This is a blog entry I wrote for another blog a few years ago. That site has since been decommissioned so I thought I would publish it here.
Sometimes it is the Small Stuff…
When I see someone I tend to acknowledge them with a “Hi,” “Good morning,” or at least a nod of the head. At one point in my life, I worked in a large, government building. When I entered in the morning, I tended to greet everyone in some way. I really didn’t think anything of it. Then, one day, I woke up in a really bad mood. I walked into the building sulking. As I walked to my office people greeted me as I always greeted them. By the time I got to my office, I realized that my mood had changed significantly and that I was now in a pretty good mood.
I then realized the true worth of that brief “hello” or “good morning” that I greeted people with every morning. It is a small thing… And ultimately it leads me to the belief that one of the biggest gifts I can give someone is for them to experience a heartfelt smile.
As a trained scientist and engineer I have been trained to pay close attention to the facts and logical progressions. During one of my first jobs, my manager called me over and introduced me to an engineer. She told me that he was having a problem with a program and that she wanted to help me tell him out to fix the problem. She put two conditions on me: 1) I had 15 minutes to do this. 2) All I could do was talk to him, and I was to tell him what I intuitively thought the problem was. To make sure I followed the rules, she stood with us. (Yeah, she knew that sometimes play loose with the rules.) After talking to the engineer for a while I told him what I would instinctually look for. He went away scratching his head and she told me to go back to what I was doing.
About 10 minutes later, she showed up at my desk. She told me that I had pointed the engineer directly at the problem and that his program was now working. As part of the conversation, she shared that she had learned to trust my intuition more than most people’s contemplative responses.
That exchange taught me to use my intuition as a resource. In general, it tends to point me in the right direction. Thanks to the lesson she taught me that day I learned that my analytic ways could benefit from the insight that that soft and nebulous intuition could provide.
It was a small thing….
In high school one of my hobbies was photography. I taught some community education courses in photography during the evenings. One day, during the summer break, my father called me and told me to come down to his office. The president of the corporation wanted to learn about photography and wanted me to spend a few hours teaching him about it. … This was my father’s boss’s, boss’s boss. As prepared to drive to my father’s office I found myself getting extremely nervous. This guy had a lot of influence over my father and I knew my effectiveness would reflect on him. I realized that if I allowed that to happen then I wasn’t going to be effective. The analytical side of me came out and I started thinking of the president as I would any other person. When I arrived at my father’s office, I had calmed down and the meeting went extremely well.
Those few hours one afternoon reinforced the fact that we are all humans first. That we can all learn from each other and that we all have something to share. A short meeting between an executive and a teenager changed how the teenager viewed a wide range of people. Now, as an adult, when I have to talk to people I am rarely intimidated by a person’s position. Respectful, yes. Intimidated, no.
It was a small thing…
I can go on with a long list of small events throughout my life that altered the path I was on.
I have to wonder how many times that I have done something that was a small thing to me that altered the direction of someone’s life path.
I have to believe that at the end of my current journey, the biggest contribution I will have made will be the result of many small things that I never realized that I did. And that the stuff I thought was the “big stuff” was ultimately small stuff.