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Be Nice

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I just got a Facebook post from a friend who helped save a man whose heart had failed. She and her husband were in a movie theater when she and her husband saw the man's wife struggling - almost holding him up - to get him down the stairs. They ran over to help and got the man out to the lobby. A woman there called 911. The paramedics arrived and the man was okay and was going to be fine.

What really got my friends was that no one else in the theater made a move to help, or even appeared to notice. Neither did the people on the benches they sat the man down on. What I want to focus on is those people, and not in the way you probably think. I'm not going to tell you how disgusting it is that no one else helped. I think it is, but that's not my point today.

I don't think all those spectators had no concern for this man in trouble. I don't think they just said, "Well, it's no one I know..." When most people see a crisis, they freeze. They're scared. They don't know what to do, even if it may seem obvious to you. So, they either do nothing or get themselves out of the way. Does it bother me when I see this kind of behavior. Absolutely! But you can't make people not be scared of what they are scared of. You can't make them grow. They are who they are, and that's all they can be.

If you're one of those people who would have jumped up to help, thank you! I congratulate you. But how about, instead of harping on how awful those other people are, you give thanks for being who you are?

Now…how about doing that in business? How about helping your "competitors" when they need it? I'm not saying you should give them your customers or any proprietary information. But treat them the way would want them to treat you.

When I worked in the restaurant district, I found out very quickly that the restaurants would do that. If one was out of a particular bottle of wine and the one down the street had plenty of them, they'd give them one. Sometimes the recipient would pay for it, some restaurants just traded back and forth with each other.

I'll tell you something else. A lot of the restaurants I worked with were Italian. More than once, I saw a maitre de say, "If that's what you're looking for, you might do better at ________ down the street." They were drawing from the same customer pool. But they knew there was enough business for everyone (surprisingly, twelve Italian restaurants within eight square blocks all did well.).

Integrity. There is no substitute for it.

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