We’ve all been guilty of polishing up our “A” game in order to entice the sale.
You needed a favor. You wanted permission. You hoped for another date. Or, maybe you just wanted to close a business deal.
Children learn the queues as infants and perfect “A” game usage throughout life, again, pulling out “the good stuff” at opportune times in order to get something. Being extra kind. Being extra nice. Extra helpful. Going the extra mile. Being extra thoughtful.
But what if you trained yourself to always bring your “A” game? What if you left the light on all the time?
Recently I attended a corporate dinner function at an upscale restaurant. The people at the table were all well-educated and professional. I, of course, was the square peg, the entrepreneur, the free spirit, the one without the need to impress or put on airs. I just did me.
I made the toast, “to new friends and to our individual selves who help to create the perfect whole.” I pulled out chairs for the ladies, asked the server’s name (Dawn) and addressed her by it all throughout the night, and stood up to greet the people who arrived late and again to say goodbye to those who left early. I sent a special “hello” to the head bartender who (maybe not so ironically) I knew. I complimented the chef for a great meal (for which he came out to the table to express his thanks).
I just didn’t have the need to be viewed as important and instead treated everybody else as though they were.
I wasn’t putting on a show. I was just doing me.
The immediate result was better service (for me, anyway), increasingly more-generous pours in my red wine glass, and my drinks comped by the bartender. At the end of the night, as everybody shook hands with the out-of-town guest, I went in with the two-handed handshake, pulled him in for a “good ol boys” hug, called him by his first and last name, complimented him, thanked him for coming, and told him how glad I was to have met him. His clever response; “Scarecrow, I’ll miss you most of all.” And I’m pretty sure that’s true.
Who knows? Maybe the guy thought I was a jerk. Probably not, though. I always notice when people are nicer and kinder and more polite than the norm. And I’m guessing that other people notice those things as well.
Before you accuse me of self-canonization, let me confess that I often forget to bring that “A” game home with me for the people who deserve it most. We all forget. We all slip. It’s a conscious work in progress.
If you turn your heat off at night, you’ll wake up to an icy cold house. But if you leave it on all the time and just turn it down a little at bedtime, you can be comfortable all winter long. It might cost a little more – from an energy perspective – but I think its worth it. Others will too.