed no sense of urgency, either as I ordered (as the casual conversation I was striking up denotes) nor as I waited (Instapaper, FTW!!!). Therefore, his sense of urgency and expectations were not being set by me, the customer. And that’s when it hit me.

Greatness comes when one sets standards for their own results that are far higher then anyone expects and they strive to meet those consistently.

This young man obviously had a standard he set for service that was far higher then I had placed upon him. When he felt he had not met it, he let me know that. While it was not beneath my expectations, it was his and he apologized and compensated where appropriate. In fact, if he maintains this, he will likely never have a customer that can’t be satisfied.

It was more than great Pad Thai that won this business a customer for life in me. It was also more than a free can of soda. It was this lesson in greatness that I will now take and apply wherever I can.

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