“When eating bamboo sprouts, remember the man who planted them.” — Chinese Proverb
Do you find that your life is busier than it’s ever been before? You’re taking on projects, going more places and meeting the people, and trying to get more done than ever before? You know that you’re not taking time for yourself, but you don’t know how you can change your situation. Unfortunately, you have your blinders on and, as you struggle to get your “stuff” done, you simply fail to notice the world around you.
Practicing mindfulness is one way you can intentionally start to pay attention to and be aware of what is happening around you. Sound a little too “woo-woo” for you? There is not only a lot of research supporting mindfulness, you’ll find benefits including stronger relationships, better health, and less stress.
Think about the number of times you go into your favorite coffee shop and take your bad mood out on the barrista. Thankfully, employees at Starbucks are trained to deal with your foul attitude, but not everyone has received that level of training. Do you take the time to notice the person behind the counter at your favorite fast food restaurant? How often do you say “Hello” or acknowledge the cleaning lady in your office? Colin Powell shares how he recognized the cleaning staff that took care of his beautiful office while in the White House. On a regular basis he would tell them, “If you didn’t accomplish your purpose, I couldn’t accomplish my purpose as secretary of state. We’re all all in this together.” What a beautiful acknowledgement for doing a job most people simply ignore (unless it’s not done). By taking the time to notice the people that serve you on a daily basis, you can make a huge difference in their day and possibly, in their life.
Here’s what can happen if you take the time to be kind … There’s a restaurant I frequent because of the numerous networking organizations I belong to. A waiter named Darren took care of us on several occasions. His service was so good, it was noticeable. Always. Smiling, never missing a beat, Darren was the consummate professional. My Positive Thinkers Network group had its first meeting at this restaurant. Darren was our waiter. This was a good thing, because we didn’t realize the draw this event would have. Instead of the 25-30 people we expected, we had 89 people show up — with separate checks. Again, Darren was on his game and he was fabulous.
One evening my husband and I went to eat and were fortunate enough to have Darren as our waiter. His service was great, as usual, including giving us a bag of cookies to take home because we were too full for dessert. As I was walking out of the restaurant, I asked the maître d’ for the general manager’s card. (Of course she looked at me with some concern.) I took the card and we left.
I sent Darren’s manager a card letting him know about the exceptional service and how pleased he should be that someone of Darren’s caliber worked for the restaurant. I sent the card and didn’t think too much about it again. The next time I went to this restaurant for my networking event, I found an envelope with my name on it. Here is what I found inside:
A Poem to Lisa Ryan
Positive thinking is a life raft to the soul when you feel like your ship is sinking…
A positive Outlook each day invites God’s special blessings to come your way…
Lisa, I can say with all positivity your act of kindness to my heart has forever inspired me…
My way of thanking you will to be to pass on that beautiful positive vibe and all you say and do…
It’s amazing how one person’s sunshine can incredibly change another’s life and it makes me proud to say, you’re a friend of mine.
God bless you, Darren
This beautiful poem was written by a waiter and was given to the person who took the time to notice the difference he was making. You have the power to make someone’s day just by acknowledging them.
If you want some more ideas on how to bring joy to someone else today, check out this article by Sophia Elias, “12 Simple Ways to Make Someone Else’s Day.”
Sometimes, the best friendships start with a simple, “Hello.”
About the Author: Employee engagement expert and motivational speaker Lisa Ryan works with organizations to help them keep their top talent and best customers from becoming someone else’s. For more information, please connect with Lisa at her website: www.grategy.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.