At Your Service and With My Love

This is personal post and a philosophical one. If you consider yourself a hard-headed business type focussed on the bottom line, nothing but the bottom line, then I suggest that you stop reading now.  If you are open minded then it is possible that this post will find a listening in you.  Let’s start.

Shopping with my mother

My mother is elderly.  She finds it hard to get up, she finds it hard to move about, she finds it exhausting to go up  stairs, she has to be careful coming down the stairs…. She needs help buying the weekly groceries.

This week, I was with my mother for a day and took her on her weekly shop to her favourite grocery store. Whilst there, I had to put patience into the game. Let her walk slowly, let her take her time.  Some of the products were to low for her so I bent down picked them up and let her touch them to see if they were good enough for her.  Her eyesight is not that good and she struggled to read the prices. So I read out the prices for her.

I also found myself protecting her. How exactly? There were many people in this small supermarket and they were in their own worlds: busy focussing on their tasks, rushing by, and oblivious to the needs of an old lady.  More than once I stood between my mother and someone’s trolley or brisk – shoving – walk.  Finally, we got to the cashiers till and stood in line.

An old man struggles with his shopping

There was an elderly man in front of us. His hand-held shopping basket was full. He found it hard to carry so he placed it on the floor while he waited for his turn. When his turn came  he bent down and started taking one item at a time from the basket and putting it on the conveyor belt. Just watching him I got his situation. I felt for him as one human being for another fellow human being.

So I walked up to him, looked him in the face, smiled and said “Allow me to help you with this!” Then I picked up his basket from the floor and placed the contents on the conveyor belt.  The old gentleman had a huge smile on his face whilst saying “Thank you!” Someone standing in the queue, came up to me and said “It’s great of you to help out this old man. This just does not happen anymore.”  I replied, “Thank you. I was brought up to help those who can do with help.  This is my mum, she’s the one that bought me up that way.”

Now here is what gets me: the cashier saw the old man’s struggle and did nothing; many others standing around queuing saw the old man’s struggle and did nothing.  Where is our humanity?  Have we disconnected from our empathy – our natural way of being?  Have we locked up our natural compassion and thrown away the key? Is all our talk about service, experience, relationship simply empty talk?

Some questions to consider about business, about our lives

I have a deeper questions for you, me, us.  What are our lives about?  What are our businesses about?  What are our organisations about?  What is our society about?  Is selfishness, greed, and money-making the best that we can aspire to?  Is “profit maximisation” the most noble purpose that we can aspire to? Is that how we want ourselves and our age to be remembered?

If business, if Customer Experience, is merely the pursuit of profit maximization then count me out.  I am not inspired by that game.  And, I doubt that many people in your organisation are inspired by that game. How many people do you know that get up in the morning fired up by the idea of filling the pocket of nameless-faceless shareholders with gold?

I yearn to live a noble life: to make a contribution; to generate connection and touch lives; to contribute to co-creating a world that shows up as a kinder world – a world that works for all.  How about you?  Are you happy with a life, a tombstone, that reads “Here lies X s/he did a great job of maximising profits for shareholders.”

If you find yourself called to life a noble life, like the one that I have described then I’d love to hear from you, to know you better, to connect with you, to work with you if that is a possibility.

At your service and with my love

Maz

(e: maz@maziqbal.com)

Posted on May 11, 2013, in Case Studies, Culture, Customer Experience, Customer Philosophy, Customer Service, Employee Engagement, Leadership / Change / Transformation, Social and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Maz, this post leaves a deep and thought provoking question, and unfortunately one that I do not have a sufficiently good answer for.

    How does being selfish help?

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    • Hello James

      It occurs to me that here we are grappling with metaphysics. And in particular what is human and what it means to be human.

      If you operate t from the existing Western metaphysics then you and I are separate and in competition. Furthermore, we our each our own masters and each of us is only responsible for himself. Not others. And so we have what we have. Isolation, fragmentation and the decay of neighbourliness – that was a trademark of the England that I grew up in.

      My mother was brought up in a society/culture that operated from a very different metaphysics. You and I exist in relationship. To be human is to be kind/generous/helpful to one another. To celebrate together. To mourn together.

      If we are all selfish then is it a surprise that the world shows up as selfish.

      All the best to you, my friend. And thank you: your existence makes a difference to my existence.

      Maz

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  2. Maz, you have made connections and have touched people. You are right though that humanity is being lost. Our parents brought us up the right way…..we need to take 5 mins every day and remember that.

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    • Hello Sabiqa

      I find myself to delighted to hear your voice and your words. Thank you. With your voice and your words you have touched my heart and given wings to my soul.

      Yes, our parents did bring us up the right way. A way that is worth preserving. A way that allows us to co-create a kinder world for all. It is a way that I am proud of. And, yes, it only takes five minutes, perhaps at the start of the day, to get present to the value of connection, of service, of neighbourliness.

      With my love
      maz

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  3. Ah, Maz, there you go again, getting to the heart of it all.

    I agree – I personally think life is all about love, and love is all that matters. In the end, but also every moment of every day. Yes, we need to make sure we are compensated for our efforts, so we have enough money to go to those busy stores and get what we need for ourselves and our families, to take care of them and keep them safe, and help make dreams come true. Yes, we have an obligation to our shareholders, who trusted that we were going to do what we said we were going to do, and that their money was being used wisely.

    Money has its place in life, but life with money and no love is hell compared to life with love and little money. I’ve lived the latter; I prefer life with love and money, but I don’t live for money. I live for love, and money comes as a result.

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    • Dearest Kristin

      Here is what shows up for me. I find myself to be in total agreement with you. It occurs to me that you and I share the same philosophy, the same being.

      I want you to know that I am truly grateful that you exist and that it is my good fortune that our paths have crossed. Being in communication with you occurs as a privilege.

      With my love
      maz

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  4. Maz,

    You said it all with this question: “Where is our humanity?”

    I don’t have the answer, but I ask this question often.

    Annette :-)

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    • Hello Annette

      I know you do. I know you do. I read what you write and it occurs to me that you and I are fruits of the same tree. You see the totality. You see the value of relationship and connection. You see the importance of service. And of kindness. Of thinking of the longer term and not only of the shorter-term.

      I thank you for making the time to comment. To share of yourself. Please know that I am truly grateful that you exist and that you and I are in communication. You make a difference!

      With my love
      maz

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  5. Hi Maz,
    I think you and I were raised in similar ways.

    I hope that you, and all like you, continue with your actions and approach and that helps to break some people out of their reverie.

    Maybe that’s how we restore our humanity….by putting it more and more on show.

    Adrian

    Like

    • Hi Adrian

      I find myself in total agreement with you. One of the greatest joys of “putting it more and more on show” is to find myself in communication with, and connected, to people like you who are fruits of the same tree.

      With my love
      maz

      Like

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