I personally love stories. When you get right down to it, I think to share your story is the best way to impart a moral or some knowledge on to someone in a meaningful, clear, and entertaining way. It works even better if your story is based off of something that actually happened, and can teach a mindset that will be instantly valuable to the listener. I think this is one of those stories that should be told to all entrepreneurs or potential business owners and ranks right up there with the story of “Stone Soup” (if you haven’t heard that one don’t worry, I’ll write another post about that one… or if you’re a do it yourself type, you could look it up in the google 😉 ) … So anyways, on with the story.
One day there was a CEO of a big company, and this CEO (we’ll call him Bob) loved to work in his office. It was a beautiful spacious office, twenty stories up, with a window that spanned an entire wall overlooking a bustling and lively city that was matched in majesty only by the mountains that laid right at it’s outskirts. To Bob, this was his happy place, a place he could go to and escape the noise of his company and actually sit and get some work done. To Bob, there was nowhere more relaxing.
That was until one afternoon, as he was sitting in his chair surrounded by a peaceful quiet, that he heard a small tapping sound. He noticed it but didn’t acknowledge it at first, not being a big enough deal to be worth notice, but as time went on, he kept hearing this tapping, over and over again, sometimes followed by a large thumping sound coming from behind his window. Finally he couldn’t take it any more, he shuffled away from his desk, got out of his chair, and upon a quick glance towards his window he saw the object of his frustration, gleaming up at him as to yell “what up!” and then tapping again on the outside of the window. A pigeon. A small, ordinary, dumb, pigeon.
Now, Bob was a problem solver, he had raised his company from nothing to an expansive empire, mostly by himself. He was not about to allow this small winged rodent to ruin the tranquility that he had build up around him, and with a almost demon like scary face, and a quick jolt, he rushed towards the window in an attempt to frighten the bird away from his view.
Nothing… didn’t work, In fact, not only did it not work, but the pigeon pecked at the glass a mere moment after this “frightening” display, almost as an act of willful defiance and mockery at Bob’s attempt to dissuade happy pecking on it’s fancy new perch.
Not to be dissuaded by this minor failure, CEO Bob though that if a scary face wasn’t enough, maybe a show of force was in order, an example of what may await the bird if he were not to fly away and roost somewhere else. He quickly ran to his closet and grabbed a small broom. running back towards the window he smacked it, right where the bird was sitting, and in an instant the bird flew away! Bursting with pride at his problem solving abilities, Bob smiled at his reflection in the window and with a bit of positive self talk to guide his way, he sat back comfortably in his chair to resume his work.
As you can imagine, that lasted about 3 minutes…
With a glorious thunk, the inevitable return of the winged beast rung in like the fireworks bringing in the new year. With a quick jolt to turn his seat around, Bob looked with anger and sadness at the return of what now he considered his mortal nemesis, his arch enemy. And the pigeon, the pigeon looked back at him and without batting an eye proceeded to announce with a single peck what Bob was convinced was the simple thought, “Bring it.”
It was at this point that our friend Bob had decided it was time to get tactical, so like any self starter, he went off to browse the interwebs for tutorials, how to’s.. any information he could get that would help rid him of his very persistent pigeon problem. He decided that he didn’t want to harm the pigeon, in his eyes this pigeon had earn the respect of a fellow warrior, engaged in an honorable battle for the peace and serenity that the undisturbed view from that window had promised. After spending a bit of time researching, Bob had found a cage trap that would allow him to capture his winged opponent unharmed, so that he could later let him free in another, very far away location.
so with his credit card at the ready Bob went out to purchase his trap, and the finest bird feed he could find to persuade the bird into it’s new temporary home. And after a small bit of set up, the trap was on the ledge and Bob eagerly awaited the results.
And he waited… and waited……………..
For some unknown reason, the bird just wasn’t falling for it, I mean, the bird is there, he’s looking at the seed, but the bird just isn’t interested. There is NO WAY, Bob thought, that this stupid bird can know what this trap is. After so much trial and frustration, Bob finally decided that it was time to call in an expert, and with that he looked up the best pest removal service he could find. They weren’t cheap either, when you put the consult, rush service and removal fee, the total for this guy to come out was $2,000!!!
But Bob was not dissuaded, the company had a solid 5 star rating, and if they were confident enough to charge that much, they MUST be good. So Bob placed the call and within 1 hour, the pest guy was knocking at his office door.
There he stood in the office door, the savior that Bob was praying for, a lanky looking guy in overalls, with a large tattoo on his arm that looked like a musical note getting in a fight with the the terminator. His name was Tim. “Tim my man”, Bob rejoiced, “here’s my problem…” and with the intensity and emotion of Oprah giving away a free car, he explained his dilemma to his new best friend. He pointed to the step on the window ledge, acted out the entire first encounter in exacting detail, even the bird got into it! Seeming to peck at the window in perfect time to help illustrate Bob’s story.
After the full account was told, and the man from the pest service stood and thought for a second, Tim went over to the window and looked at the bird, then at the trap set up with expensive bird feed and finally raising his head to admire the view looking over the city. “I’ll be back in a second, I gotta get something from my van”, Tim said to CEO Bob, and with that, lazily walked out the door.
About five minutes would pass before Tim would come back into the office, and during that time Bob would pace back and forth, dreaming up what crazy invention the man would walk back in with to solve his problem and defeat his most cunning of feathery adversaries. Maybe it’s a laser! he imagined, or a big robotic arm… possibly even a small helicopter in which to chase the bird into the cage. In what seemed like forever, Finally Tim came back in the office, not with a robot, or a laser or a drone… in fact not with anything Bob thought. This guy had gone to his van, waltzed lazily back in the office eating a pack of french fries… He had gone to his van, Bob thought, because he wanted a snack! What is this!
Too confused and insulted to even speak, Bob just stood there in disbelief as Tim, the man who he had paid extra for rush service, walked quietly towards the window, and just stood there… eating his french fries. After a few seconds Bob, needing to break the silence and hoping to get a glimmer into the mind of this ratty guy who he was paying to spill salt on his hardwood floors, managed to mutter out “Would you like some ketchup?” Tim looked back at him with a smile and politely declined and then in a seamless motion Tim turned around, opened the window and with little effort, put a single french fry into the trap.
After closing the window and taking a step back, Tim once again, started munching on his french fries, seemingly oblivious to Bob, who’s jaw at this point had dropped half way to the floor. And they just stood there, and waited.
Then, after maybe only a minute, there he was, the bird… That pigeon came back and landed right next to the trap. this time though he wasn’t pecking at the window, he didn’t thunk into it on his landing… no, he was sitting on his perch looking intently at the french fry in the trap, and with barely a moments hesitation, the bird that had cause Bob so much anxiety, the winged demon that Bob had admired as a true warrior of window freedom, that stupid bird… was caught! And he was tricked by a side menu item of a Happy Meal!
At this point Tim had begun opening the window and grabbing the cage trap, as Tim put the cage down on the floor for a moment to fill out some paperwork, Bob approached it wanting to stare into the eyes of his enemy once last time as to affirm his dominance as the superior species. Standing up a moment later to thank Tim he was handed the bill the job. $2,000.
Looking up starkly at Tim, CEO Bob asked how he could still charge so much for such an easy fix. “I could have done that!” Bob exclaimed, “All you did was come in and put a french fry in the cage that I set up… I’m paying $2,000 for a french fry?!”
Still smiling Tim looked back at the confused CEO and and exhaled “You sure could have, but you didn’t hire me because you weren’t capable of getting rid of our friend here, you hired me because you didn’t know how.”
With that thought buzzing around in Bob’s head for a moment, he looked up at Tim, smiled, thanked him, and handed him his check. And with Tim… and The Pigeon now away from his office, he sat back into his chair, breathed in deeply while smiling out his window, and peacefully went back to work.
Funny, isn’t it. He was so close, he had set up all he needed to successfully solve his problem, but was just missing that one final bit that makes it all work, and then this guy comes in, with the simplest solution.
I think there are a ton of good lessons about business that you can gleam from this story, and although it may seem like a pretty complex story, this was really just a simple snapshot into the day of Bob, and is an experience that after it was over with, he may not have thought twice about.
Each and every one of us experience stories as telling, helpful, and meaningful as this one, but because they happened to us, during our day to day lives, we never think twice about the lessons we have learned, and how those lessons may be able to help so many other people around us.
Instead of illustrating the lessons of this story here for you, I want you guys to tell me what you learned, what is valuable to you from this story in the comments section below. I also want you to think back a bit to some struggle or hurdle that you may have had to overcome in your life, and share your story with the rest of us. I’m positive that someone else needs that story.
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