Today is one of the rare moments that I have slept past 4:30 am, and I'm feeling slightly guilty about it. I'm up drinking my coffee and preparing my list of to-dos and goals before the activities of the day take over my schedule. I am behind in several tasks this week because I have given the allocated time slots to people who needed my assistance. Despite my slightly overwhelming task list, I think I have made a great investment this week. Even though I don't know the payoff, I am betting the return will be better than 1:1.
I ran across a quote by Maya Angelou yesterday:
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
What a remarkably simple insight that reveals our common need, the need to be valued. While I do believe that some need more reinforcement of their value than others, I don't know a single person who doesn't smile or warm to genuine kindness.
Sometimes it is very difficult to do, especially when the other person is being rude or disrespectful. Yet how I respond to it is about me and not him or her. I don't have to be disrespectful in return.
I remember that once I was very angry with my brother in law. I unleashed all of my hurt and anger on him for something that, ultimately, he did not do. He could have responded with anger but he responded with a gentleness that completely disarmed me. He acknowledged that I was very unhappy and that he understood why. It was really the only thing I wanted to hear. I saw instantly that he was not to blame and that how I was feeling was all about what was happening with me, not him. I will never, ever forget that moment. I will never, ever forget how he made me feel. I was valued. My feelings, my needs are important.
As I sit here looking at the task list that I hope to accomplish today, my larger goal is to make people feel valued. After all, business for me can be just "busy ness" if I don't take time to celebrate what it is that we do and who it is that we do it with.