Turning left out of the restaurant, MJ and I walk south along John Street. I know I hear some running footsteps but, so what. You never know who is asking for something so I put my arm around MJ’s shoulder and keep walking.
I look over my shoulder between me and MJ and see this guy waving his hand and running towards us. The guy was wearing black pants, a white shirt and a knee length white apron. It’s our waiter from the restaurant. Maximum 25 years old as he ran with ease towards us.
“Crazy” the waiter says, landing a few slow down steps as he reaches us.
“Look.” He only takes two breaths to speak normally after a 2 block sprint.
“I think the bills stuck together. I don’t think you meant to leave a $40 tip on a $29 tab.” The waiter tentatively offers two twenty dollar bills. The bills were probably just printed and put into circulation. I had just got them out of the bank machine earlier in the day.
“I thought they felt funny.” I say putting my hand out tentatively as the waiter goes about half way.
“Thank you very much.” I extend my appreciation and my hand to receive my overpayment.
“Right on.” Waiter says. There is a brief gap in the moment; and then he spins to jog back to the restaurant. MJ and I look at each other.
“Wow. You don’t see that too often. Someone running 2 blocks to give you money you didn’t know was yours. Actually, in the moment I thought to give him 1 of the twenties.”
MJ says “I could tell you hesitated. You could’ve.”
Standing in the same place, slowly folding the 2 twenties, I look at MJ and declare “That’s honesty”. Feeling proud to have been a part of that street vignette, I almost feel I deserve some of the credit.
MJ holds my gaze for a moment, then she says “That’s tidy.”
Tidy is living life with minimal loose ends.
Tidy is not military. It is clarity of scope of any intention.
Scope refers to what you are going to do when and how.
How refers to the quality of your work and ‘the 2-stage hand off’.
The first stage of the ‘hand off’ is you receiving from the previous person what you said you needed in order to get started. The second stage is you delivering what you said you would. That way the next person knows what to expect when you are finished with your part. Essentially ensuring the next stage 1 for the next person includes what said they needed to get started.
So if the person before or after you is not tidy, life now has drama that we aren’t paid for.
Being tidy is a reflection of self respect; It is an expression of understanding others and having the arts and skills to be understood.
Tidy is a great way to run your life.
Like someone runs their business.
You do what you say you are going to do.
You make commitments, make a plan and invest in the project. Then people quit, get fired or screw up. So being tidy can be a great hypothetical ideal but the daily reality can make your work anything but tidy. Because someone on your team quit means now you can’t deliver your products on time. So you have to advise others that your delivery is going to change. That’s business. That’s life.
Sometimes there is a pandemic and materials or staff are scarce or expensive and your price changes and the customer isn’t happy or wants to cancel all together. These are some of those changes that fit into the ‘you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up’ category.
So many obstacles can get thrown your way making your work, and life, untidy. You can’t control others. You can manage yourself. Your work is subject to outside influences. When everything is going sideways, that is when you need to insist on being tidy in your mind. Meaning understanding who is responsible, or to blame, but with an eye to moving forward.
The New You Profile is:
The man a young man strives to be;
The gentleman a man can feel he is becoming.
The scope of that gentleman’s life is: deep, expansive, growing, challenging, intriguing.