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500+ for 50 – day 17: waiting on fear

Most of us at one point or another during the course of our lives have worked in the service business.  So even if service is not truly a direct part of your vocation today, there’s a strong likelihood that sometime perhaps when you were younger you were employed to cater to the needs of others.  Maybe you waited on tables, cleaned rooms at a hotel, caddied at a golf resort, or worked as a valet at a local night club?  When I was in high school I worked at a local pizza place where I wore many hats.  I cooked food, washed dishes, interacted with customers at the front counter, and made countless delivery runs. I certainly didn’t love my job description then, but now looking back on that time of my life I can most definitely see the value of the experience.

An introduction to the service industry is an introduction to life.  It’s a vocation that gives you the opportunity to interact with and get to know a variety of people on a daily basis.  It forces you to set aside your insecurities and worries to provide for the desires and needs of others.  After all, it’s your job to ensure that your company’s clientele has an enjoyable and memorable experience while interacting with you.  And that fact remains true regardless of your current mood or circumstances.  For the duration of the customer’s visit, they are meant to take priority over everything else going on in your life.  Your goal is to provide the best service possible to ensure that they return to your establishment again and again, requesting you personally by name.

Not all customers are built the same.  So the real beauty of the service professional lies in his ability to adapt to the unique needs of the clientele that he works with in his position.  Every day is certain to bring new challenges.  To excel in such a profession, you need to have a sincere love for people and a willingness to put the needs of others before your own.  Some clients will earn your respect and mutual adoration.  Others will be more difficult to handle.  And despite your best efforts to cater to their every need, some customers will be rude, condescending, and will make it well known that their intention is simply to walk all over you.

If you’ve ever waited on tables in a restaurant before, you know the type. The customer walks in demanding the best table in the house, yet still complains about the noise, or the lighting, or the view out the window.  He makes every step of the ordering process painful, critiquing the menu and making obnoxious special requests.  But you maintain your calm and smile politely, doing everything in your kind nature to accommodate him.  Unfortunately it’s never enough.  The food is undercooked or overdone, the presentation doesn’t match his expectations, and the check does not accurately represent what he had anticipated.  With every trip back to the kitchen you take a huge deep breath, praying that he’ll just pay the bill and relieve you of the torment.  Then finally, following a snide remark or two about how the restaurant could upgrade its menu, he leaves the table.  And behind he leaves his payment, void of any tip for your service whatsoever.

Life in itself has its own unruly, disgruntled customer. Its name is fear.  And it threatens to barge into your establishment at any time and start demanding that you cater to its each and every whim.  While you may make your livelihood servicing the needs of others, you are not in the business of waiting on fear.  Fear will make unreasonable demands on each and every visit.  It will rob you of any joy that you could possibly find in your “work” because it offers no potential reward for your compliance with its demands.  And I assure you, fear is not a good tipper.  If you spend your time chasing around its requests, you will miss out on the opportunity to interact with the good customers who are walking in the door.  Fear will demand your full attention.  It will run you absolutely ragged if you allow it.

That’s why it’s critical that you post a sign at the door of your mind affirming your stance on such clientele.  Just like “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service”, in this establishment there is “No Fear Allowed”.  Because when you start allowing fear to dictate your actions, you will undoubtedly lose your ability to service the other more important aspects of your life.  When you cater to fear, you allow it to take charge of the operations of your business.  And in a short time, all that will remain are fragments of the framework that led to your success.  Fear takes no prisoners.  It will run your mind bankrupt in an instant if you allow it access to the register.  It is not to be trusted within the front door, let alone behind the counter.

Fear creates clutter and chaos in the mind.  It seeks to limit and confine you.  And more than anything it seeks to control your every move since it desperately desires to be the driving force behind all of your decisions.  So it’s critical that you make every effort to deny it any service in your life.  But if by chance you’ve already allowed it to be seated in your section (as most of us have at one point or another) you need to resist its unruly demands to take you on its wild, unforgiving ride.  Set boundaries on your priorities.  Commit to remaining true to yourself.  Do not let fear ridicule you and cause you to settle for an image that is less than what you know yourself to be. Tell it to dine elsewhere.  Fear cannot be trusted and it is not welcome in your establishment.  So set the tone upfront so that it understands never to return again.

Don’t spend another moment of your life waiting on fear when success is at the door just waiting to be seated…clear your section and start servicing the needs of those things which will bear fruit in your life.

May God Bless!

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