A recent shoe shine in Manhattan taught me a powerful lesson. It was a great example of Walt Disney’s quote – “If you are going to do something, do it right”.
When I am in Manhattan for a meeting I always treat myself to a shoe shine. I have been getting shoe shines as long as I have had shoes worth shining. I have gotten countless shoe shines in NYC, several airports around the country, hotels and even an occasional mall.
Recently I found myself in the leather chair of a very special shoe shine in NYC. The shoe shine’s name was Cecilia and she worked at Sole Man – a shoe repair shop in Penn Station.
You might be thinking a shoe shine is just a shoe shine. A shoe shine is more than just waxing and buffing shoes. When done right it can be a very enjoyable experience.
A great shoe shine is an experience.
It starts as you step up into the leather chair and place your shoes in the brass footrests. Next the shoe shine turns up the cuffs of your pants, hands you a newspaper and for five minutes you are the center of attention. It is all about you. You can get lost while listening to music, reading or enjoying a cup of coffee. There is the rhythmic buffing, shining and massaging of the wax into your shoes.
I can’t count how many shoe shines I have gotten over the years. None have compared to Cecilia. A typical shoe shines last about 5 minutes. Cecilia’s lasted almost 15 minutes. The other shoe shines would serve 2 or even 3 customers to her one. I was amazed!!! She kept buffing, shining and waxing, over and over again. I lost count as to how many coats of wax she applied. She was relentless and was smiling the whole time. She was so good I felt guilty.
They couldn’t shine her shoes!
I started to compare her methods and efforts to her co-workers. None came close. They couldn’t shine her shoes! They were complete amateurs. The 1st time she shined my shoes I was shocked as to how detailed she was. She actually pulled out a lighter to burn off a loose thread from my wingtip. Cecilia is someone who cares and has a genuine passion for shining shoes!
She is the only shoe shine I will go to. On my last visit to the city Cecilia was off. I didn’t even bother having someone else shine my shoes – I didn’t want to be disappointed.
Imagine for a moment the impact you could have on your work if you did your job the way Cecilia shined shoes? Just think of the amazing service and happy customers. What if you reminded yourself every day – If I am going to do something- anything, I should do it right.
That means doing each and every cold call, meeting and presentation right. No matter what the task, do it right!!!