“Welcome to Bali,” she said as I bowed my head and received a lei made of plumeria flowers as we checked in that Four Seasons resort. And with that, last Monday, began a week of experiential learning on this amazingly beautiful and indescribably complex island.
This trip had been “on the books” since last summer. That’s when a client called to inquire about my availability to speak to “a group of senior, successful sales managers” who would be staying for a week at the Four Seasons at Jimbaran Bay, Bali. Well, with more than 8 months notice, the answer was of course yes! The development work began. I must admit that while I was planning, writing and rehearsing the curriculum for the one-day event, I had no idea that while I was here at the Four Seasons that I would learn as much as I did.
If you’re on a path to make your best even a little bit better, there are many things you could do…differently. Amazingly – and fortunately – here are 3 realizations that I had (or, maybe re-learned) while I was in Bali. During the past 7 days, the staff, the location, and the culture all taught me how I could bring things up a level or two.
Are you ready?
#1. Anticipate their needs. If you’re in the service industry. If you’re a manager. If you’re a community leader… Of, essentially if you’re at all involved in your world (!!!) I’ll challenge you to walk out in it and ask yourself, “How can I help them today to be at their best?” Of course this is a big question; it demands you put yourself second.
This is something I saw first-hand over and over again while I was here at the Four Seasons. It feels as if the staff here has a single task: to make it easy for us guests to do whatever it is we seemed to want to do…better.
Imagine my surprise when we checked in, and were welcomed with refrigerated hand-towels, cooled and sprayed with mint water. I mean, c’mon, really? It was incredible. Or, when we arrived at the pool on our third day here (the first day was a work day, the second a recovery day, the 3rd through 8th days were relaxing and working days…more on that later) and as we were about to sit down one of the staff members approached me, reached out his hand and said, “Welcome to the Four Seasons pool. May I clean your sunglasses?”
All I could do was nod my head up and down. (And, then my mind went crazy with thoughts… What if the flight attendant asked to clean my computer monitor. What if the barista asked to sit with my computer while I stepped away for a moment. What if… What can you imagine doing for the people around you that would make it easier for them to do what they’re about to do, better?)
#2. Leave things clean(er). Ok, so pretty much anywhere you look, there is a flowering tree. And, pretty much any time of the day there is a slight breeze. So, pretty much all day long there are plumeria flowers on the ground. Yes, everywhere. So, every morning that I’ve been here I’ve adopted a routine (tomorrow will be day 8, as long as my body cooperates). I wake up around 4am. I kiss Jodi hello (she immediately turns over and goes back to sleep!) and then I head outside. There, in the small yard of our private villa is a “plunge pool.” It’s about 3 meters by 2 meters big, and there is a fountain dropping a continual stream of water in… And, that is where you’ll find me from about 4:15am until about 4:45am…
So, every morning, at about 4:30 or so, I can see over my fence there is a staff member walking up and down the pathway, picking up individual plumeria flowers. One by one. So, the second morning I was here, I did a quick check. And, it turns out that they do use some of them in certain arrangements. Mostly, the two young girls who are sometimes in front of the lobby make small flower arrangements for arriving guests.
#3. Celebrate the ordinary. The first day of our trip was the day I presented a 4 hour workshop on executive presence and situational leadership. Of course, in just 4 hours I could just touch on some of the topics that I’ve written and studied about over the past two decades, so I decided to focus in on three things I wanted to make sure to present effectively and efficiently. At the conclusion of that presentation, Jodi and I were invited to participate in a “volunteering event” at a local school for deaf children.
On the bus ride from the Four Seasons to the school, I found myself reflecting on the “everyday-ness” that was around me. Families commuting through town, stores open with merchandise showing to the passersby on the street, an occasional ambulance or police car traveling one direction or the other. The more I thought about it, I realized that everyone around us was doing their day. In that moment, I let go of the feeling of “uniqueness” or “specialness,” and simply stepped in to being a part of the process of a day. We arrived at the school, and over the next hour or so were given a treat that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
I promise you, Jodi and I know we are blessed, we are fortunate, and we work really, really hard for all that we are given to take care of; that’s why we do what we do. Along the way, I’m so happy that we are also handed the experiences that we can use to look at the world anew, to see what else we can see, and learn from any experience, any time, any where.
Oh, if you’d like to see what Jodi learned over the past few days of being here on Bali, just click here…