What our Lyft driver taught us about getting out of our own way

Last week, we decided to celebrate Tay’s birthday with a visit to a local Korean Spa.

Tay's 38th Bday

En route there via a Lyft ride, we had a really nourishing and enlightening conversation with our driver.

It was #sogood we had to share it with you.

Let’s call our driver Mike. Here’s the conversation:

Mike: How are you ladies doing today?

TV: We are having a really fabulous day, thank you. We did an interview for an online summit this morning, consulted for one of our VIP clients, helped a fellow entrepreneur uplevel her business and hopped onto Facebook LIVE for the first time.

Mike: (rolls up the windows, turns down the music, and looked us at in the rear-view mirror) I’m a business owner too! I own a carpet cleaning company. What do you do?

TV: We’re business consultants and we help business owners uplevel into their next level of success.

Here’s where the conversation got really interesting…

Mike: That’s so cool. I kind of did that for myself a couple of months ago by stepping out of my company.

TV: What do you mean?

Mike: I own a carpet cleaning business and started my company in 1999. For 5 years, I did everything single-handedly. Took care of all the calls, did the cleaning, made sure customers got the best service and are happy.

I was a perfectionist and believed in quality service. I had very loyal customers. And over the years I’ve created a really great team who know their stuff and do great work.

Even so, I started to burnt out because I wanted to make sure that everything was done to its perfection.

It took me a while, but I realized I was in the way of growing the business.

TV: What happened after that?

Mike: I got out of the way. I have a chief technician who has been in the business with me for 9 years. And I let him take-charge of servicing the customers. He does a really good job without being so personally attached to it, like I am.

I let them take over the entire day-to-day operations of the business. I remain the business owner and started working on the business, instead of in the business.

And to make sure I’m not hovering around, micro-managing and messing with the systems in place, I applied to be a Lyft driver. Can’t really check my phone when I’m driving people around.

TV: (Utterly fascinated) So… what’s next?

Mike: My vision for the company now is to continue to do great work, and grow my business in a way that it provides more, for more employees. Perhaps another branch in north Seattle, now that we’ve got south Seattle covered.

(Turns halfway around to semi-face us) I know you ladies will appreciate this; because that’s probably what you do for your clients in your work.

I’m SO MUCH happier now driving Lyft and letting my people take care of the business. My employees are much happier because they love what they do even more, and have a greater sense of ownership.

AND, I’m learning a thing or two from Lyft as a company about how to run my business. I don’t have a college degree, but I know my carpets and how to get them real clean. I built my business from scratch and it’s been working.

Now I’m learning from a big company like Lyft how to incentivize my employees, like how Lyft incentivizes its drivers; and how to make my customers happier with my services!

TV: Wow. How does it feel to get out of your own way?

Mike: It took me 5 years to arrive at, and then finally make this decision… all by myself. It was difficult to let go of that control because I started it from scratch.

But it’s been the BEST. DECISION. EVER.

I even get to put my wife, who’s been semi-assisting me in my business while running the household, on payroll. She’s much happier officially working for the company, and we’re much happier together, too!

By now, we are nearing our destination and the spa came into sight. Continue reading because the best part of the conversation happened here:

Mike: Oh! You ladies are really having a fabulous day. You’re treating yourselves to a day at a spa! Wow.

TV: (Laughing our signature laugh) This is YOUR next step Mike! To enjoy the ride!

We set up a business for our lives to become better, not become slaves of it. You’ve just affirmed what we’ve been doing for our own business and our clients’ work – to get out of the way, and work on the business instead of in it.

Thank you for sharing your story with us! We needed to hear it today!

Mike: (Stopping the car right in front of the spa entrance and turning around to fully to face us)

(In a most serious tone) Now the two of you remember to relax and enjoy your spa treat.

You (pointing to us) shall not talk to each other about business during your time here. Got it?

And he smiled the brightest smile and gave us a wink. There was a twinkle in his eye.

We were deeply touched by this precious 25-minute conversation.

Maybe it’s because it’s Father’s’ Day weekend, and our Dads are far away (in every sense); so it’s good to bear witness to someone’s Dad coming into his own.

Maybe it’s because we’ve had a morning of conversations about being GOOD ENOUGH; and this was the perfect closure to the topic.

Maybe it’s because it’s one of those moments of recognition – from one business owner to another – affirming each other in our own ways, acknowledging that our efforts to get out of our own ways in business was worth it.

And so paying it forward from us to you, we wanna share this moment and invite you to ponder:

[bctt tweet=”What are doing to get out of your own way in the growth of yourself and your work?” username=”taynval”]

Leave us a comment and let us know. You know we read every word ;)


Honoring your steps to get out of your own way,
Tay & Val

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