29 Aug Window Cleaning (and Life) Lessons from Star Wars
The following creative piece has been contributed by Paul Routledge from Twenty20 Window Cleaning on the Gold Coast. If you’re a Star Wars fan or you enjoy the piece, do give him some feedback. You can find his website here.
Squeegee and lightsaber; the fight against the dark side and the fight against dirty windows; the force and window cleaning awesomeness, can you see the parallels? It’s hard to miss. Let’s face it, window cleaners are like real life Jedi Knights, every day battling and cleaning windows in an attempt to bring balance to the universe.
Your work transport is like an olden day Millennial Falcon.
Remember how much Hans Solo loved and raved about his spaceship. He knew all of its in’s and out’s and had things exactly the way he wanted them. Do you feel the same about your work car/van? Do you take pride in it and give it the love that it deserves, no matter how old it is? It’s important to treat your work transport well and always have it presentable, in fact, it is a big part of your branding and image. A logo on the back window can go a long way in terms of marketing and is a reflection of your pride for your business and vehicle.
Nobody likes a whiner (Aghh-hum looking at you Luke Skywalker).
Let’s face it, Luke Skywalker liked a good whinge. So what, the job didn’t work out the way that you planned. Maybe you underquoted the job or just didn’t count up the panes correctly. Or, maybe, you are just having a bad day. Maintaining friendly customer service, despite things not going to plan, is a sign of being a real trooper (and I’m not talking about a storm trooper, because their evil). You never know what will result from prioritizing friendly customer service, maybe if your cool, calm, and collected on this job you will get a referral or repeat customer. We never know what good can come out of a bad situation. Luke was still awesome, especially in Return of the Jedi, but nobody really appreciated, or enjoyed, his whining in A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.
Now for the most obvious point on the list:
Be unfazed and cool like Yoda.
Nothing really seemed to rock Master Yoda’s equilibrium. He was so in touch with the force and being in the moment. In line with the last lesson, sometimes it’s a good idea to just stop and smell the roses. We have a pretty sweet job; we get to work outdoors, but we get a break to work inside at times; it’s a physical job, but it’s not terribly taxing; window cleaning pays well, with little overhead; we don’t have to wait long periods to receive payment, these are just a few of the benefits of being a window cleaner. Embrace every day accepting that while things aren’t going to be perfect, everything is going to be ok. Don’t fight having a good day, so to speak.
While Master Yoda was pretty mellow most of the time, he could also turn things up a notch when he needed to. There’s an epic scene where Luke tries to move his spaceship out of the swamp but is unable to do so. By this point in the movie Yoda hasn’t done anything too crazy or out there. Now, just when he needs to, he dials things up and raises the whole spaceship out of the swamp. The fight scene between Yoda and Count Dooku also comes to mind, where he had the physical odds against him, but he sure packed a punch. The lesson for us? Sometimes we have to step up to the plate and kick-ass. Whether it be a difficult job/window, a time crunch, or a difficult client, sometimes we have to just take a deep breath and get into the zone to get the job done.
Anger leads to the Dark Side.
What happened when one of the best Jedi Knights reveled in their frustration and anger? Darth Vader happened, that’s what happened! While Darth Vader made for one hell of a character, it was such a shame he lived a life tormented by hatred, anger and regret. He could have gone down a different route of being the best Jedi Knight of all time, restoring balance to the galaxy in a more positive way. Or, he could have just retired, let it all go, and lived a quiet peaceful life with Pad-me. As window cleaners, what can we learn from Anakin’s fall to the dark side?
Well, nothing ever good happens when we are angry or frustrated. That’s how mistakes happen. You could potentially get mentally “clouded” and forget to secure a ladder. You might yell at an employee, only to have them turn around and quit. You might be short and snippy with a customer, only to have them write a bad review about you. Bad things happen when you let your frustration get the better of you. Don’t bottle it up, learn to express the frustration in a constructive way, but don’t let it get the better of you.
Fear also leads to the Dark Side.
What held Luke back from progressing as a Jedi apprentice? Fear. Same goes with Anakin Skywalker. Fear held them back from progressing forward in their positive character development. They also show a stark contrast in what can happen if you give in to your fears. Luke became the Jedi that he always wanted to be, while Anakin was a twisted, dark, shell of human-being who took the form of one of the best villains of all time.
Fear can affect us greatly in business and window cleaning: fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of underquoting, or, even fear of overquoting. These fears may hold you back from progressing as a business man, building your window cleaning “empire”, and in your own personal growth as a person. You can either challenge those fears and build your business, while pushing your boundaries as a window cleaner and a person. Or, you can give in to the fear and wallow in regret, becoming a bitter, window cleaning villain, perhaps under the pseudonym “Darth Squeegee”. It’s always best to challenge your fears.
Let’s finish up this article, the best way possible, with a quote from Master Yoda: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” I’m not 100% sure what Yoda meant there, but to me he is saying: “Get out there and make things happen, seize the day”.