Think all spiders are basically slackers just waiting around for home food delivery? Stop and look closer. Sure, some of them may not have any ‘gusto’, but the more industrious ones are driven to succeed. You’ll find not just one web but two, three or even four of them ready for the catch of the day. One might be larger (for the big hauls) and the others will be smaller (hey, snacks can be a meal!), but they are set up and ready.
Pretty smart thinking on the spider’s part. Different size webs, kept within a defined area that was manageable. Think about it. You wouldn’t find a crab or lobster fisherman just setting out one trap, would you?
Now, think about your own webs…your toolsets. Think you don’t have any? Grab some paper and pen (or whatever you have at hand) and start listing everything you’ve done in detail.
Worked as an electrician? Worked on high power lines? Rewiring a house? Doesn’t matter if you were a master or junior electrician. Write down each job you worked on and where it was [house, office, power plant, airplane, power poles]. Each of those environments are an experience that requires a particular mental skillset.
Worked as a plumber, painter, floor or carpet installer, drywall finisher, roofer, fiberglass worker, short-order cook, bookkeeper? Write them down in detail. When you start to see what steps it takes to do a job, you’ll begin to realize that there are many skills, many toolsets involved.
Can’t think of anything more than ‘I made meals.”? What recipes have you prepared from scratch? How did you ‘own’ that recipe by making it tastier than anyone else’s?
It’s not about the ingredients but the packaging and delivery
Maybe you ‘just mudded’ the wall and smoothed it out in preparation for painting. Do you have a good grasp on the right formulation for mixing the compound? Think you can handle all types of temperatures and humidity levels and still get it right? Maybe you’ve done it for homes and offices, but what about an art gallery? They’re pretty critical about how their walls look when hanging art work. After all, hundreds of eyeballs will be staring at those walls!
Every job is more than what it seems to us, especially when we’ve worked at it for a long time, but every job can also be different. Catering 20 or 200 or 2000 people, be it a cafe or a hotel, may be different in how busy you are, but in some respects you’re producing the same thing for just different size groups and tastes. Break down some basic components of providing a meal:
• When do you begin preparing your stock for soups?
• Anything you need to get ready first thing in the morning?
• Breakfast, lunch, dinner. What’s the prep time and order for each of those?
• What can you buy ahead of time and what do you need to buy fresh?
• What are your options if something isn’t available?
• Are you providing a particular style – American, Asian (break it down), Italian, Caribbean, Southern, Tex-Mex, Cuban, Salvadoran, German, French, Filipino, Combination? What do you do to make it different from the eatery across town?
Don’t Leave Your Tools At Home
Not that you know more about all of your many skills and toolsets, it’s time to ask yourself: “What can I provide in service or style that someone else doing the same job isn’t doing?
That can be the difference between working for someone else, doing what ‘anyone else can do’, and making it your own.
Survival is about Smartness
That spider didn’t just put out one web and hope for the best. It put out four webs, different sizes, closely managed but spread out to attract different customers. (Okay, you can add your own ‘the patrons come in but never leave’ jokes here) It didn’t just take the ‘build it and they will come’ attitude. It built the webs, kept check on them for visitors, made repairs quickly when needed and did whatever it took to make them inviting.
It put out more effort in a smarter fashion in order to ensure its survival. Hustling is about someone not settling for the lowest hanging fruit, not waiting for others to take notice, not showing one product or service but always working the crowd by giving more. It’s about taking any skill or piece of knowledge and experience and making more of it than just the basics.
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Author: Brad Apling
I've dirtied my hands in archeology digs, writing, computers, gardening, writing, my own small businesses, non-profits, blogging, researching, volunteering, and writing. Still going...and loving it!