Funny how the strangest thoughts come to you while contemplating on a simple exercise. It struck me when I was asked to put together a mixology workshop as an ice-breaker for a group of bankers.
I was wondering what I could say that would get their attention, make them curious and, in turn, participate with a little enthusiasm. That’s when it occurred to me.
When one thinks about it, bars are not really that different from banks. A bank, as we knew it from before, was a small, often dingy place where we deposited our earnings, withdrew cash to use, occasionally put some in a fixed deposit, or used a locker.
A bar too was a dark, smoggy place you walked into, asked for a drink, drank, occasionally hung around for music, or to play a game of darts, or shoot pool every once in a while.
In both cases, the people we connected with were reasonably affable yet slow and ponderous. I remember walking alongside my Dad while he conducted his business in the bank with quiet precision, smiling at all the little cubicles along the way.
Years later, as I peeked into shiny, 5-star bars with their stiff-upper-lip managers and eager-to-serve underlings, or peered into the dark, noisy ones with definite uncertainty, I wondered what I would become. Sheesh, I thought!
Today’s banker, however, does far more. Apart from the usual give and take, s/he manages people, and their money. S/he advises, invests, shapes their financial future.
S/he knows that each client thinks differently: Some worry about future security, some believe in now and instant karma. Still others want to invest one step at a time, slow and steady. The client will look toward a multitude of opportunities, which allows him/her to pick and choose correctly, in tune to his/her needs – a mixed basket.
Consider the bartender. S/he too now understands that every person who walks into the bar has his/her own unique personality, tastes and flavour profiles. The bartender needs to dig a little deeper, ask the right questions, take a little risk to be able to find a drink which suits the guest best.
It could be the right pint of perfectly cold beer; a glass of zesty wine; a rich, mouth-filling whisky or an uplifting cocktail. If s/he has made the customer happy, s/he has invested in the client’s trust – all the while constantly smiling, twirling and stirring.
That is the beginning of recurring income and a lot of joy. A lifetime spent doing just that has allowed me to look beyond what is obvious. Life’s like that too. From being pretty straightforward it has become increasingly complicated. It’s a constant pause, look around and make choices.
Why on earth should we have to do that? Let’s look at opportunities as a way of expanding our portfolio, of having fun finding ourselves! Shaking up our mundane existence doing every little thing we want to, however ridiculous it might be.
Sure, I began with the bar. Along the way I learned to write, teach, speak, engage and even go back to the kitchen, splashing in my favourite liquids to elevate the experience. It makes my life more interesting, and me who I am.
You know what is said about putting all your eggs in one basket, right? So yeah, do this, that and the other. Focus, sure – but go out and experiment too. What could be the worst thing to happen? Failure? That’s what kicks the butt and gets you on top all over again.