What’s in Front of You

I call this the Bookstore Story, and it’s a story that I’ve told to my employees, my family, my friends, and even myself at times. It’s taught me some valuable lessons, and I hope it teaches you something.

When I was engaged to my wife, I worked as a cashier in a university bookstore. Most of the time, the store wasn’t very busy. I had time to walk the store, help people find what they were looking for, and make sure that our customers were having a good experience. I prided myself on being a “man of the people,” making sure to take the time to chat with each customer briefly as I checked them out. But as the beginning of each semester came around, there were about two weeks of madness in the bookstore.

These weeks were long and frustrating. I still tried to focus on the individuals I was working with, but it was so easy, especially when something went wrong, to get overwhelmed by the line of people out the door who had been waiting for hours just to buy their textbooks.

It was one day during those really busy weeks, when I remember my manager said something that has stuck with me ever since.

“I want you to remember something. When you’re working at that cash register, there is no one else in the world except that customer. You don’t worry about the line, or the person behind them rolling their eyes. You focus on the person in front of you, and make sure that they have a good experience.”

That struck me, and I have reflected on that lesson ever since. Your job is to focus on the here and now, on the person you’re working with at this moment. And when that’s done, move on to the next thing. At the end of the day, you still might not be done with everything, and that’s okay. Do your job now, and do it well. There’s a lesson here for all of us.

We have had several years now of unprecedented volume in the appraisal world.  It is crazy at times.  It can be easy to slip into the mode of overwhelm.  Just remember, during these busy times, to focus on the appraisal, quote, or phone call in front of you.  That is all that matters in the world at that moment.  When you are done, move on to the next.  Hang in there, everybody!


For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: 

5 thoughts on “What’s in Front of You”

  1. Pingback: What’s in Front of You - Appraisal Buzz

  2. I agree totally! This is a good frame of thought for any task in front of you. I have been blessed to be lucky enough to wear a red suit and hat and visit many, many people in the 2.5 months before Christmas. Every Child or Adult who comes up to me has my whole attention even though the lines for some of my events are rather large and wait times at two of the events should require lodging (okay, maybe not quite that long). This season I was able to see so many comments about the lines and wait times but it was always followed up with how they felt when speaking with me. Everyone stated that when interacting with me, they felt they had the full attention (which they did). All of this is great but what about the person giving all this attention for 6-8 hours or even some of the shorter visits of a couple of hours? For me, this has helped me remain focused on my task of providing the best visit I can and it really helps making it all feel less rushed. Since my focus is on the people in front of me, I do not get overwhelmed by the huge line of people or look at how slow the clock is moving. This has lowered my stress and kept the distractions around me from weighing me down. Keep on Keeping on! @SantaClausIN (Yeah a shameless plug. LOL)

  3. Great story and truth. I can seriously relate to the College Bookstore Rush weeks. I used to work for my aunt and uncle’s Colorado School of Mines bookstore in my later teens and the Rush weeks were craziness! One person at a time, one thing at a time, one day at a time, sweet Jesus.

  4. Spot on; distractions often deter us from seeing that being in the moment with the individual we’re engaged with is part of our life experience. We don’t want to miss it, life is too short and you don’t want miss one second. Thanks Dustin.

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