I was recently reminded how a professional can make a difference.
Last week, I found myself flirting with disaster. Since I barely know where to put the gas in my car, I wasn’t sure what was happening when my steering wheel started to shimmy. My car suddenly veered to the left as the steering wheel shook wildly. I assumed the worse–my steering gizmo was broken and my life (and that of anyone around me) was in imminent danger. Even worse, it was 6:00am and I was shimmying to the airport repeating to myself, “just get me to the airport, just get me to the airport.”
I made it! I shimmied into the airport’s long-term parking lot and caught my flight to Atlanta. But as soon as I got back home, I made a beeline to my trusted auto mechanic.
Jorge, the owner of this small one-man shop, greeted me like he was actually glad to see me. I am always amused how some shop owners act as if customers are a nuisance. Don’t laugh. This is probably very close to the truth for some of you out there. Even with the horrible economy, it is more prevalent than you think. Not Jorge. He makes his clients feel welcome and comfortable in a hectic, confusing and anything but sanitary environment.
“Jorge. I think I have a problem,” I said.
Jorge began to investigate the problem. Then asked a few more questions. Then he asked me if he could “put her up on the lift.”
I told Jorge about the sudden shimmy and he said he thought he knew what the issue might be. Once my car was off the ground, Jorge ran his hands over the front tires–knowing exactly what he was doing. And with a big smile on his face, he confirmed his diagnosis. He was obviously pleased with his findings, as most professionals are when they score some points. “You tore a steel belt in the left front tire. Feel right here. All you need is a new tire. Can you wait?” At first, I couldn’t see or feel what Jorge had uncovered, but when viewed from a different angle, I could clearly see the problem.
Jorge performed his magic and I drove away in a smooth running machine; thinking to myself how wonderful life is to have a handful of professionals positioned around the world who know what they are doing and know what they are talking about.
I enjoy just being around professionals. Watching a professional in action; whether on the athletic field; in an operating room; in a classroom or in a garage; is a beautiful thing. True professionals are fun to be around. Professionals make the world go around. Professionals make their business look easy. Professionals ask questions to get an honest understanding of the problem. Professionals diagnose the problem and they use all their experience and know-how to make life easier for their clients.
We rely on professionals when our own skills fall short. Professionals know that in most instances, we are coming to them with a problem. We gladly pay their fees once we appreciate what they do for us.
Professionalism doesn’t come in a box and it doesn’t grow on trees. Professionalism comes as a result of trial and error, study, practice, focus, and years and years of hard work.
This week, work on your professionalism. Think like a pro. Act like a pro. And get paid like a pro. Here are some questions that might help:
- Are you studying your trade when you are not practicing it?
- Are you treating clients with respect and speed?
- Are you always asking questions to arrive at a more clear solution?
- Do you listen with all of your senses when others are speaking?
- Do you challenge yourself to get better each and every day?
- Do you realize that “others” are always watching you?
- Are you working at becoming the exception in everything you do?
An automobile mechanic reminded me last week what a professional looks like, sounds like and acts like. And my life is better for having this man on my team.
And so I ask you: Do your customers feel better knowing that you are in their corner? If yes, keep up the good work. If not, let’s get to work.