13 November 2014

Art And Life

Art And Life

If you are a Painter, when the time comes to sign your name, you make sure it’s the best work you were able to paint.

If you are a Songwriter, when the time comes to put then pen down, and accept the lyrics, you make sure that it’s the best you were able to write.

If you are a Motivational Speaker, when the time comes to step on the stage and move people towards bigger and better accomplishments, you make sure that what you have planned to deliver, is the best you have to offer.

If you are an Auto Mechanic, and you’re honest and provide fair and professional service and repairs to your customers, they will return knowing that you gave it the best of your skills.

Obviously, I could go on and on. For hours. But I won’t. I have a point to get to and I just wanted to pre-establish a basis for my final point. I was raised and live my life by the signature system. That is, don’t sign your name to it, unless you’re ready to accept that it is the best that you have to offer.

My first job ever was as a bus boy at a restaurant that featured a world renowned Chef. Ice carvings and everything. We were taught exemplary customer service, professionalism, manners, service responsibilities … all FOR the customer. As far as the Owner/Chef was concerned, every person seated in the restaurant every night was royalty, and they were going to get the best meal he had ever cooked.

We worked hard. We worked out asses off. Not a bread crumb would hit the floor without me scooping it up and keeping customers tables looking like a clean room in a lab. At the end of each night, we locked the door, prepared for the next day, and the Chef was still there with us. Why? Because at the end of each night he would cook for us personally - anything we wanted off the menu - as a gesture of thanks and reverence for our dedication and service. Wow. Where do you see that today?

So where am I going with this? It has been my observation over the last few years, that fewer and fewer people realize the value of “signature” ethics. From restaurant servers, to politicians, etc. - they seem to just be doing enough to just get by. We have been spoiled by this type of nonchalant attitude. When I turned 16 and got my Drivers License, I bought a $500 car. Today, kids turn 16, many times the folks buy them a brand new ride and then many times it’s the folks that make the payments. How are we to learn responsibility, pride in our work, unless we are given some form of direction by someone who knows better than we do?

Granted, in many ways we have to cut a swath for our own path, but at other times, there’s a superhighway that leads right to where we want to be. That superhighway, was once somebody’s footpath. Those BEFORE us has left behind signs, ways, direction, and knowledge to help us along OUR path … without falling off the cliff.

If you feel as though the job you’re doing isn’t right for you, then do something else. Don’t slack and underperform because you don’t like it. If you have a cell phone you’re one of the wealthiest passengers on this planet. In fact, only 7% of the entire world’s population owns a car.

I’m not boasting here, but I’m just going to tell you that I thank people wherever I go … for being there, and for working hard. When I travel, I always thank that Service Plaza Attendant that has to clean the public restrooms that people use as if they were in the woods and no one was looking. What a tough way to earn your keep and put bread on the table? What about the hospital staff continuing on through every Holiday, weekend, and family celebration as if it was just another day? Even that girl at the fast food counter that doesn’t even say hi and jumps right in and says “can I take your order?” I always ask them how they’re doing. They’re shocked. And them I tell them thanks for taking my order. More shock. Sometimes, I even get a smile back and they thank me for asking. Even when I go to a crappy restaurant, I always tip 20%+ just because. We’re all doing the best we can with the tools and information we’ve been given.

Life, is an art form. We design the things that surround us just as a museum or art gallery has it’s displays of other people’s accomplishments. Our life is OUR art. Be sure the works you create are worthy of your signature. Because, just as a fine painting, once we’re gone, the Artist will be remembered for his works, and the signature defines the best they had to offer. When you retire from your body, leave behind some good reviews.

Just a thought …

~Justin Taylor, ORDM., OCP., DM.