Recently, on the way to LAX airport I took an Uber ride that would change my perspective of how I saw employees. There is this "entrepreneur" label that we use every day that suggests you are either an employee or a business owner. If you remove shares from the equation, then we are all technically entrepreneurs.
As I hopped into the car with my driver, Vincent, something felt instantly different. By the time we got a few streets away, I had learned that he was a traveling wedding photographer who was forced to sell his Mini Cooper convertible so he could pay his bills. Vincent talked me through how he became an UberX driver and went from a gold driver status to a platinum driver status within 12 months. Before meeting Vincent, I’d never met a man who was so proud of his accomplishments and of the company that he worked for.
He is a model employee because there is no fluff with him. The focus he had on customer service was almost inhuman like. Never before has an Uber ride given me chills down my spine, especially after an exhausting two weeks in California, and a long flight ahead back to Australia. Meeting this man made me proud to be human and hearing his story was inspiring. Here are the five things you can learn from Vincent:
1. Everyone has a dream.
During my journey with Vincent I heard about his dream. I’ve found it easy in the past to believe the lie that everyone has a grandiose dream like winning a gold medal or piloting spaceships, but I forgot how simple it is to forget that not all dreams are so enormous.
Some of us have far less complicated dreams like being a great parent or rising to the top of our company. In Vincent’s case, he wants to become a Uber Black driver and lease a brand new BMW so he can offer the next level up in service that he believes he can deliver.
Vincent wants to be the most successful Uber driver that has ever set foot on the planet and he will stop at nothing to find new ways to astonish his riders. Imagine all of us thought like this… ohh the things we could achieve and the progress the human race could make.
Vincent showed me that no matter your nationality, background, or circumstances, everyone has a dream, and when you deliver 200 percent, you get the results you’ve always wanted.
2. Customer service is the main differentiator.
We’ve all sat in a traditional taxi and heard the driver whinge about how hard business is. What Vincent taught me is that business isn’t difficult for those who are willing to work hard and show up every single day with everything they’ve got.
Business becomes hard when you show up without a purpose, and you hate what you do. It’s easy to build a name for yourself with your business or as an employee: show up with your A-game and demonstrate your passion until it pours out of you. Look your customer in the eye and show them you mean business exactly the way that Vincent did to me.
Before I even got in the car, Vincent had my bag loaded carefully into his boot and ensured that I was comfortable. He then told me that he got out of the car in the first place because he’d been sitting for a while and wanted to ensure he had high levels of energy for our trip (who does that… wow).
He then proceeded to inspect the traffic conditions to ensure that I would not be late to the airport -- even though I was early -- so I could have plenty of time to relax and get some food before my flight. Everything had been thought of, and no stone had been left unturned. At the end of the trip, I felt like royalty being chauffeured around by this incredible man who told me his entire story and transformed my last day in LA for the better.
3. We’re all entrepreneurs.
Throughout my conversation with Vincent I picked up on a subtle difference between him and all the other Uber drivers; he didn’t see himself as an employee. He wasn’t just saying it; he genuinely believed that the business was his and that Uber just provided him with the clients.
This change in perspective can show us all that being a business owner is a reality for everyone whether we know it or not. The fact is that business owners think differently -- they think like Vincent, and that’s a good thing.
4. Win-wins are what it’s all about.
There was one line out of all the lines that Vincent said that stuck with me. It was this: “Business is all about you helping me so that the company helps me, and in return, I help both of you.” It’s one continuous cycle that works like a successful marriage when you understand it at its core.
The description that Vincent presented me was almost like a utopian view of business, and his success is a demonstration that it works really well when all three sides commit to it.
5. Positive attitudes are near impossible to shake.
As we pulled into LAX, I decided to experiment with Vincent and test him to see if all of this was real. The way I did this was by questioning his confidence. I falsely believed that the one thing that would break his positive mindset was technological disruption.
I asked Vincent what he thought of self-driving cars and whether he thought that would jeopardise his Uber dream. Just like the previous 45 minutes, Vincent again showed me his true colors.
He said, “Tim there is always going to be new technology, and I welcome that. It’s probably five years away and by then, if my time is up with Uber and I am replaced, then there will always be another job for me.”
Within five years, he hopes to be able to travel the world and use his creativity to pursue his other dream outside of driving which is photographing weddings in exotic locations. Vincent wants to bring his same customer service focus, to that one special day, and wow a new type of customer.
After my trip with Vincent, I don’t ever believe that I will meet another driver as good as him. Just writing this blog post send chills down by spine because of the way that he made me feel. No matter what your focus is in life when you give it 100 perent people notice and they want to go out of their way to support you.
If you are at a stage where you are not achieving your goals, it’s because you are not giving it your all and your passion is not shining through. Take a page out of Vincent’s book and dedicate your life to what it is that you do no matter how basic your profession may seem to the rest of the world.