REMEMBERING “THANK YOU”
The lost custom of gratitude and respect
I’m bursting your bubble here, sorry … but the business owes you NOTHING!
In wrestling as well as in life, I think that often people lose focus on what their business is. Instead, working under an effective locker room leader, we learn what their objectives are, but often lose sight of our own individual careers. This goes beyond what we try to put together to wow audiences and earn kudos from our peers — it comes down to a simple focus … let me explain.
When I was in Winnipeg, my commute to the Chalmers community centre, the home base for River City Wrestling, took me past a business that sold promotional novelties — pens, mugs, frisbees with your company’s logo on it, etc. Every December, on the sign out in front of their store they had the message: “What have you done to thank your best customers this year?” Now, we know that there are few marketing geniuses donning the tights based on the money they pull down from merchandise sales. However, give that some thought for a few seconds … What are YOU doing to thank your best customers this year?
I would bet that when you are pondering that question, you are thinking about everything that you have done this year for the paying public, the fans, the audience …. WRONG! As an independent wrestler, WHO are your customers? … PROMOTERS!!
Directly, who is buying your product? Promoters. They may re-market it, or package it in a way which helps them to get a return on their investment, but it is those independent promoters and bookers that you need to sell yourself to in order to get booked and have the opportunity to perform. If you can’t sell your product to a promoter — you’re not doing ANY business. With this in mind, I ask again – what have you done to thank your best customers this year?
If you have watched any Vance Nevada matches in the past five years – I would guarantee that you haven’t been wowed by my aerial artistry or sat in disgusted awe of a gore-fest blade job. Yet, I still manage to stay active as a guy of average size, less than stellar tan, and good working knowledge of wrestling fundamentals. I would suspect I get the repeat business that I do because of the respect that I show to the promoters (my customers) and my expressed gratitude for every chance they take on me to deliver for their said audience.
This isn’t even a rule that is a wrestling-specific piece of etiquette. This applies to life and can be used in your workplace and social activities away from the business. Remember to thank those people who have helped you down the road to achieving your goals. If a promoter took a chance on you, or kept you regularly working, remember to say thank you for that … if another worker put in a word for you to get you booked, express your gratitude … never forget those people who have contributed to your success in any way, however small.
In addition to promoters, don’t forget about those people that you share a locker room with. Who went out of their way this year, or on any given night to make you look like a million bucks. This could apply to the action in the ring, or even any assistance they gave you away from the glare of the spotlight. Did somebody open their address book and share promoters’ contacts with you, did they give you a place to crash, maybe they taxi’d your ass all over the place to get you to your bookings. When you start to think in this context, you will always see how much you rely on others in this business.
Once you’ve identified who should be thanked, how do you go about doing that? Well that, my friends, is really up to you. Depending on who you’re thanking, what you’re thanking them for, and how close you are with those folks will affect who you show that gratitude and how hard you work to maintain that working relationship. You do want to be sincere in your thank you, but you certainly don’t want this to come across as contrived politicing (which actually works in reverse for you). Think about this at great length. How can you possibly acknowledge, and/or pay back this favor that was done for you? I’d suggest that the greatest starting point is simply the words themselves … “Thank you” for sadly, these words are so rare, that people will take notice when they hear them.
Whatever you do, do not send out a blanket e-mail thanking everyone in general (or worse in a list format) to say thank you. This comes across as lazy and insincere. Instead, this is almost more of a show about how many people you know and/or think that you’re “over” with. Genuine thank yous are individual and are not for public display. It is an expression of gratitude for individual courtesy and should be issued as such.
Your gratitude for the opportunity to be involved with this business and how you conduct yourself is as individual as you are. You may never influence anyone to follow your lead, but as the Garth Brooks song goes: “It’s not the world that I am changing, what I do is so the world will not that it cannot change me.”
Take some time to think about those folks who might appreciate to hear from you with some kind words about how they have positively influenced you. Those promoters – love ’em or hate ’em, are keeping our dreams alive — and those workers sharing those locker rooms with us are helping to shape the lifelong memories we’ll take away once we decide to get away from this crazy business