Today I want to start by telling you a very interesting love story.
There is a Greek myth about a good-looking young man who made it his goal in life to find someone to love.
So he began a journey to find this person. But his search didn’t turn out the way you’d expect.
At first things seemed to be going well. He met the beautiful nymph Echo and he fell in love with her.
But the best part, for him, was that she fell in love with him too.
In fact, she was so in awe of his good looks that she repeated everything he said.
At first, he didn’t mind it. But after a while he couldn’t take it up anymore, so he ended up rejecting her and she faded away.
He didn’t give up on his quest for love though.
He kept looking for the perfect mate until one day he finally found the one he thought was the perfect person.
But there was a problem.
You see he fell in love with this person when he looked into the water and saw his own reflection.
He fell in love with his own reflection, not realizing it was just an image.
When he finally realized that it was his own reflection he was in such despair that he ended up taking his own life.
And then something surprising happened. At that spot on the riverbank where he died, grew a flower – a flower that is now named after this young man: Narcissus.
I wanted to start with this myth about Narcissus because it’s where we get the modern-day word: narcissism.
And everything I want to talk to you about today is the opposite of narcissism.
What Is Narcissism?
I’ve been reading a book this week called, The Epidemic of Narcissim: Living in the age of entitlement and it describes narcissism in this way, “…the central feature of narcissism is a very positive and inflated view of the self.”
Now don’t worry.
I’m not saying that you’re a narcissist.
But there’s a common problem we all have that has to do with narcissism.
You see our culture itself has become narcissistic.
We now live in a ME-oriented society.
It has caused us to begin to take on narcissistic qualities – and we don’t even realize it!
Think about what we’re taught in our current culture:
- We are taught that we need to look out for #1.
- We are taught that we must love ourselves if we are going to love others.
- We are taught that high self-esteem is the key to success.
- We are taught that success requires us to be self-promoters.
None of those things by themselves is necessarily a bad thing.
You need to look out for yourself, it’s important to have a good self image, etc. But these things have been taken to the extreme in our culture.
In The Epidemic of Narcissim the authors describe the problem in this way, “In fact, narcissism causes almost all of the things that Americans hoped high self-esteem would prevent, including aggression, materialism, lack of caring for others, and shallow values. In trying to build a society that celebrates high self-esteem, self expression and ‘loving yourself,
“Americans have inadvertently created more narcissists – and a culture that brings out the narcissistic behavior in all of us. This book chronicles American culture’s journey from self-admiration, which seemed so good, to the corrosive narcissism that threatens to infect us all.”
What does this have to do you with you as a business owner?
Narcissism Is Poison To Your Business
I’ve shared this quote with you before from business expert, Jay Abraham,“Most entrepreneurs fall in love with the wrong thing. They fall in love with their products and their business when they should be falling in love with their clients and customers.”
I know “love” is a strong word, and it even feels weird for me to type it out in this context, but what would happen if you did love your customers?
Jay Abraham talks about a key, fundamental mindset and attitude that he uses, which he calls “The Strategy of Preeminence”.
What is it?
It’s the mindset of constantly putting your client’s needs ahead of your own. It means that you always do what is in their best interest.
It means that you want to make their lives better through your product or service – OR any other product or service that’s best for them (even someone else’s).
Isn’t that the same mindset you have when you love someone?
If you begin to love your customers, you need to communicate your love, through your words and tone, so they know that you really care about help them.
When you not only communicate your love to your customers, but show your love to them through your actions, then something amazing will happen.
They’ll love you back! And that will change everything.
It will change how they respond to your words. It will change how they feel about you. And it will change how they act towards you.
The Rule of Reciprocation
Robert Cialdini talked about this idea of people responding back in the way you do to them.
He calls it “The Rule of Reciprocation”.
In his book “Psychology Of Influence”, he tells this story to explain it…
A few years ago a University Professor tried a little experiment. He sent Christmas cards to a sample of perfect strangers. Although he expected some reaction, the response he received was amazing – holiday cards addressed to him came pouring back from the people who had never met nor heard of him. The great majority of those who returned a card never inquired into the identity of the unknown professor. They received this holiday greeting card, click, and whirr, they automatically sent one in return.”
Cialdini says, “While small in scope, this study nicely shows the action of one of the most potent of the weapons of influence around us – the rule for reciprocation. The rule says that we should try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided for us.”
When we start treating people the way we want to be treated, we start getting treated the way we want to be treated!
It’s like magic!
Don’t be tempted to fall in love with your business.
It will only lead to sadness and death like it did for Narcissus.
Instead learn to love your customers.
It will not only bring you more profits, but something better.
It will give you true satisfaction and joy.
Photo by antkriz
- Story: Zappos.com And The Lesson On How To Treat Your Customers With Love (baybusinesshelp.com)