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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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