Thank you crappy lawn mower guy
I am inspired on this 4th of July to tell you a rather personal independence story.
It was 1991. My husband had died in a horrific car wreck, aged 33, a few months earlier. I had a 5 month old baby. I had resigned from my corporate job to have my baby and I was now sitting at home in shock, wondering what on earth to do with the rest my life. I was broke, scared and very sad.
I was also overwhelmed by coping with a multitude of chores that my husband used to take care of. Gosh how I wish I had ever thanked him for all he did. I never realized or appreciated these things till he was gone.
Amongst the many chores was mowing the lawn – and now the lawn mower was broken! I had no chance of fixing it myself so I located a service man in the phone directory, and scheduled a service window. He didn’t show up as promised and the thick kikuyu lawn was becoming a jungle. I called again and he promised he would be there 8 am the next morning. He finally showed up at noon. I remember him clearly to this day. Well…
He smelled. Really – even from a distance. He was rude and unfriendly. I tried to chat with him, it was hard – but he did mention he had been fixing lawn-mowers for 27 years. He never apologized for being two days and several hours late at all. He spent an hour fixing the lawn mower, charged me 250 bucks and left.
And as if that was not bad enough, the lawn mower was still not fixed!! I swear it. He could not have been worse at any stage of his service delivery! What does a surly, tardy and incompetent service repair man have to do with you or me today?
This was a pivotal moment in my life because I kept wondering how the heck he stayed in business for 27 years being so phenomenally crappy at what he did. The over-riding thought in my head is that if he can start a business, perhaps, just maybe, if I tried hard, I might be able to get it right too.
It was actually the incident that inspired me to start my first business – an IT management consultancy. I have always believed that if there is something you can do for the world, and you are dedicated to do it amazingly, you can have a viable, profitable business. And if this lack-luster service man could survive 27 years, it gave me the whisper of confidence I needed to plunge out on my own for the first time. I am happy to report that despite some faltering steps, it was a very successful business.
22 Years, a new hemisphere and three successful businesses later, I now dedicate my time to helping entrepreneurs take their baby steps, or big leaps (Hey – both work, I actually prefer the leaps) towards building their own amazing businesses.
So today does seem like a good time to acknowledge the crappy lawn mower guy from 1991! And to my readers I say:
- If you are thinking about launching your own business: Trust yourself and leap. Desire, commitment and talent are fundamentally all you need. And our country thirsts for entrepreneurs with their innovation, jobs and economic development.
- If you are struggling to run your own business: Every successful entrepreneur you admire has been where you are today; we simply learned what to do differently. Get the help you need and get over your obstacles. It is that simple!
- If you are running a successful business of your own: Congratulations. There is no greater personal journey of growth, satisfaction and accomplishment and I applaud you!
Happy Independence Day!