The Fred Factor

I must have watched every single episode of The King of Queens at least a dozen times and it continues to make me laugh unfailingly with it's comical cast but in between all the laugher, there's one episode that made a huge impression on me. In it the main character Doug, delivers packages as a profession for a company equivalent to UPS and one evening he walks into the bedroom and shares with his wife in that he feels his job feels diminished because co-workers expressed on how they simply view it as just a means to an end, while Doung on the other hand holds value to what others see as ordinary.

In essence, he gains a sense of fulfillment in knowing that "the person doing the work determines the difference between the mundane and the magnificent." Regardless of our occupation, I think we've all considered that we make a difference in what we do each day, in every interaction, with every decision we make and Doug was no different.

Playing along the same feeling of utility, I just finished reading a book called The Fred Factor which relates to the story and holds true to the saying that "good things come in small packages." Mark Sanborn, a powerful speaker and motivator speaks about his neighborhood mailman Fred, who develops bonds with his customers and actually cares for others & loves his job. The question arises in why can't we all do this and Sanborn provides the steps in how we can become a Fred too.

The book is versatile enough that the empowering principles by which is based on goes beyond the sales pitching, beyond the workplace and extending the premise to your entire life as well. Sanborn truly capture the core of what is human kindness and servitude and I consider it invaluable and essential for anyone to read. I wanted to just quickly highlight some of my favored passages in the book, which by the way the book is littered with.

  • There are no unimportant jobs, just people who feel unimportant doing their jobs.
  • There is more credit and satisfaction in being a first-rate truck driver than a tenth-rate executive.
  • The more valuable you are to others—the more value you create in your work or your interactions with others—the more value will eventually flow toward you.
  • Convert your job into one you love, not by doing a different job, but by doing the one you have differently!
  • Everyone wants to count, to know that what he or she does each day isn’t simply a means of making a living, but “a living of making meaning.
  • The best way to grow your value is to grow yourself. Become a sponge for ideas. Take time to truly think about what you do and why you do it. So often we live our lives on autopilot, unable to distinguish between activity and accomplishment.
  • When you don’t see much meaning in what you do, you won’t bring much value to what you do.