As often as we can, my wife and I like to steal away to the great outdoors for some camping and hiking. The fresh air, beautiful creation, and peace and quiet are a welcome change from what can sometimes be a very busy pace.
We’ve been to a lot of national and state parks in the country. Each time I go I’m reminded of the phrase from the US Parks Project, “Leave It Better Than You Found It.” The idea behind the mantra is simple: whether you’re hiking, camping, or just walking around, leave the area behind you looking more beautiful than before you came through.
This simple phrase can apply directly to almost every area of life. Whether you’re visiting a park or working with a client, your goal should be to bring some type of value in such a way that the outcome is better than the outset.
So, how do you leave something better?
- Push yourself outside of your comfort zone (even if it’s just a little bit at a time). When I’m on the trails hiking, it would be easy for me to overlook some litter left behind by a former adventurer. But, I could take just a few minutes of my time to stop, move off the trail for a second, and pick it up. Think of how many others would have just passed by! This is the type of effort that will show your client you’re interested in more than just checking the box and finishing the job.
- Be aware of opportunities. I can’t leave things better than they were if I never see the opportunities. Awareness takes observation and mindfulness. Just like breathing in that wonderful outdoor air, watching the wildlife scurry around, and hearing the wind move gently through the trees, it will take your full concentration to find opportunities to help make your clients better by engaging your senses.
- See the potential. Similar to pitching a tent in just the right spot to enjoy the maximum benefit, you have to be able to see the potential to arrive at the intended outcome. Constantly connect with your client: know who they are and where they want to be, and position yourself to help them get there.
Regardless of the type of engagement, really work to be that breath of fresh air for your clients and purposefully leave things better than you found them.