Key Point: I want to wish everyone Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
In the spirit of the holiday, I’d like to retell a story from when my dad, Leo Rubis, was dying in the palliative care unit, first posted here in May, 2010. It’s the perfect example of living with Character this season.
My mom gets a call from a friend of my dad who is in her late 80′s. She insists on visiting my dad in the hospital to say goodbye before he dies. So she talks her nurse into driving some 60 miles in the dead of a Western Canadian Winter so she can get to his bedside. Why?
Apparently some 80 plus years ago, my dad and his neighbor friend, Alice, the lovely gal referred to above, had to walk three miles to and from school. One miserable blizzard, with frigid temperatures below -30 degrees, found my dad and Alice struggling to walk home. Alice said her hands were so cold she was weeping in pain. Her mitts got wet sitting on the classroom radiator and froze along with her hands on the trek home. My dad, 7-years-old at the time, gave Alice his mitts to wear instead. She never forgot that generosity.
- Don’t forget to “give up your mitts” sometimes. You may get a hug 80 years later. Your generosity matters.
Key Point: In this season of gift giving I want to remind you to give yourself and others a huge gift that scientifically is proven to generate emotional and even material wealth, yet is absolutely free: A SMILE.
Ron Gutman has written a book Smile: The Astonishing Powers of a Simple Act. Please allow yourself 10 minutes to watch the following entertaining video by Gutman on this topic in TED talk. Share it with people you care about. Put in their digital Christmas stocking.
The facts are overwhelming. People, who genuinely smile a lot, live longer, are perceived to be smarter, have less stress, and just do better in life. If you want to review the wealth of studies and research that support this premise, read Gutman’s book. If you want a practical test, just walk around the building you’re in now and observe smiling. Think about the good feeling that is generated when someone just smiles at you. One fact that reinforced this for me is that little kids smile about 400 times a day; we adults a heck of a lot less (see our grandson, right, with his first ice cream cone).
- Consciously think about smiling a heck of a lot more. It is free AND has a huge ROI! (Go check the facts if you think this suggestion is just mushy do da.)
- Walk in your work area and smile at everyone on the way in the morning. Do the same thing when you leave for the day.
- Do not take things so darn seriously. Even the most serious business/work issue is a candidate for a smile. It isn’t usually a life or death matter. So be a strong, tough minded, disciplined leader and just friggin’ smile.
Smile Power in the Triangle,
I’m fired up about Guy Kawasaki’s new book Enchantment. Why? It is so darn practical and reinforces the elements of the Character Triangle! As an example, Kawasaki connects trustworthiness and giving. So here is a little reality checklist by Kawasaki to see how much giving is a habit:
- Give with pure joy to those that cannot help you. Who did you do that for recently?
- Give early to someone well before you need to ask for help back. Your recent example?
- Give often and generously; the more you give the more you receive. How are you on this?
- Give unexpectedly. Surprise and enjoy without expecting anything in return. And this?
- Ask for reciprocation. Occasionally, but not on a transaction basis, ask for a favor in return. This deepens the relationship. Your score?
Character Move: Just Give! Make it a habit. And then do it more. The little old lady in purple that needed some genuine conversation and disabled priest struggling to catch a taxi – these are my wife’s and my little giving examples yesterday. Hope you had some too.
Abundant in the Triangle,
Giving because we want to and with purpose gives us self gratification and definition.
Over the holiday season it is interesting to observe the act of giving and receiving. I tried to make note of this during the holidays. When people gave without expectation, they seemed to be the most joyful and gratified. When expectations were attached the giving sometimes is compromised by disappointment. If I give a person a gift, how grateful should they be? How much appreciation shown is enough? If I invite guests over for dinner how much should they fuss over how great the meal is? Now I do enjoy it when I obviously (by their sincere reaction) bring delight to others but it seems to be the best to give without expecting anything in return at all. Giving with sincerity and for the purity of giving is all we really need. Any reciprocation is great but unnecessary when we have purpose in mind.
At work the very same principle applies. When we offer help, resources, our time, or encouragement, it is most gratifying when there are no strings attached. We can bring definition to what we value by what we attend to.
- Action: I would like to challenge you and me to consciously give recognition to 1 person at work every day through 2011. To make it real let’s post it in our calendars. It can be a simple verbal thank you, an email, a hand written note, etc. Let’s expect zero in return. We need to be specific and genuine in our observation. Let’s see what happens. (This should take less than 120 seconds a day). No excuses. It is belief, purpose, commitment, and habit. If we miss a day, let’s make it up by giving recognition 2 times the next day.
Give in the Triangle,