Paddle or Die! Why Great Service is Critical to Business Success

rafting, whitewater, challenge

Everything I ever needed to know I learned on the river, or at least that is how it often seems. I am a River guide, not by trade, but certainly by avocation. For over 20 years the river has shared with me lessons on life, love, success, and failure. The river is a powerful force that teaches thoroughly, naturally, and often forcefully.

rafting, whitewater, challenge

Rivers have given me confidence, wisdom, and often humility. There is nothing like watching a river flip your boat and all your crew into the water to teach you how very small you are and how little control you have over ten foot waves.

People always seem more genuine, generous, and spontaneous while floating on a sunny day with 90 degree temperatures. Those same people complain a little less when it rains, or even snows, while spending a day on the river (After all, even a bad day on the river is better than most everything else), and everyone, myself included, seems to take in life’s lessons a little bit easier when they are given to us by an unforgiving, yet strangely serene river.

I have often used the lessons I learned on the river in my training and coaching of employees, co-workers, and clients. Complex topics become much easier when wrapped around a story, and I have lots of stories to tell from days and nights spent on the river.

One of the most important lessons that I have learned on the river can be summed up in three words…

Paddle or Die!

Strange words to live by, but I do choose to live by them. To paddle is to produce. Not just to work hard, and not just to have a goal, but to actually move the boat. As a rafter I know how much depends on moving into the right position. It is the difference between riding the waves and swimming the river.

We all have a story to tell. That story is who we are and what unique abilities set us apart from our peers and competitors. And if we can tell a story that ties into who we are and how we do business, others will relate to us in ways we never thought possible. What Story are you telling? Does it resonate within you and tell others about you, your passions, and your unique abilities?

My story begins with a river, and speaks to the power of producing, delivering on a promise, and motivating those around you with those same values. I believe in service and creating outstanding customer service experiences. It inspires me to try to do a little better every day.

Find your story, and then tell it to everyone you meet! I believe you will find it a powerful force for change.