Recently, I went to my car mechanic for routine car maintenance. Pablo has a hole-in-the-wall auto repair shop specializing in Japanese cars. He doesn’t overcharge, and is direct and no-nonsense. Three years and counting, I’ve visited Pablo about twice a year. Each time, I look for improvements or expansions to his business. The immigrant in me wishes this immigrant to succeed. This time, he had expanded to an additional bay and had a spanking new bank of tool drawers along one wall. “Pablo’s business must be improving”, I think to myself.
Maintenance done, we head upstairs to his office for the paperwork. Pablo’s new business cards draw my eyes, a bright pop of color in the otherwise drab and functional office. Paperwork done, as I get up to leave, Pablo says his new business cards have helped drive new customers his way, and it’s thanks to me.
Here’s what happened. The previous time I visited Pablo, I told him his business cards were ugly, dreary and unwelcoming. I suggested he try a brighter and more welcoming look. I guess I communicated my message well enough that Pablo told his wife who took a closer look at those business cards, agreed with me, and set about designing the newer, brighter ones. Pablo says he used to hand out his old business cards wherever he went. Nothing much came of that. Not so with the new cards. People remember them and comment about them, he says. Apparently, even business started to improve after he switched to the new business cards. In fact, Pablo was positively effusive in saying so.
Pablo’s old business card
Pablo’s new business card
In our relatively short journey on this planet, we could choose to exist on the narrow and reflexive or we could choose to take some risks, risks that focus on engendering value. Sometimes our seeds may fall on the wrong soil or may get planted at the wrong time. That is part of the risk. Yet, if we are to have a cumulative experience of gratifying exchanges, we need to take those risks, big and small. My experience teaches me what I gain from taking those risks is more meaningful than what I lose. Gains encompass better relationships, better judgment, greater self-confidence, a honing of the instincts; the loss is usually merely some measure of vanity.
Post by Tirumalai Kamala:
Exchanges that engender value