About two weeks ago I bought a new shaver. Lets take a deeper look at this seemingly somewhat trivial experience of acquiring a new machine to groom my face to see what we can learn about life and leadership from it.
First I went through several sites online reading through reviews of different shavers, both from so called experts and everyday users. I like evaluating things before I make a decision, I like the fact that today's Internet has allowed us to share reviews with each other in a much more rapid way.
Life lesson: Evaluate by getting the opinion and views of others who have done it previously before you get yourself into a new kind of endeavour.
Right in the border land where analysis paralysis was about to strike I decide it was time to visit some stores. I planned ahead by finding the stores that had the shavers I was deciding between in stock and then finding ones that were close to each other so I did not have to spend unneccesary time, money and gas driving between different stores.
Life lesson: Plan ahead while staying away from overanalyzing. If you do not plan ahead on occassion you might waste valuable resources such as time, energy and trust. If you overanalyze you will spend your life up on a shelf while life is happening beneath your feet.
Visiting the stores I asked to feel two of the shavers, one in each stores, in my hands. They were a bit different, but one just simply felt better in my hand. I was convinced both were a good enough buy, but now it was just a matter of deciding which one would work the best for me. I went with the gut feeling of the one that felt best in my hand, putting reason aside for a while.
Life lesson: After you gather and process your information, let all that go and trust that inner feeling or inner voice when making the decision.
Said and done, I brought the shaver home and gave it a first run at my 3-day scruff. It was nice and quiet, but I did not have the great shaving experience with it that it anticipated. I even told my wife that I might have made the wrong decision but that I would stick with it a few days so I gave the new shaver another chance (as it turns out I was actually giving myself a second chance).
Life lesson: Someone was once told med there word respect comes from 're' which means again and 'spect' which has to do with vision/seeing, like spectrum. So basically respecting someone is about being willing to look again, past the first impression.
Now I have shaved several times with the new shaver. I even took the time to read the instruction booklet after that first use and learned for one that it was better to do circular motions with the shaver than straight ones. This new knowledge coupled with getting to know the shaver and how it needed to be handled against different parts of my face, all of a sudden made me feel like these was the greatest shaver ever. Quite, gentle to the skin and giving a great shave.
Life lesson: Sometimes we are quick to judge something or someone as below our expectations, not producing the desired results. Sometimes their performance is largely down to us as leaders not being able to create the optimal circumstances for their true potential to emerge.