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I’m Not a Jerk…Really – “Jeff 2.0”

There are times I can be a jerk. Yes, it’s true. I can be impatient, insensitive, judgmental, and selfish. My family will concur.

Times are changing though. In recent writings, I’ve been referring to “Jeff 2.0” Whether it’s age, maturity, spiritual awakening, or something unknown, I’m different. Those are close to me prefer Jeff 2.0. And why not? A 2.0 upgrade is usually better than 1.0.

2.0 impacts my personal and professional life. I think differently. 2.0 talks less, and listens more. Cares more and gives more. My 2.0 goal is to make a difference in what’s going on around me.

In our business and personal lives, it’s VERY noisy. Social media has become a megaphone for many as we all now have a voice. That can be good, but it also can be hurtful and destructive in many ways. The 2020 election season will be insane! But here’s a thought; no one’s mind will be changed from online battles.

Time is a valuable asset. To coin a thought from Seth Godin, at this stage of my life I want to do work that matters. My faith and values drive me, and sometimes that can make me unusual in today’s world. Here are a few real-world examples. I share these, not to build myself up, but to illustrate the impact simple things can have.

At our local Jazz and Blues Festival, I took some time with one of the vendors in their booth. This was an insurance agent that I had known for many years in the business community. Never was he the “insurance guy” trying to sell me stuff. He is a nice guy in the insurance business that happens to be in great shape, and I always kid him about that.

They were doing a drawing for a gas card and asked me to fill out a ticket to enter. Of course, this is a useful lead generating tool for them, but I was OK with that. On the table was a bag of Staples brand stick pens. When I was filling out the ticket, the ballpoint in the inexpensive pen was sticking, making it challenging to write on the drawing ticket. I’m not neurotic about pens, but I do think they should write without issue.

Thinking it through, I told him that I would be remiss if I didn’t suggest he contact a local promo products Chamber of Commerce member and ask them to sell him some decent pens. I explained that a good pen will offer a more pleasurable writing experience and enable him to tell his brand story. As basic as a pen is, it’s a simple way to make a more positive impact than a Staples brand pen that does nothing for him.

He was a bit puzzled. “Don’t you do that?” he asked. I explained that I do, but he should support a fellow Chamber member. I just wanted to give him this marketing suggestion, expecting nothing in return. My business has changed and these days, this is not the type of business I pursue. A Chamber member would be happy to take this order. He added that he needed some other things that I could help him with, and with that being the case I let him know I would.

Going a step further, before leaving the Festival, I told him that in the “remote” chance I won, they could give the gas card to someone who would be more blessed by it. Not that I wouldn’t appreciate it, I just felt there was the opportunity to have a more significant impact here. That money could make someone’s day, and that would be a blessing for them.

How this all went down is not “normal” business, whatever normal may be. I encouraged him to buy from another local company and allowed someone else to benefit from their drawing. Giving away the gas card money that I wasn’t going to win anyway just seemed like the right thing to do. It showed me as a caring person. (See?…I’m not a jerk!) This is the type of thing that makes Jeff 2.0 different.

On a recent trip to Nashville, I found myself with a different mindset through the challenges of travel. At the airport, while waiting in a line to get to the airline counter, I let a woman with a couple of children go ahead of me. It was no big deal, really. I wasn’t going anywhere, but she was appreciative of the gesture.

While I’ve done this for years, part of 2.0 is giving away branded products at hotels and when I rent a car. Inevitably, the gift is appreciated and has led to an upgrade of some type. This goes along with being friendly and when possible, calling people by their name.

At the Hilton Home 2 Suites in Franklin, TN, we arrived early. Even though the hotel was full from a sports tournament, and it would be a few hours till a room would be available. Keith at the front desk was very appreciative of the backscratcher we gave him. That, plus my friendly demeanor, seemingly motivated Keith to call housekeeping to get a room for us quickly. Also, he let us know it was one of their nicer rooms.

We spent one night in the Downtown Nashville area. At the Clarion Hotel, Teri also loved the backscratcher and also seemed to appreciate me simply being nice. She asked if we had a problem with heights, and I said no. That was good because she chose to put us in a larger room with a city view, which was an upgrade.

A nicer rental car and hotel rooms came with just a smile and a backscratcher. We had a few of the Longhorn Backscratchers left over from Symbio Promotions support of our SuccessFit4Life! program and people love them.

I would be remiss in my Nashville reporting if I didn’t mention how considerate drivers are. Living in a suburb of Los Angeles, we are accustomed to people speeding up to not allow you to change lanes when you put your turn signal on. In Tennessee, people seem to welcome the opportunity to let you in. I’m trying to carry this spirit into my California driving, which is a bit of a challenge, but Jeff 2.0 is working on it.

The impact of 2.0 is evident everywhere in my life. The bottom line is that we all have the opportunity to make the world a better place. I realize that may sound a bit hokey to some, but it’s true. Think about it.

Keyboard drop.

© 2019 Jeff Solomon, MAS


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