Lessons From My Birthday

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The Importance of Being Genuine


I celebrated my birthday this past Wednesday by treating myself with lunch at the Four Seasons. This was my annual ritual whenever I was in DC. I budgeted the money to dine there. In my reservation, I stated that not only was it my birthday but I was celebrating the 15th MBA anniversary. Fifteen years ago, I received my MBA on my birthday so this birthday had dual meaning. As I finished my lunch, I asked the waiter for my check. He replied ‘since I was one of the most loyal and nice patrons, it was free.’ That was totally unexpected! His response taught me three things about being genuine.

  1. It can’t be copied.

Generosity cannot be faked. You either are or you’re not. People can sniff contrived emotions which was why being and staying genuine are essential. If I just went through the motions or came in the restaurant with an expectation that I ‘owned’ someone because I could afford to eat at the Four Seasons, I would had most likely have to pay.

  1. You’re memorable.

Places like the Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, Mandarin Oriental, etc, had more than their share of haughty, entitled individuals. I always treated people with respect and didn’t think that it was such a big deal. Being genuine made me memorable in the sea of entitlement.

  1. You gain respect and goodwill.

Goodwill was an intangible asset that couldn’t be realized until a company was sold. Generosity was an intangible asset towards gaining and sustaining respect from others. There was no pretense or expectation of a return whenever you showed.

As I go into another year, I want to emphasize the importance of generosity and how far it can take you.


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2 Responses

  1. ShootingStarsMag

    That’s wonderful that you got a free lunch, and you’re right, being genuine is something you are or you aren’t. People can tell.

    Happy Belated Birthday!!!



    • carlarjenkins

      Yes, I was floored and humbled by that free gesture.