people lifting rope

The guy at the gym

people lifting rope

There’s a guy at my gym, mid-fifties, big and round with a shiny bald head and pink cheeks and a definite jolliness about him. When I got to my class today he was standing near the instructor’s stage, helping him collect tickets from the participants. At the end of the class, he was helping people pack away their equipment.

When he took my step from me to stack it at the end of the class, my instant reaction – I’m ashamed to admit – was suspicion. Here we go, another guy who fancies himself as a bit of a charmer with the ladies, I thought. But then I looked around and he was grabbing equipment from everyone, male or female, and helping put it away.

What was even more surprising was that there appeared to be absolutely no agenda – he wasn’t even waiting to be thanked, barely making eye contact, just walking away without a word, to go help the next person. Then I remembered I’d seen this guy a few times before, and thought he was staff because he’d been so attentive to everyone else.

But this guy was just a guy, like any guy, at the gym to do his thing. Only his thing naturally seemed to include noticing other people and how he could help make things easier for them. 

It was such an unusual sight to see that it made me think. What if more people lived this way, in life but also in business? If they truly went about their work day with a little less ‘what’s in it for me?’ and a little more ‘just here to help’? What would the implications be? My guess is, in business, it would be a definite win-win – and if you can let go of expectations, then there’s nothing wrong with a win as a bonus!

I know we’ve all heard about the giver’s philosophy but seeing this guy at the gym really, TRULY not helping for any other reason than to help, made me realise that people rarely live up to this ideal.

And for me, although I believe I truly want to help my clients, this is only part of the truth. When my needs, work demands and problems get in the way, ‘just being there to help’ goes out the window. There, I admit it. It made me realise it’s been a long time since I sent a client a surprise gift to let them know I appreciate them, or picked up the phone just to check how a client’s doing with the photos from their last shoot.

I’ll call my mum just to see how she’s doing, or send a friend a greeting card ‘just because’. I’m not expecting anything other than to brighten their day and share a part of it. Why not love your clients that way?

This week I’m going to call three clients, send one gift, and schedule some more for next week. And it’s really, truly going to be like the guy in the gym – ‘just because’.

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