“Friendship isn’t a big thing – it’s a million little things.”
— Author Unknown
When I was in college, I got my hair cut at the same barber shop.
I could just walk in. Sometimes I had to wait, sometimes not. The hair cuts were good, but not great. The prices were reasonable, but not outstanding. The shop was well-kept, but not immaculate.
In short, this shop was average. Why did I come back, though? Time and time again.
In retrospect, I believe it was because I knew the owner (it was a one-man shop) and he always made time for me. He knew me. He listened to me. He asked my opinion. When I was in a hurry, he would get me out the door quickly. When I had time, he made time to chat.
While the owner certainly didn’t give everything he had to me, he gave me his time from the minute I walked in until the moment I left. We’d call it good customer service. And that was enough.
In the years since, I’ve been around a lot of self-employed people. Repeatedly, the ones I return to are the ones who make a little time for me even in circumstances when I’m not paying. In return, I find myself making time for them. Sometimes, I’ll buy their product simply because they helped me with something else, or took time to listen. Conversely, those business owners who can’t seem to answer my question, take days to respond, or give me short, obviously rushed answers seem to get little of my time.
When I press myself about why giving time (in a way this project is my business) has been such a life-changer for me, I am often hard-pressed to give myself a simple answer. It’s a complex question dealing with the positive emotions of intention, openness, connection, opportunity, and altruism as well as the negative ones guilt, defensiveness, and selfishness.
But maybe it boils down to the fact that when you help people, without any expectations of compensation, many of them will turn around and help you. The more people who’s lives you touch with time and attention, the more lives that will come back to touch yours.
It’s the basis for good business. And it’s the basis for good friendships.
And that’s a cut above.
Yesterday’s gift of time … Flowers, chocolate, wine, and dinner for my wife on her birthday at our favorite Mexican restaurant, Pepitas – a restaurant which not only has great food, decor, and drinks, the same staff is there time and again to make you feel welcome.