The unexpected business tip from a cheesy Vin Diesel movie

There’s a scene in the 2002 action movie with Vin Diesel called Triple X that’s stuck with me all these years.

The movie itself was fun at the time but now is a bit cheesy and overdone. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone over 22.

But there was a scene that had a lot of wisdom in it.

Vin Diesels’ character, Xander Cage, was kidnapped by masked assailants and knocked unconscious.

When he came to, he found himself seated on a stool at the counter of a classic American dinner. Think: booths by the window, bad filtered coffee, and grumpy waitresses that say “Darlin’” a lot.

He sat there trying to make sense of what was going on and where he was. Everything looked normal. People were quietly having breakfast, the cook was grilling in the back, and no one was paying him any attention. The waitress walked over and asked if he wanted coffee, “Coffee Darlin’?” It was all as if he’d been casually sitting there all along and nothing was wrong.

As the waitress walked away he saw her stumble in her high heeled shoes.

Then something happened, a fight broke out, action erupted – the usual bit of a VIn Diesel movie – and it was revealed that the whole place was a set up. Every person in there was an agent of the National Security Agency and the scene was a test to see if Xander could figure it out. And he did. He knew it was a set up before the fight even erupted.

What tipped him off was the waitress.

Xander’s mother was a waitress growing up and would complain about being on her feet all day hence she wore the most comfortable shoes she could find. High heels were suspicious. They stood out. That’s what tipped him off.

I thought that was really clever at the time.

And I still do, despite the tackiness.

I think there’s a lesson in it.

Oftentimes in business we know something’s off. Things aren’t going the way we want them to. Maybe not enough people are coming to you, income has fallen or stalled, or staff are not performing the way we want them to.

But you can’t seem to figure out what the problem is. In fact, even if you were looking straight at it – like with the waitresses shoes (at the time I didn’t know that was a clue) – and you still would not figure it out.

It takes someone with experience, knowledge and skill in the area to help. Like Xander and his waitress mother. To them it’s obvious. It’s right there clear as day. It’s one of the reasons why I always work with a coach, mentor or consultant to help me not just solve problems but also make faster progress than I would otherwise.

It’s saved me a lot of headache and wasted time. Plus it’s made me a lot more money that I would have otherwise.

Thanks Xander! That lesson’s been handy over the years.

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