At the time of writing this I’m living on the small Indonesian island of Nusa Lembongan. Google it, its paradise.
The image to the right is our actual villa, insane!
I’m sitting here watching our gardener Komang meticulously sweeping the sand around our villa (that’s right, I said sweeping the sand). I can’t help but notice the attention to detail as he moves slowly, purposefully, ensuring every inch of sand is perfectly smooth before moving onto his next task of removing every wilted leaf from our plants and trees.
The result is a villa that looks as amazing (if not better) as any 5-star resort. Do you put this much effort into every task, even the tasks you don’t enjoy? I know I don’t but after watching Komang I am going to start. Like my dad always said ‘if its worth doing its worth doing properly’.
Rain hail or shine, no matter the weather Komang comes to our villa every day and works through his tasks to make our villa look like heaven. He is so consistent that Monika and I were starting to go a little crazy with the sound of sand be swept with a very hard bristled broom (talk about a high class problem huh).
To reduce the endless sweeping I had a chat to Komang and asked him to take Sundays off and told him to feel free in taking another day off during the week, as we are fine with a few grains of sand and the odd leaf out of place.
Komang of course obliged but I could tell that he was concerned that he didn’t want to let the appearance of the villa deteriorate, even just a little. How’s that for work ethic? Imagine your boss telling you that you could take a paid day off every week, would you say no? For Komang, consistent effort delivers consistent results. He knows that by doing a little every day the workload won’t pile up and the results will be consistently superb.
The other day Komang came to me and said ‘Mr Dan, motorbike, you need it? I thought Komang was asking me if we needed another motorbike that I enquired about for friends that were coming to visit. I said ‘no I don’t need it’, then Komang replied ‘can I have the key’. Confused I said ‘what key’ and he said ‘the key to your motor bike’. Even more confused I asked ‘why do you need my key’. Komang replied ‘to wash the motor bike’. The penny dropped and I realised that Komang was not asking me if I needed the motorbike for my friends, he was asking if he could wash my motorbike.
I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself then smile at Komang apologising for the confusion and thanking him for his kind offer. Komang asked ‘sorry my English is not good, what I say wrong’. We spent the next ten minutes discussing how the conversation would have been better worded.
What I loved about this was Komang’s willingness to step outside his comfort zone to continually learn and improve himself. When was the last time you stepped outside your comfort zone?
To be honest, I felt a little ashamed because here was Komang making the effort to learn English when I had not learnt more than a couple of words in Indonesian, and I’m living in Indonesia! Komang and I are now helping each other with a new word in our native languages each day. Yesterdy I learned the Indonesian word for storm or as Komang call it ‘big rain’. I’d share it with you but I’ve forgotten already. Oh well, I’ll ask Komang again today.
The example of washing my motorbike is just one example of Komang taking huge pride in his work and going above and beyond. He regularly goes and gets 20 litre bottles of filtered water from the local store for us and does countless other small tasks that we do not ask him to do.
By being proactive and over delivering we become more valuable to others and in business speak more valuable in the market place.
One brave task Komang took on was removing a large number of wasps after Monika was stung on the foot. This involved climbing under the deck of our pool with a substance that smelled like petrol then spaying the substance over the wasps. As you can imagine the wasps became quite irritated.
This was quite a dangerous situation for Komang as he was in a confined space with poisonous wasps, and if stung by a large number of these wasps at the same time his health would have been at risk. This willingness to take calculated risks and do what needs to be done is an honourable quality.
In my opinion this is a quality entrepreneurs and business owners must have to succeed.
Watching Komang work is so different to how I work it is easy to compare. Komang approaches his work calmly and consciously. He is not concerned with the past nor is he looking too far into the future. He is in the moment with a smile on his face and a kindness in his heart. He is present.
In contrast I tend to work with an intensity and urgency (a bit like a hurricane I’ve been told). I think about past experiences but more so I am always focussed on future goals and the next task. I’m often so focussed on what’s next I miss the moment I’m in. As John Lennon said ‘Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans’.
Of all of the lessons Komang has taught me so far this one has had the biggest impact on me. I’m working on being calm, conscious and present every day. I’m getting there however its easier being isolated on an island, the real test will be when I’m back in my typically big city environment.
How do you approach your work and life?
Thank you Komang, love your work (literally).
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