The Mason Jar of Life

Written by Steve Mores

There are two sons of an alcoholic father. One struggles through life as a drunk. The other becomes a successful, ambitious businessman. When asked, “Why are you the way you are?” Both responded, “My father was an alcoholic.” It’s all about the decisions we make! How we deal with our past can either create constant depression or create wisdom through learning from it. It’s a choice!

In the animated movie The Lion King, although he may be completely crazy, Rafiki, the wise baboon, has many life lessons to teach Simba. In one scene where Rafiki is mentoring the adult Simba about how to deal with his past, Rafiki smacks Simba over the head with his cane. Simba reacts with “Ow! geez, what was that for?” and Rafiki replies, “It doesn’t matter, it’s in the past!” Comical, yes, and words to live by, absolutely! Rafiki continues: “The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.”

Lion King: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EF39O_OQm6M

How we deal with the past in the present will profoundly affect how we run our businesses and the culture we create at work and home. It’s a choice!

We can get very distracted these days with social media, politics, the pandemic, gossip, and just all the minutiae around us. This may cause our priorities to get skewed.  

In the 1994 film Forrest Gump, the lead character Forrest Gump (played by Tom Hanks) said, “My mom always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”… If life is a box of chocolates, would it always be sweet? The past will prove differently, and maybe it’s not what we take out of the box rather what we put into our life’s jar.  

 

To that point, here is what I believe is the perfect analogy:  

This is a very important life lesson that a philosophy teacher taught his students. He entered the class, cleared off his desk, and placed an empty mason jar on top of the desk. He proceeded to fill up the jar with golf balls until he could fit no more. He looked at the classroom and asked his students if they agreed that the jar was full. Every student agreed that the jar was full.

The teacher then picked up a box of small pebbles and poured them into the jar with the golf balls. The pebbles filled the space between the golf balls. He asked a second time if the jar was full. Once again, they agreed that it was full.

Now the teacher picked up a bag of sand and poured it into the mason jar. The sand filled all the empty space between the golf balls and pebbles. He asked a third time if the jar was full. The students agreed it was technically full.

Finally, the teacher pulled out two beer bottles from under his desk and poured one into the jar filling the space between the sand. Now the students began to laugh, wondering how far this was going.

The teacher waited until the laughter stopped. “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life,” he started. “The golf balls represent the important things. Your family, children, health, friends, and passions. If everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles represent the other things in life that matter, such as your job, house, and car. The sand is everything else—the small stuff. If you put the sand in first, there is no room for pebbles or golf balls.

The same goes for life. If you spend all of your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the most important things. Pay attention to the important things in your life. Enjoy time with family. Go to dinner with your spouse. Play games with your kids. There will ALWAYS be time to clean the house or take yourself shopping.

Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. The rest is just sand. You are dismissed.”

Before the students left, one shouted out. “You never mentioned what the beer represents!”

The professor smiled and said, “Well, I’m glad you asked. The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room to have a couple of beers with a friend.”

Teacher’s analogy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqGRnlXplx0

To expand upon this analogy, the golf balls represent the things that should be a top priority in life: Faith, Family, Friends, Health, and Freedom. The pebbles represent important things, like our business, careers, and possessions, which all support the top priorities in one way or another. And the sand represents all the other small stuff that occupies our time: social media, politics, gossip, divisiveness, and the like. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be informed or have an opinion, as long as we respect others. Filling our jar with sand first will not leave any room for the most important things in life.  

Dwelling on the mistakes of the past can lead to depression. Learning lessons from the past creates wisdom. How we deal with the past and prioritize our present will either create anxiety or hope for the future. It’s a choice!

 

Steve Mores is the Divisional President at Dynamic Air Quality Solutions.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area.

Rock & Roll Analogies

Written by Steve Mores

OK, let’s have some fun! After each song title, say the words “in my business,” and we can analogize from there. Sing along if you like!

Come Together (Beatles) in my business: Having a total team effort with everyone on the same page, working for the same cause, towards SMART goals that have been communicated and are understood by all.

Another Brick in the Wall (Pink Floyd) in my business: Albeit spinning the meaning, build your business brick by brick with a solid foundation to build upon. Each step of the way follows a plan with clearly stated processes and procedures that can be followed and duplicated.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Rolling Stones) in my business: Things will not always go your way or as expected. Stuff happens, obstacles get in the way, but we must adjust, adapt, and keep moving forward.

Born to Run (Bruce Springsteen) in my business: Standing still or just keeping pace with the competition is not a recipe for success. Being strategic, innovative, and creative with your products and services will pay dividends in the race for new business.

Take it Easy (Eagles) in my business: Although keeping a fast pace is good for business, you also need to take time for yourself and your family. That is our top priority and the main reason we are building our businesses in the first place. Take time away from business to relax and enjoy some family time and time for yourself.

Imagine (John Lennon) in my business: Dream big and imagine the amazing possibilities that a well-run business has to offer. Don’t let the naysayers get in your way. If you think you can, you can. Dream big.

Living in the Past (Jethro Tull) in my business: Humbly remembering your past successes is a good thing that will keep you motivated. Yet dwelling on the past mistakes without learning from them can be depressing. Celebrate your successes and become wise from your mistakes.

I Can See for Miles (The Who) in my business: Having an annual plan with goals, along with a 5, 10, 15, and 20-year plans, will give you a road map to success. Seek mentors, learn from other successes and failures, read business-related books, and apply the knowledge. Implement and execute daily with your focus on the future.

Turn it on Again (Genesis) in my business: As the saying goes, “If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Failure should never overtake you when your determination to succeed is stronger. Keep it turned on!

Don’t Bring me Down (ELO) in my business: Don’t let others bring you down by telling you it can’t be done or that the risk is too high. Calculated risks are good for business and are needed to grow. “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.”  – John F. Kennedy 

Dirty Deeds (AC/DC) in my business: There is no room in any business for unethical or shady behavior. There is plenty of room to always keep the best interest of our clients in mind while offering valid solutions to discovered challenges.  

I Want You to Want Me (Cheap Trick) in my business: This is what I like to call the “I gotta guy” syndrome. 

Your service should be so extraordinary that your clients want to refer you to family and friends without being prompted or compensated. “You need someone in the trades? Well, I gotta guy!”  

Thank You (Led Zeppelin) in my business: There is always time to be grateful for what our businesses have afforded us, our families, and our team members. Sincerely show gratitude and thanks to your clients for trusting you to service them and to your team members when they go above and beyond expectations. 

Into the Great Wide Open (Tom Petty) in my business: There are many opportunities out there, and you must seize the moments. Make it happen and have fun in the process. 

Taking Care of Business (BTO) in my business: I had to throw this one in here since it is so obvious. It addresses all the above!

Don’t Stop Believing (Journey) and Dream On (Aerosmith) in my business: No analogy needed. ROCK ON! 

 

Steve Mores is the Divisional President at Dynamic Air Quality Solutions.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area.

Three Tips to Increase Productivity and Sales During Shoulder Seasons

Written by Cydney Myers

In the field service industry, HVAC in particular, service providers are all too familiar with the shoulder season. In fact, many plan and track their sales cycles around these typically slow times of the year.

So, when exactly is the “shoulder season” in field service?

Taking a nod from the travel industry, the field service professionals define shoulder seasons as the times of the year when temperatures fall between 45 and 65 degrees – usually during spring and fall months. Because temperatures remain fairly moderate during these seasons, there isn’t as much need for heating and cooling systems – typically resulting in a decreased use, service, and ultimately business for field service teams.

While many service providers plan ahead, hoping to make up for slow service seasons during peak summer and winter months, there are several steps field service providers can take to increase sales and revenue during shoulder seasons.

 

Three Tips to Increase Business and Sales During Shoulder Seasons

1. Proactively identify and document opportunities for additional service

During busy seasons, incorporating additional steps into your technicians’ on-the-job work procedures can help your team identify and schedule follow-up services that can be performed during shoulder seasons. Focusing on scheduling and verifying these additional services while business is thriving can help your Sales teams increase revenue leading into months when demand is typically low.

 

Focus on selling and scheduling preventative maintenance plans

 It’s no secret that well-maintained equipment operates more smoothly and efficiently, lasts longer, and often requires fewer surprise repairs. In fact, research shows that regular HVAC maintenance can reduce the risk of costly repairs by 95%. During peak seasons, scheduling preventive maintenance visits with clients is a great way to generate and guarantee business and revenue for your team during shoulder seasons while also helping your customers avoid potentially costly repairs.

 

Streamline communication amongst technicians and Sales teams

 When performing a specific repair on a job, identifying, documenting, and efficiently communicating additional work opportunities with Sales may not always be top of mind for the on-site technician. To help ensure these new sales opportunities are logged and effectively executed, consider adding this as a required and regular practice for technicians on the job.

Modern technology solutions like the XOi Vision app can easily facilitate this process by allowing service providers to add a simple yes/no step to a job workflow to identify potential sales opportunities. For example, a step may be added to a given workflow in Vision that asks, “Is this unit a candidate for a refrigerant retrofit, conversion, or replacement?” If the technician answers yes, the app can automatically notify the Sales team, allowing them to plan to discuss this additional work during the shoulder season.

 

Visually document signs of equipment wear and tear

 Requiring technicians to capture job photos and videos is the best way to improve transparency with your office and customers – especially when working on complex equipment in hard-to-reach spaces. When capturing these photos and videos within Vision, we suggest tagging any specific signs of wear and tear that may be present on a specific unit. These photos and videos can be valuable sources of visual proof for Sales teams when verifying additional service opportunities.

For example, during seasons when we shift from cooling to heating, consider adding a workflow step to your common on-the-job procedures that asks the technician to photograph any signs of rust on heating elements and exchangers. These images can be helpful tools to Sales teams when recommending additional service during shoulder seasons.

 

2. Plan ahead to hire and train seasonal staff before peak seasons

In HVAC, business owners can guarantee that business and sales will pick up in the summer and winter seasons as dormant units kick back on, and customers increase usage. In response, many service owners plan to add on additional technicians to help support this increased demand. With new staff coming on during peak seasons, many service providers face the added challenge of recruiting, training and supporting increased headcounts.

To help your team grow and scale efficiently while ensuring a high level of quality and customer service, many service providers are turning to modern technology solutions that can help streamline and standardize on-the-job procedures and work documentation while also improving technician training support and troubleshooting.

 

3. Focus on customer service and market differentiation

Research has shown that if a company’s customer service is excellent, 78% of consumers will continue to do business with that company – even after a mistake. In retrospect, a reported 80% of consumers would consider switching to a company’s competitor following a bad service experience.

During peak seasons, finding ways to differentiate your service and improve your overall customer experience can help boost business during shoulder seasons. For service providers looking to increase trust and satisfaction amongst customers, we recommend utilizing technologies that can help customers better understand, view, and verify the services a technician may perform or recommend while also expediting the time it takes to complete a given job.

 

Cydney Myers is the Marketing Manager for XOi Technologies.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area.