I know why I have an uneasy feeling when I drive to the gym. It is not because I am about to go through an hour of grueling sets with a guy who is helping me attain an ever-elusive fitness and weight goal; instead, it’s the thought that I may have a brief encounter with the owner of the gym. Unfortunately, she has never been a ‘nice’ person to me or my family with a welcoming, warm demeanor. Let me explain…
NOT vs. NICE
My puppy, Brooklyn, is a six months old lab, and I wanted to take her for a walk downtown. I chose to start at the gym to quickly introduce Brooklyn to my trainer, who happened to be working at that time. So I brought Brooklyn into the gym on a very short and tight leash . . . just for a few seconds. If looks could kill, someone would have written my eulogy that weekend. The owner’s head was shaking as she mumbled her disapproval to another patron there. I ignored the look of disdain, ran in, saw my trainer and then quickly ran out. The experience confirmed my feelings about the culture she exudes to the people in her gym.
Later that afternoon, I was off running typical errands around town and happened to go into Mitchells of Westport, a fabulous department store that has become immersed into the community. As I was walking towards the entrance that day, out from the store appeared a man walking his golden retriever from inside the store to his car. He was carrying a garment bag full of purchases. Why was it okay for a dog to be in a department store full of quality, new clothing but it was not okay for a dog to be in a smelly gym with old exercise equipment? The irony struck me as I passed by a truly happy customer.
When I was at the register completing my transaction, Bill Mitchell, the store owner’s son, thanked me for my business and shook my hand. I told him about the dichotomy between my two experiences. He explained the culture of the company and the passion with which the family promotes his father’s philosophy. Would you believe that this luxury store owner even keeps bowls for water underneath a counter near the check-out area for the furry friends in the community? Mr. Mitchell, Jack Mitchell, has written books about his philosophy, one in particular titled Hug Your Customers and Hug your People. Bill Mitchell recommended a book, from another writer, that hits the nail on the head. The book is titled The Power of Nice by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval. He suggested that after I read it, I give the book to the gym owner as a gift and an opportunity for her to self-reflect and possibly change the future of her business. I think I will do just that.
As I read The Power of Nice, I realized that it is a fabulous instruction manual for those who really need to learn this critical life and relationship skill. It provides a way to check oneself and make sure that one’s priorities are appropriately set. In short, I will double my efforts to practice the most valuable lesson of the day….
How do you practice The Power of Nice?
Written By: David J. Sussman, Esq, CLU