Have you noticed that some people are really delusional? If you need proof of this statement all you have to do is watch the endless parade of singing and talent competition shows on television. Whether you’re watching American Idol, The Voice, The X-Factor or America’s Got Talent there are always performers that are painfully bad.

I kind of understand the people who audition for the show who know that they cannot sing, but are doing it for their chance to appear on national television and to get their “fifteen minutes of fame.” What I don’t understand are the people who have no concept that they are awful and think that they are actually rather good. I would love to ask one of these would-be rock stars, “How do you not know that you stink?”

Now, I really enjoy watching how angry these people get with the judges; yelling things like, “I deserve to be the next American Idol” or “How dare you do this to me, I know that I am a star!” and my all time favorite, “All my friends tell me that I’m the next Mariah Carey.” 

Truthfully, I think that these people must not have friends, because if they did, someone would have stopped them before they made complete fools of themselves on national television. How can someone so bad think that they are so good? How can they actually believe that they deserve to be a star? The answer to why I believe this happens can be found in a saying on a t-shirt that I saw a young woman wearing at the mall the other day. 

“It’s All About Me”

The truth is there are people who really think that everything is about them aren’t there? I cannot count how many residents I have talked to during my multifamily career who truly felt that; they didn’t need to pay their rent on time, community rules didn’t apply to them, the signed lease agreement did not need to be honored, they deserved a discount on their rent  simply because they were born, and on and on.

Yet as frustrated as I would get with the residents who seemed to think that the world revolved around them…if I am honest with myself, I know that I can often feel and act the same way.

For example, when I’m driving on the street and I see a car with a bumper sticker of a candidate from the political party that I do not typically support, my first thought about that person usually is, “What an idiot!” I mean after all, my political beliefs are the only valid ones right?

I was standing in a line at church one day and it was just blisteringly hot. I remember thinking, “I hate the heat” and as I thought it, the person in front of me said to his friend, “I love this…I can’t stand being cold”! And yes, even at church, I remember thinking, “You are crazy!!” After all how can anyone possibly like the heat since I don’t like it! 

Taking Our Eyes Off of Ourselves

This tendency of people to be more self-oriented is one of the reasons why I believe that consistently delivering superior customer service is difficult. Customers make it difficult because many of them do believe that they are “always right” even when they are completely wrong. And people in customer service can make things difficult too, because we can sometimes act like we’re always right too, even when we’re not.

What helped me tremendously during my multifamily career was to really strive to understand my customer’s point of view. Honestly, when residents told me they didn’t know they had to give a written 30-day notice, or when applicants told me they didn’t know that if they cancelled their apartment reservation after three days that they would forfeit the deposit, or when someone told me she didn’t know rent was due on the first, there is a part of me that wants to scream, “You idiot, how could you not know what you signed????”

But what good would that do? Maybe putting those people in their places would have made me feel better in those moments, but ultimately it would have just made them more upset, which would have made my job more difficult. And trust me, after interacting with thousands of customers anything that I could have done to make my life easier was well worth it. 

Make a Positive Difference

Yet even more than just making our own lives easier, we have a tremendous opportunity everyday to positively impact the lives of those around us; whether they’re residents, customers, co-workers, vendors, friends and family members.

I’ve also found that I just feel better when; I take my eyes off of myself and place it on other people, when I strive to really serve others, when I go out of my way to do something for someone, when I admit that I’m not always right, that there is another point of view other than my own, and lastly when I admit that it really isn’t all about me.

 Rommel Anacan is the president of The Relationship Difference; a Southern California-based corporate training, motivational speaking and consulting firm. He is a multifamily industry veteran, having worked at all levels of the industry from onsite to corporate, where he developed a reputation for tackling common challenges in an uncommon way. For more information visit www.RelationshipDifference.com.

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