Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo Buscaglia

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Three Examples

     I've been on the road today, having worked with one client in Pittsburgh this morning and then on my way to Orlando where I'll be giving a talk in the morning, but that didn't keep me from capitalizing on three opportunities to spread some kindness and demonstrate some compassion.  Here's what happened:
     During the morning, I was leading a class where we were working on two communication skills:  speaking straight and listening generously.  During the session, one of the employees of the company for which I was working demonstrated a strong intuitive sense for the material.  Though she was "just" a receptionist/administrative assistant, she really took on the training wholeheartedly and clearly demonstrated some leadership in the process.  As I was sitting in the airport later, I made a point to send her an e-mail acknowledging the specific contributions she made to the group.  I've already heard back from her letting me know how much the "pat on the back" meant to her.
     There was another person in this company whose story presented an entirely different challenge.  Without going into too much detail, let me just say that this person suffered a serious personal tragedy in the last year and that attending this session was particularly challenging because of certain reminders it created for her.  It took an amazing amount of personal courage for her to be there.  I also sent her an e-mail today, letting her know how much I respected and admired the courage she demonstrated and letting her know how much I was for her success and available to help.  
     Lastly, I'm doing some coaching for the CEO of another client whose company was doing a layoff yesterday.  When I was there last week, we spent considerable time planning the communication to the organization, part of which was going to take place this evening in a company meeting.  I reached out to the CEO by text multiple times over the past 2 days - first to see if he needed any last-minute help, and second to give him a few reminders and wish him luck.  I know he appreciated my offer, and more importantly, the way that I demonstrated my personal care and interest in him.
     As is so often the case, none of these instances cost any money at all.  Instead, what they required was a few key things:
  • Paying attention to people and their needs
  • Taking a personal interest in them and their success
  • Taking the initiative to act on that concern by reaching out to them with a very specific message.
     Here's something else I noticed today.  I felt great, knowing that I had made a real difference for all three of these people.  Of course, I did it for them, and not for how it would make me feel.  But I felt better nonetheless.  It's definitely a recurring theme that the more we do for others, the more we feel good ourselves.

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