The Extra Mile Just Ahead Green Road Sign Over Dramatic Clouds and Sky.We all have this extra unseen value if we are any level of greatness in our chosen profession.  The main industries that get penalized for this unseen value are primarily service related. This more often than not value we bring remains unseen or sadly unacknowledged and comes in the way of the ‘extra’ things we do to stand out.

Granted most of us do not do it for the acknowledgement but because we enjoy what we do and want to be a value. Unseen value is like a dentist spending a little extra time making sure the set of teeth they are working on shines a little brighter, the late evenings a lawyer spends making sure all the ‘I’s and ‘T’s are taken care of, the photographer that spends hours behind the computer touching up a family portrait before the revealing, the rehearsal time a speaker puts in so they ‘bring it’ during their seminar, the missed lunch because a clients needs were given late, the ongoing study the best professionals do in order to make sure they are always up to date, the lengthy research time put in to deliver the best, the waiter that remembers you prefer lemon on the side, the hair stylists that provides a scalp massage at no extra charge, businesses that spotlight their customers, and even the mints you enjoyed in the lobby.

Think: Have you ever asked an accountant an accounting question outside of a paid visit? Have you ever called your attorney ‘friend’ and asked their advice? Or had a photographer at an event you hosted that they were a guest take a couple photos because you know they are talented? Have you ever asked a dance instructor at an event to teach you a few steps? (Just because we are not in an office does not give rights to assume services are now free).

customer-serviceI am not saying do not ask – I enjoy trading value or helping with a need. Difference is I pay it forward and at the same time I ask I am offering something in return. This is called being a true professional acknowledging value and not taking advantage.  There is an absence in professional training that would give people the relationship and ethical training several need because it does not always come naturally.  I know wonderful people in the professional world that unintentionally abuse relationships they have because they were just never taught this important element of business. 

The other day we had a professional connection call up and start the conversation with flattery, “I called you cause I know you are the queen of connections”. Why that is kind of you I say, how is it going in your world today? (now understand this is a professional question that does not imply – what can I give you for free?) They go on to say “I have an event we are putting on I am going to send it to you to share with your connections. You are so great at this! I will send you the information shortly”. Asking a marketing advertising agency to promote anything ‘as a favor’ is like walking up to a dentist in the supermarket and saying, “My tooth hurts take a peek and if needed pull it as you are the best!” No appointment, no thought to pay for services…

Now do not misunderstand I am not saying you need to always charge for all services seen or unseen.  What I am saying is if asking for or receiving acknowledge these services and do not abuse them or take them for granted.   

Sometimes we see or feel these ‘unseen’ values and keep moving forward without acknowledging, sometimes we do not see them but enjoy the benefits they bring. I challenge you today to open your eyes to the world around you.  If you are providing the ‘unseen’ values I commend you it would be my pleasure to hear about those extra things you do professionally.  If you are on the receiving end of a service I challenge you to take a closer look at what you receive and if you see or feel a benefit of a professional going the extra mile to be great acknowledge them in some way.Flowers

Heading to the college to participate in a seminar I was rushing past the information booth and the attendee (not required to acknowledge unless needed) stated above the clacking of my heels, “You look very lovely today, that blue is a great color on you. Have a pleasant day”. I replied with a thank you and what I hoped was a sincere bright smile, but it was more out of automation as I was in a hurry to get to the seminar. The following day I picked up a bouquet of flowers and asked my daughter (home school) as I pulled around the front of the college to run in hand them to the attendee and simply state, “You make a difference, hope you have a pleasant day”.  

smile quoteIt starts here, with you. Let us together make a positive change in our world! You can start by simply acknowledging the unseen brilliant professionals, stop what you are doing and give a five star review to your favorite businesses, move up to remembering when you ask without desire or ability to pay offer a value in return, kindness, respect and appreciation of another persons hard earned talents and extra benefits given is what can make a grey day turn brilliantly blue!


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