Last Man Standing…

If we pay attention, regardless of nearly being offended or knocked out; we may just be surprised by our fellow-man.

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If we pay attention, regardless of nearly being offended or knocked out; we may just be surprised by our fellow-man.

So Black Friday has come and gone and thank goodness for that. See ya Felicia. This annual retail event is feature rich with “deals on deals” and videos of people literally going mad for things that are “cheaper than chips”. These “things” they probably don’t need and simply cannot afford, regardless of the seemingly giveaway price. Hence the madness. With that week behind us, shopping however is still continues.

One week later, on a scorching hot Saturday morning, it was time for shopping to raise its weary head again. Of course the question is why a week later? All the deals have come and gone. This is where my receipt disagrees. 1x pair of Asics Gel Nimbus 20, 1 x pair Asics running tights and a Compress Peak running cap for the same price of the running shoes on any other given day. Thank you Sweatshop Broadacres. But this deal is not what the story is about.

Relocate 5 km to another mall for my wife’s turn with shopping. And this is where I get nervous. Fast forward 20 min and all things are in the basket, checked out and paid for. And on our way we go! Say what! A woman shopping for a baby shower and it’s done and dusted in 20 min? True story!

So apart from being bedazzled by my wife’s new super power and high fiving her for it, the lesson of the day comes in the form of a rebuke. While we were walking to the car all proud of my wife, a noticed a couple with 3 kids. One child is crying and the other two look like they are pressing moms buttons all at once. The woman was buckling in the crying child and blocking our cars driver door. This clearly means, I’m unable to get into the car. I heard the man in a calm voice say to the woman, “we need to hurry as people are trying to get into their car”. The woman did not hesitate to respond with: “they can then wait”. In steps the rebuke! My immediate thought was that she clearly wasn’t aware of how close we were standing and that she was not a happy camper… obviously. Another interesting fact is that I didn’t see the man again. Think she ate him!

As I got into the car thinking about this, I heard a tap-tap  on the window and looked around and saw the same woman tapping on the car window with her nails. I feared for my life! But what she said next blew my mind!

As she leaned half out of her car towards our car window, with heaving breathing, exhausted but so calm said:” I want to say sorry. The kids are driving me mad today and being impossible. Of course I couldn’t bridle myself and said with a smile: “so that’s what I have to look forward too in 5 years time”. She smiled and we had our virtual hugs and kisses and we drove off into the sunset. Her with her rebellious kids, me with my wife and new running shoes already making new year’s running resolutions.

So what’s the point here?

It’s like the Wilder vs Fury boxing this weekend. Absolute chaos over 4 months leading up to the showdown. Fight night arrives and they throw a left, right, left, right, knockdown, get up and carry on. The bell rings and the boxers embrace. What?

Considering this woman; Its trying to understand her ability to transform from a chaotic emotional state to a rational mind in just a few seconds. The virtual left, right, left and right her kids are throwing at her all at once. Which leads me to another thought. How on earth do single mothers raise their kids and still be a functioning and contributing member of society? Consider the deep strength that needs to be drawn on everyday!

This experience can be unpacked & reviewed over and over again but I think we get the point. Being able to face the chaos in life, get knocked down and keep your head is how we get through it. If we can stand tall during the suffering time and again, we will be the last wo-man standing.

To this woman whose name I did not get. To you and all mothers, we salute you. You have taught me that even though life gets tough, don’t forget to display your values and morals in front of your kids. It’s then that we shine the brightest and teach them an unforgettable lesson.

If you find grammatical errors contained within, please assist & correct me to become a better writer.

Your comments and feedback is always welcome!

Milk & Screws

We have all seen that one person stick out head and shoulders above the crowd. Somehow its mesmerising or other times is just a false alarm. Depends what’s on the menu and what catches the eye.

Now, we have also heard, “first impressions last” or make that “first impression count”, Once again, it depends on what side of the impression you are on.

I’ve had the privilege to work with many CEOs & MDs that have positively influenced my life. All of them had many traits in common, one of which, they actually just cared. Nothing rocket science about that. All of that care, as their primary trait; has to a large part contributed to my success: both business and personal. Success in my case is “its ok to make mistakes but soldier forward, having enough money for running shoes and never slapping stupid people.

Anyhoo, about 11 years ago I was unemployed and finally got a call from a company for an interview the following Monday. I dressed up in my best suit, 2 sizes to big (i was much thinner back then), polished my shoes and walked shoulders back and chest out. Interview must have gone well (great first impression) as I got a second interview with the MD that Friday. And that’s when things kicked off…

Now for the record, when HR called me for the second interview, i EXPRESSLY asked about dress. Not wearing a dress, but should it be suite and tie or business casual. HR responded with, go casual. Evident to say, casual was not a choice I gave HR. So, playing it safe, business casual was my choice. Nicely snug between formal and casual.

The following events happened in a split second.

Walk into the office. See MD. See MD outfit. See my outfit. See the difference. And freeze.

I started the interview with an apology and throwing HR under the bus. Way to go big guy! The MD was dressed in suite and tie and looked like a million bucks. My outfit that I thought was a million bucks was reduced to R100. Hows that for deflation! I apologised for getting my business casual attire incorrect and the MD responded, relax man. Its cool. I wear suite and tie everyday. He then offered me coffee, I said yes (sheepishly) and then he walked over to the kitchen asking about sugar & milk etc. I said yes and yes and opened the fridge and handed him the milk… and that’s how I landed the job!

Say what???

Handing someone milk got me the job!!!

Turns out that the MD had a different approach to business, people and interviews. Also turns out he owned a carpentry business on the side that did shop fitting for large multinationals. One of his interview techniques for new carpenters was brilliant. He would take them to the workshop floor and stand around a workbench. On the workbench were 20 or so wood screws and he would, with slight of hand knock them all off. If the potential carpenter kneeled down, picked up all the screws and arranged them head-to-toe and handed them back to the MD, they would get the job. If not, the MD would let him know that they didn’t pass the interview, explaining why.

His explanation for this interview technique; the milk and screws, is to verify a person’s ability too “paying attention” when it matters most. That’s it!

Reviewing the interview; the MD always wanted to see if “we” not “he” was going to make the coffee. Turns out and thankfully so, I had my head on that morning and was paying attention. I saw that the coffee job wasn’t going to be complete, unless I handed him the milk. I mean, I was standing right next to the damn fridge. Give a brother some help! And the rest is history.

First impressions are not about beautiful red dresses worn to the ball, the ripped jock and his six pack abs (although that would be awesome) or the best candidate for a job. First impressions is about paying attention on a daily basis and being responsible to the person that chooses you to do great things together.

 

If you find grammatical errors contained within, please assist & correct me to become a better writer.

Your comments and feedback is always welcome!