Did Jesus feel like Jesus?

I know that’s an odd question, but you’ll know what I mean by the end of this post. I know since I’ve started writing again, my posts have focused on work-related things, but that’s what my brain is thinking about most of the time. That’s what owning your own business will do to you, no matter what kind of business it is. And so, this is yet another post about such things.

I mentioned that I’d started doing a lot of things for the business this year that I had previously not done. Well, one of those things was to recognize employee birthdays and get them a gift. It’s nothing exciting, but just a little something and a card.

My plan had been to give them their presents at the monthly meetings we’ve been having. Well, the first time I had a birthday to celebrate at this occasion there were actually two birthdays, and one of the ladies to celebrate was not able to make the meeting. I’m ashamed to admit that I actually considered not giving her the gift since she’d not been to the meeting. This is silly on many levels, and I didn’t really have a reason other than that I also liked the gift and would’ve been happy to have it for my own. I actually un-wrapped it, and put it where I would’ve wanted to put it if it were mine. But there were a couple of weeks between the celebration and her actual birthday, and about mid-way through that time, I picked it up from where I’d placed it, and re-wrapped it.

I didn’t really even think about it. I didn’t have a big revelation about being magnanimous or any conscious thought that I “should” give it to her after all. I just did it.

We have a pre-appointed drop off spot for items she may need for a job (keys, etc), and I put her present at the drop off point the day before her birthday.

This day happened to coincide with an incident of her not quite meeting one of my expectations. I try not to be a hard task-master, so I hadn’t “scolded” or anything, but she knew because one of our incentives is a higher pay if you meet excellence standards, which she did not get that week. She had asked me what the issue was, and I told her. As I said, I try not to be harsh about these things, but nobody likes to hear what they’ve done wrong, and apparently this bothered her more than I knew.

This discussion took place earlier in the day, and she did not go to the drop off spot until later. After she went to her box, I received this text from her: “You are incredible. Here I am feeling terrible about failing you and you fill the box with gifts. You remind me of Jesus. Thank you so much!”

(On an aside, she only says “fill the box with gifts” because I’d also had aprons printed for us and included one of those in there as well. This, in my opinion, harldly counts as a gift, but that is why she makes it sound like multiples.)

This text meant as much to me as, probably, the gifts meant to her, if not more! And I didn’t feel very much like Jesus. I mean, I almost didn’t give her the gift at all.

But I started thinking, I know that I don’t feel like Jesus. But did Jesus feel like Jesus? I imagine him always doing the right thing and always being happy about it, but didn’t he weep at the Garden of Gethsemane, but then obey the Father anyway?

I think, too many times, we are waiting for a feeling of being happy about doing something when what is really required of us is to do what the Father asks whether we feel like it or not.

Happies

So, I mentioned in my post “A Mission Statement with a Mission” that I’d included some sort of “Easter Eggs” in my client information sheets. These information sheets are distributed to our employees when they are cleaning a house, and include directions, etc. I decided I wanted a reminder in there that there was more to life than work, and so started including what I call “Happies.”

Happies are things such as:

  • Smile at a stranger today!
  • Be kind to someone who doesn’t deserve it!
  • Think about the last time you couldn’t stop laughing…and laugh again!

I know they are silly, and probably mostly looked over as such. However, they’ve had an unexpected effect. I wrote them in order to impact my employees. I wanted them to feel like humans, not rats in a rat-race, but I’m quite sure now that the person it’s impacted most is ME.

The effect it had is hardly measurable. Ever since the day I wrote all of these things (about three months ago) into my client sheets (of which there are around fifty), I have wanted to DO all fifty of the things I wrote. It’s had a major impact on the way I interact with friends, loved ones, and strangers alike. It’s influenced how I feel about the work I do, and how far I’m willing to go to help someone else even when it inconveniences me.

This is not to say that I have become perfect at this or that I am living with a Pollyanna mindset. I still have quite unsavory thoughts at times, and am NOT always happy to go the extra mile. But if I were to take a percentage of the times I responded negatively before I wrote these items out and the times I responded negatively after I wrote them, I can tell you I am certain the percentage would’ve dropped dramatically.

It gives me pause when I feel like letting someone have it when I think: “Forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it. You’re not doing it for them, you’re doing it for you. Forgiveness is the beginning of healing.” Or better yet, when I won’t let myself off the hook (which is more frequent): “Forgive yourself for that dumb thing you did that time. (You know the one.) We all have them.”

A few semi-cheesy maxims written one day for the purpose of employee morale reminded me who I wanted to be and what was important.

The Mission Statement with a Mission

So, one of the many things that’s changed since I was consistently writing here is that my husband and I have started a cleaning company. We’ve been doing it for over two years, and have six employees.

Early this year during our slow season, I read a lot of books about business. I met with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) from UGA. I wrote an employee handbook. I created a quality control program with incentives. I instituted monthly dinners with my employees. I re-vamped our client info sheets with some “Easter Eggs” I may discuss in another post. Needless to say, the slow season did not feel very slow to me. I did these things partially because I was feeling unmotivated and frustrated myself, and having had a lot of trouble retaining employees, I started thinking, well if I’m feeling un-motivated, how am I supposed to pass on any sort of vision along to my employees?

The business books and the SBDC rep all say you should have a mission statement, but some of the books I read (foremost Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappo’s) went further and talked about how your mission statement should reflect not only flat verbiage about what you physically do as a company, but, in essence, the feeling you want to impart to people as a company.

Now, let’s be real here, cleaning is not a noble profession. It doesn’t take skilled labor or schooling. But I’m of the opinion that all work is worth doing well: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men….” Colossians 3:23. I also believe that no work should be looked at as menial or demeaning. If you are doing something that needs to be done, then you are providing something that has value. I wanted to impart this to my employees – the feeling that cleaning houses, and doing it well really means something to the people we are doing it for – that doing it well actually affects the lives of our clients.

So, I asked my clients a series of questions to try to get a direction going for our Mission Statement. Here are the questions:

1) What do you feel are the most valuable characteristics for your cleaning company?
2) When your expectations for your cleaning company are met, how does it affect your life?
3) When your expectations for your cleaning company are met, how does it make you feel?
It was really interesting to me how much the answers I received overlapped and were reiterated time and time again. I was able to break the answers of each question down into essentially three main points…some of these points became part of the actual mission statement, and some became core values (which the businessy folks also told me I should have).
Now, many of our clients rent their homes out, and so we are not only giving them a pleasant experience, but we are enabling them to have a successful business, so the answers reflect that as well.
Based on my customer feedback, this is now the mission statement of Blue Ridge Cabin Cleaning:
To inspire happiness and gratefulness in our clients by performing a quality act of service each and every time, so that they can stop worrying and ENJOY LIFE!
The answers to the questions I posed to my clients showed that we could actually do this, just by doing a quality job for our clients!
Now compare it to the mission statement I’d come up with for us on my own before I completed the survey:

To be the premium quality cleaning service for Vacation Rental Homes and Vacation Homes in the Fannin County, GA service area, by providing consistent, excellent service each and every time, reflecting the specific needs of our clients and to embody, as a company, the intent of the “Golden Rule,” meaning we will clean each house as we would hope someone would clean our own.

Sounds rote, and meaningless, like words in a legal document, right? How different it makes one feel to be inspring happiness and gratefulness and to be a contributor to giving someone a less stressful life!

So, my encouragement here is to all of you doing little jobs that you think have no purpose. They do! When you do your job well, it is doing something that affects others even if it is only cleaning toilets.