Caught in the rat race, we often forget that little gestures can leave lasting impressions. We lose track of the little things we do and can do, to add meaning to those that we interact with. Whether you realize it or not, sometimes, it’s the little things that can have a lasting impact and shape the future.
I was served up a big dose of reality on this very topic yesterday afternoon.
This past week was one of those weeks. Buried under an avalanche of work, the week actually started on the previous Saturday and include a weekend of preparing for an extremely important and busy week ahead. I had several major presentations accompanied by trips to multiple cities. Added to the mix, was a busy family week of activities and the start of my training schedule for my next race. To say it was a long week was an understatement.
Physically spent and mentally drained, I laid down on the couch looking for a reprieve from the trials and tribulations of the hectic week. A short five minutes into my escape, my phone rings. The caller ID displays a name of a former co-worker that I haven’t talk to in over a year. I reluctantly decided to answer the call.
The call starts off with the normal pleasantries then it gets to the point. Someone that I had known for 15 years had unexpectedly passed away and he wanted to let me know the details of the upcoming services. But more importantly, he wanted to share a story that this individual (Don) had shared with him a few short days prior to his passing.
Don shared how he and I had first met and how our relationship had developed over the years. He said that if it wasn’t for me and my help, he would never be where he was. He said that I was an “old school” sales professional that always did the little things to make him and others feel special. He went on to say he considered me to be the best sales person he had ever known.
Wow, not what I was expecting.
I first met Don in an account that I was trying to crack. He wasn’t a big shot or anything close. He was just a guy in operations that I met and was fortunate to get know over time. I would occasionally drop by with coffee or donuts for him and his co-workers. Talk with him about his family and the things that were going on in his life. I would also send an occasional note or card for special occasions. He ended up leaving that account and moved on to a new position in another company. Several years later, I walked into a different account and there’s Don. We get caught up and promise to stay in touch. A reached out to him several times over the years and on one occasion I talked with him and he tells me he is getting laid off. I happened to know of an opening with my (former) company and I tell him to send me his resume and I would do what I could for him.
Long story short, Don gets the job and ends up working there until his passing. I didn’t know how much of an impact I really had on him until I got the call.
Sometimes, the little things make a big difference to the people in your life. Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring; all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
Since the little things are easy to do, they are also easy not to do. The little things that lead to success are mostly easy to do. You just have to do them.
Thanks for the reminder Don. I am humbled by your kind words and I am honored to have known you. RIP my friend.