Growing up in a family of five boys and three girls was common in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and many of you probably had brothers like I did. Smart, but not always as smart as they thought they were. I include myself in this mix. Also, I might add, that I was not always so smart but was always a smart aleck.
My brother Paul, seven years my junior, was quite the know-it-all as a kid. He always had an opinion and always believed it was the only opinion worth considering. Pretty much the whole family would chant at the dinner table on any given night, “You tell ‘em Paul. You know it all.” To which he would smile and say, “I know I do.”
Having been around contractors my entire life is a lot like growing up in a big family. We all “know it all,” don’t we? Why, oh why, can’t we live our lives knowing at the beginning what we finally learn at the end? If I could go back 20, 30, 40, 50 years, knowing what I do now I’d, well, I don’t really know what I’d do. Would I be an electrician, then a contractor, then start a plumbing company, then an HVAC company? I don’t know.
Lessons from the Hare
It reminds me of the story of the tortoise and the hare, which is one of the better known of Aesop’s Fables. The rabbit really had the edge, didn’t he? He had the speed, he had the powerful hind legs, and he was smart and a quick thinker. Kind of like you and me, right? We have it all: the looks, the strength, the brains, and that’s why we became service technicians and contractors, right?
Maybe you are a visionary who really believes that out-of-the-box thinking can bring you to the end game sooner.
Well, the rabbit could have easily won the race, but he was too clever for his own good and too clever for change. The change was simply to run the race according to the rules of track and field competition: start, run, finish. But, in his own mind, he was so much smarter and so much faster than the turtle that he laughed and joked and even took a nap. Well, how many of us fell into that trap: thinking that we didn’t need to pay attention to our competitors who were simply showing up and working every day like they were supposed to?
Room to Dream
But there is a place for the dreamer, isn’t there? Maybe you are a visionary who really believes that out-of-the-box thinking can bring you to the end game sooner. Surely there is a better way. But what often happens is that we think we know it all, like my brother Paul, and we don’t listen to those around us. Usually, a combination of our wild ideas and other peoples’ normal ideas mixed together with a very healthy dose of good old common sense would be all we need to create a winning team. But sometimes we are too clever for change, too smart to listen to someone who has found a way to win—a way to make this business a whole lot easier to run with a whole lot less stress. Show me someone like that, and I’m ready to listen.
Why did the bunny build herself a new house? Because she was fed up with the hole thing (pun intended). Maybe it’s time to take another listen to that person in your life trying to tell you about something new they created. They might just be onto something. And I should admit that sometimes my brother Paul does know it all.
Pricing enthusiast Rodney Koop is the founder and CEO of The New Flat Rate, a home service menu-selling system designed to put profit directly into the hands of plumbing, electrical, and HVAC contractors.