Yes, its true, Sachin Tendulkar is the god of small things. I am no expert of the game, therefore, would leave the technical discussions to those who know it best. However, let me share about the little I know him as a person, when I met him for an hour long interaction that I had with him in the year 2010.
I was to meet and talk to him as Sachin Tendular the brand, therefore was pretty confident of it. I had all my facts and figures ready. The appointment was scheduled for 15.30 hours at Famous Studios, Mumbai, where he was shooting for an ad as the brand ambassador of Royal Bank of Scotland. I reached there five minutes before the appointed time. I had butterflies in my stomach for obvious reasons, but soon loosened up and started looking forward to the interaction.
15.30 became 16.30 became 17.30, but still no interview. All the butterflies were replaced with tinges of irritation, because I had left work pending in office and had planned to go back and finish that. I was wondering if I should request for rescheduling the appointment to sometime when he had little more free time on hand. But I thank my friend, who asked me to be a little more patient and offered me another cup of coffee as a solace.
When the time finally came to meet the legend face-to-face, I was mentally prepared for it to be a courtesy thing, just because I have waited for almost three hours. But I was wrong. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar ushered me warmly into his vanity van. He even spent few minutes exchanging pleasantries and offering me refreshments, and to tell the truth I was impressed -- because I did not expect it. However being the practical person that I am, I asked him upfront how much time I had for the interview (so that I could decide which questions to not ask him and stick to only the important ones). I think he said, “we have sometime.” Though I don’t remember the exact words, Sachin Tendulkar fulfilled his commitment, answered all my questions and left a good impression on me. My friend who had helped me meet him wanted some autographs (even I had carried couple of those small bats with me), and he obliged. In all I spent a little under an hour with the Master Blaster, and came back very happy.
So why am I narrating this incident, because I think it teaches us a couple of things.
1. Value other’s time – I had waited more than two hours for this meeting, if Sachin would have given me just 10 minutes, probably I would have been very cross.
As the founder/CEO of any venture however busy you are, if you have given someone time, honour your commitment graciously – don’t impress upon others that you are doing them a favour. It will make people respect you.
2. Be normal – If we have a visitor offering refreshments is a norm, and if we did not do so it would sometimes even be considered plain disrespectful. But Sachin offering me refreshments, I think was a demonstration that he considered me a very normal visitor. And behaved with me exactly the way he would behave with someone he knew.
Whoever the individual is, treating even strangers as you treat people you know, makes a good impression. Someone insignificant to your business today, may become important to you as your grow or pivot or expand – therefore treating everyone well may work in your favour somewhere, sometime.
3. Spread some joy – I knew who Sachin was and his stature, as a fan therefore asking for autographs was almost my ‘right’. But given the circumstances and the delay caused by the shoot and then the interview, Sachin could have excused himself from signing – if I remember right, some 7 bats & balls – in all, but he did not. He happily signed them, while his right hand was in a cast due to the webbing injury.
So if someone has come to you with some expectation, fulfilling that expectation – because only you can do it – is the gift you have. Sharing it with others can only spread the joy. And as they say -- what goes around, comes around. Whatever my fellow journalists have told me about Sachin has always been good things, and that I believe is impossible if you are not good by nature. What you do professionally and the heights you scale are because of your hard work and dedication. But that never gives you the right to look down upon others. Greatness is an achievement, but wearing greatness lightly on your shoulders is a virtue, that very few have.
Sometimes treating even absolute strangers well can be good for your image and build lasting impressions - like Sachin made on me and Hugh Jackman (another favourite of mine) made on Jeff Haden. Some food for thought this weekend folks!