The Simple Power of Genuine Kindness: A True Story

My client acquired a large company and I went along for his initial meetings with his new employees. In the afternoon he planned a company-wide address.

That morning, we met for several hours with top executives. (Talk about emotions on full display: ego, anxiety, obsequiousness, defensiveness, fear, excitement… When the new sheriff comes to town all the icy-cool corporate masks are quickly removed.)

The meeting ended at noon and when we walked out fifteen minutes later he noticed a sizable buffet set up on the other side of the atrium. There were plenty of people standing around in white coats and black slacks but no one in line or sitting at tables.

“What’s that for?” he asked a person walking past.

“The company arranged a meal for after your meeting,” she said. “A local restaurant closed for the day to come here.” She paused. “I think the chef and her staff were really excited about it,” she said, her voice trailing off at the end.

“Has anyone eaten?” he asked.

“Um, I don’t think so,” she said.

He stood looking a few moments. Even from a distance it was evident the catering staff was confused and disappointed.

“Come on,” he said to me. “We’re eating.”

And we did.

But he did more than just eat. He spent a few minutes talking to every — every — member of the staff. Many already knew who he was and while initially hesitant they quickly warmed up to him.

And why wouldn’t they? He complimented the food. He complimented the service. He joked and laughed. And when we had finished eating he said, “We can’t let great food go to waste!” and borrowed two white coats so we could serve them. Then he made the rounds of the tables and happily leaned into all the selfies.

When we finally left, he waved and smiled.

They smiled bigger.

Sure, it took a lot of his time. Sure, it took him off point and off focus and off schedule.

Sure, they loved him for it.

I already knew the answer but as we got in the car I still asked. “I know your schedule,” I said. “You didn’t have time to stop to eat. Besides, no one else did, so no one would have noticed.”

“I felt bad for them,” he said. “They tried hard to do a good job and everyone blew them off. How bad must that feel? So it was the least I could do.

“Maybe my staff thought they were too busy,” he continued. “Or maybe they thought they were too important. But clearly they were too self-absorbed to notice they were hurting other people’s feelings.”

He thought for a few seconds. “And maybe they’re the wrong people for the job, ” he said.**

Much of the time we want famous people to be so humble they don’t recognize there’s a fuss, or a special buzz surrounding, or that people are excited to see them. We want them to be oblivious to their fame or importance. (After all, if they’re tooaware… that means they’re too full of themselves.)

But what we should really want is for famous or notable people to recognize that in the eyes of others, they are special — and that other people might want something from them, even if that something is the simple recognition that what they do matters.

Because it does.

Picture a CEO walking into a building for an important meeting. Maybe he says hello to the receptionist. (Maybe.) Otherwise he only has time for the people at his level. It’s like no one else exists; they’re just unseen cogs in a giant machine.

Unfortunately, at times, we all do the same thing. We talk to the people we’resupposed to talk to. We recognize the people we’re supposed to recognize. We mesh with the cogs in the machine we’re expected to mesh with, but there are many other important cogs.

So go out of your way to smile to everyone. Or to nod. Or to introduce yourself.

And when someone does something to help you, even in the smallest way and even if it’s their job to do so, go out of your way to say thanks. Make it your mission to recognize the people behind the tasks: the people that support, that assist, and that make everything possible.

Even though most of us aren’t famous or notable, by recognizing people — especially those who have been conditioned not to expect to be recognized — we add a little extra meaning and dignity to their lives.

And that’s the best reason to go off point, off focus, and off task.

Although, when you think about it, you really aren’t taking yourself away from an important task. You’re just shifting to an equally important task: showing people they matter — especially to you.

** Six months later only three of the original 22 remained.

-Jeff Haden

Link : https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/simple-power-genuine-kindness-true-story-jeff-haden

Coffee On The Wall

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I sat with my friend in a well-known coffee shop in a neighboring town of Venice, Italy, the city of lights and water.

As we enjoyed our coffee, a man entered and sat at an empty table beside us. He called the waiter and placed his order saying, “Two cups of coffee, one of them there on the wall.”

We heard this order with rather interest and observed that he was served with one cup of coffee but he paid for two.

When he left, the waiter put a piece of paper on the wall saying “A Cup of Coffee”.

While we were still there, two other men entered and ordered three cups of coffee, two on the table and one on the wall. They had two cups of coffee but paid for three and left. This time also, the waiter did the same; he put a piece of paper on the wall saying, “A Cup of Coffee”.

It was something unique and perplexing for us. We finished our coffee, paid the bill and left.

After a few days, we had a chance to go to this coffee shop again. While we were enjoying our coffee, a man poorly dressed entered. As he seated himself, he looked at the wall and said, “One cup of coffee from the wall.”

The waiter served coffee to this man with the customary respect and dignity. The man had his coffee and left without paying.

We were amazed to watch all this, as the waiter took off a piece of paper from the wall and threw it in the trash bin.

Now it was no surprise for us – the matter was very clear. The great respect for the needy shown by the inhabitants of this town made our eyes well up in tears.

Ponder upon the need of what this man wanted. He enters the coffee shop without having to lower his self-esteem… he has no need to ask for a free cup of coffee… without asking or knowing about the one who is giving this cup of coffee to him… he only looked at the wall, placed an order for himself, enjoyed his coffee and left.

A truly beautiful thought. Probably the most beautiful wall you may ever see anywhere!

-Author Unknown

Wranglers and Stranglers….

Years ago there was a group of brilliant young men at the University of Wisconsin, who seemed to have amazing creative literary talent. They were would-be poets, novelists and essayists. These men were merciless with one another. They dissected the minutest literary expression into a hundred pieces. They were heartless, tough, even mean in their criticism, and this exclusive club called themselves the ‘Stranglers’.

Not to be outdone, the women of literary talent in the university were determined to start a club of their own, one comparable to the Stranglers. They called themselves the ‘Wranglers’. They, too, read their works to one another. But there was one great difference. The criticism was much softer, more positive, more encouraging. Sometimes, there was almost no criticism at all.

Twenty years later an alumnus of the university was doing an exhaustive study of his classmates’ careers when he noticed a vast difference in the literary accomplishments of the Stranglers as opposed to the Wranglers. Of all the bright young men in the Stranglers, not one had made a significant literary accomplishment of any kind. From the Wranglers had come six or more successful writers, some of national renown such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, who wrote The Yearling.

What made the difference? The Stranglers strangled, while the Wranglers were determined to give each other a lift. The Stranglers promoted an atmosphere of contention and self-doubt. The Wranglers highlighted the best, not the worst.

Are you a wrangler or a strangler?? ..Needs reflection…

Regards,

Clearstreamofreason