Recently, while driving to work I was listening to a radio interview with AFL legend, Neale Daniher.
Anyone who follows Aussie Rules, and many who don’t, will know of Neale’s battle with Motor Neuron Disease. Neale has worked tirelessly to bring awareness to and raise funds for fighting this insidious disease.
A few minutes into the interview I nearly pulled over. I was so emotionally moved by Neale’s bravery in the face of such adversity.
“MND is a progressive disease, it takes things from you. All the things you love,” he told Fox Footy’s AFL 360.
“I love to run, I love to play golf, I love to play tennis. You can’t do that. You can’t drive. I can’t dress myself. I’m struggling to talk. And I miss that because Robbo, as you know, I’m a very funny guy! I’m hilarious.”
“But there’s one thing it can’t take from me. MND takes everything from you except your last great freedom; and that’s your right to choose your attitude.”
“You choose your own way. And my attitude is don’t give up, don’t give in. It can’t take that from you.”
The right to choose your attitude.
Despite Neale’s suffering each day he chooses his attitude and that is to show up as the absolute best version of himself. I found this incredibly inspiring.
Two weeks later as I headed off for a trip to the US I was still thinking about Neale’s inspiring attitude.
As part of my fact finding mission to the States I was looking to find an answer as to why the US culture of service is so well renowned.
My theory, going over there, was that cash drove the culture.
Low minimum wages with a high tipping service culture gets people to try harder I thought. What I found was quite different.
I expected to be overwhelmed with great service because of the reward system but I was not. In most of my encounters with staff of hospitality venues there was very little difference in service, compared to Australian venues.
That was until I met Ricardo at Barney’s Beanery Sports Bar in LA.
They have multiple TV screens showing sport, a couple of pool tables, booth seating, decent food and a Wednesday trivia night. Not unlike most Australian sports bar set ups. But Ricardo was different.
Ricardo remembered my name. He was having fun whilst he was working. He was genuinely engaged with his customers. Sometimes he sat down with them to have a quick chat.
He altered his style of service and built rapport by mimicking what the customer wanted. If they were outgoing, Ricardo could have fun with them. If they just wanted quiet, friendly and efficient service Ricardo delivered just that.
I wanted to understand why Ricardo was different so I asked him what drove his behaviour and his response was, “I want to be the best I can be at this job or whatever pursuit I am putting my mind to.
This reminded me of Neale Daniher’s approach to life. Imagine how good service would be if every person showed up with this sort of mindset?