Getting to the airport with some time to spare allowed for lunch. Within a few seconds of being in line, the gentleman in front of me turned around and asked me if he was in the correct line. “You are in the line for Potbelly’s,” I replied, without initially noticing his long cane. Another second or two passed, I leaned towards him and in a hushed tone, “If I can assist, I’m here to help.” He nodded and we continued to wait.
As we shuffled towards the register, I was now beside him. He turned to me and asked for help picking out his bag of chips. Without hesitation, I discreetly spoke the wide variety of chips from which he could select. He got his chips and moved toward the register to pay for his lunch. He thanked me and I wished him well.
A unique encounter for me, for sure. One with many facets. Here’s what impacted me as I ruminated about my exchanges with him. He risked asking for help for his preferred bag of chips! What a contrast as I am grateful for the ease at which I have moved through my days, where simple and even some complex tasks, rarely require asking for help.
While I’ve gotten more comfortable asking for help, I’m also more cognizant of slowing down and reflecting on all my gratitude. From big things like my health, my family, and other relationships to the supposedly small things like being to order my lunch without asking for help, I have much to be grateful for.
What have I done with this? I have begun to create gratitude lists more regularly in my journal. From time spent on the phone with my college age sons, road cycling with good friends, and my new career all make the list. I have also made it a habit to begin meetings with each person stating something that they are grateful for. From one of my recent meetings, I heard people consistently referring to their family and loved ones as something they are especially grateful for. Hearing this feedback has made a palpable impact on the way the meeting feels, and the feedback from others has been positive.
These examples are simple but profound ways to start leading with an emphasis on connecting with your colleagues. It doesn’t take a new line item in the budget, but it does take a moment to pause and reflect. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know what you are doing to gain greater awareness around gratitude in your own life and your organization.