Last Saturday, I was riding to lunch with some family, when I spotted a women in her stalled car in the street. I was just deciding whether or not to get out and help when I saw another man show up and start pushing the car on his own. Since I was riding in the passenger seat, it was easy for me to hop out and give the guy a hand.
At first I thought we were just going to push the car to the side of the road, but this guy doesn’t stop. He keeps on pushing so I ask him where are we taking the car? Then he tells me there’s a gas station down the road, past the stop sign about a half mile. For a quick moment I consider telling him we should call a truck, but something inside me took it as a challenge. Plus I didn’t want to look like a wimp, or leave this guy to push the car by himself. Meanwhile my family had no idea what we were doing – suddenly I’m not in their car anymore and they have no idea where this guy and I are going.
So I start talking to my new good-Samaritan buddy and his name is Todd, he’s a Marine (no wonder this guy wants to push a car a half mile, he’s probably used to 120 degree weather while dodging grenades and bullets). We chat with what breath we can spare, talking about the heat, family and what we do for a living. Pretty soon we get to the gas station and a couple other guys help push the last hundred feet to get it to the pump. Our families are there cheering, I shake Todd’s hand and before the woman can get out to thank us, we’re already back in our cars chugging water.
So what are the possible takeaways from this little adventure?
Maybe one takeaway would be effort – without it you go nowhere. I think having a strong work ethic is getting harder to find these days. Granted there is a lot of value in finding new and better ways to be efficient with your time, but sometimes you just have to put your shoulder to the grindstone and do the job. When I’m designing a logo, trade-show booth, or website – there are lots of ways I can shorten my time, but there is a certain amount of effort that has to go into the job or else it doesn’t look finished. You have to evolve the design to a finished state, otherwise it will just look like another template, cookie-cutter marketing piece that is easy to ignore.
Another takeaway might be planning or communication – as in like, have some! Here we were just pushing a car, but not every problem can be handled with brute force and no plan. With any project or challenge, you should have expectations and targets identified. With a website you definitely need a plan, otherwise you will change your direction enough times to confuse the whole concept and it will be obvious. We all know that ready, fire, aim is not the proper procedure.
But the takeaway that I’m going with is about helping others. The whole rest of that Saturday I felt great because I helped someone. My clients aren’t just a source of income, they are organizations with needs and goals and I want to see them succeed. When they do well, I do well and I’m proud of what we created together.
Also have AAA and fill up your tank.