This summer while traveling to Castle Rock, CO, and Tyler, TX, my wife and daughter introduced me to Chick Fil-A, a restaurant chain that specializes in chicken sandwiches and such. Not only do they serve good food, but they are also known for providing great service. My daughter told me that one thing I’d hear from Chick Fil-A employees after I say “thank you” is “It’s my pleasure.” The first Chick Fil-A restaurant I went into, I wanted to put Chick Fil-A to the test. As I watched how the Chick Fil-A employees interacted with their guests, I found a culture of honoring others through acts of service and words that said, “It’s my pleasure.” They really seemed conscious of serving with their guests’ pleasure in mind. And my guess is that I’m sure it didn’t happen overnight, but was a deliberate practice over time. I’m sure that those managing taught, modeled, and encouraged the culture of honoring others. And for every employee, practicing that and using the words “It’s my pleasure,” reinforced for them a habit of mind and heart. Because serving isn’t always easy.
And so the past two weeks, one thing I’ve really been focusing on is to serve others as a pleasure – not because it is necessarily gratifying for me (although it usually is), but because I want to show honor to others through acts of service. It’s a core value for me. You might have heard me recently say, “It’s my pleasure.” And it has been. When I practice that habit of mind, it helps me remember why I’m doing what I’m doing. Because there are those times when we have to deal with the demands/expectations of others and our own disappointments and failures. A natural response is to want to complain, get angry, and perhaps withdraw from others or situations when things don’t go well or others mistreat us. It can put a strain on our commitment to learn and serve with others.
We all know that there are always going to be situations when we are teaching, learning, serving, or leading, things are going to go awry. And people are going to disappoint us in one way or the other. All of us are going have a variety of reactions, some which are not very pleasant. Let’s face it, when we’re under pressure, it’s natural to want to be selfish and put our own needs first. When I’m feeling like others are unappreciative or demanding, it seems easy to want to complain or get angry and feel justified. Instead, I’m hoping this habit of mind will help respond differently. I don’t want to allow my circumstances to take over my thinking and behavior. So it means being deliberate about thinking about serving well and looking past circumstances. And it makes me hopeful that I can influence the atmosphere and culture around me, and the quality of my relationships. If we join together in this habit of mind (and heart), we can all say, “It’s my pleasure,” in word and deed, and feel good knowing we’re giving honor to others and holding to one thing we value most – relationships.
It’s my Pleasure….to learn and serve with you!