I don’t envy those of you who have to commute to work.  Friday morning I had to make the drive from Valencia to Century City and, of course, it was during the onset of the torrential rains we saw this weekend.  But sometimes getting out into “the world” can open your eyes to some amazing things.  One thing in particular served as a reminder of a very important fact.

Someone is always watching and making notes about us.

When I was a kid and I would be out in public with my parents, as soon as I started to talk loudly about someone I knew, my father would stop me and remind me that I needed to be careful because I couldn’t knew who might hear me.  I try to consider that at all times because I never know whether my next client is sitting in the neighboring booth, is walking towards me in the mall…

Or driving in the car next to me.

Every single one of us is a reflection of something and someone is always judging us and those of whom we are a reflection.  I was reminded of this Friday morning as I saw a van with the name of an air conditioning company plastered on its side cut off three lanes of traffic in the pouring rain to get into the carpool lane.  And the thought going through my mind at that moment, other than that I hoped the driver doesn’t kill someone, was that I would never use that air conditioning company.

I am sure that the company is exceptional, but when you never have a second chance to make a first impression, my first impression of that company was poor.

I wrote before about the tow-truck driver who came to our aid one Saturday and, simply by doing his job, made me a lifelong fan of his and his company.  The reverse is certainly possible as well.  We can make lifelong fans from one impression and we certainly can make lifelong opponents.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to have someone get a bad first impression of me.  Everyone is a potential client.  But it sure is hard sometimes, isn’t it?  Hard not to discipline your child in public; hard not to reach for your “bird” finger when someone cuts you off; hard not to check your email one last time as the movie starts; hard not to sing at the top of my lungs to Frozen’s “Let It Go” with the windows rolled down.

It seems daunting at times, this idea that we always have to have our game faces on, that we can’t take a break and let our hair down.  Well of course we can, we just have to pick out spots.  We just have to know when. 

Because if we choose to do so during a torrential downpour, crossing 3 lanes of traffic and endangering many lives… well, that’s not my spot for sure.