I once worked at a company that had a very different culture than what I was used to. Even though it was very different, it was so much fun getting to know my coworkers and experience the culture. I did not agree with the decisions the management did, but I faithfully carried out their goals and plans. Often the goals were contradictory and when I mentioned this to my supervisor he agreed with me but said that I should still do them anyway.
One day there was a major problem with the Internet going out, and even though the IT department and I were working on it, it wasn’t a simple fix. The problem dragged into the morning, and hours passed. Too much time passed and the entire company was disconnected from the Internet. It doesn’t matter why, but the fix took time to do. While this was being fixed I was very stressed about it, since a business failure like having no Internet is something that you get fired over. So I was helping other people as I could while my boss was doing what he needed to do to fix the situation. When I was helping someone I was upset and frustrated and one of my coworkers said to me “I know that you want things to go smoothly Brian, but work isn’t everything.” She touched my arm as a gesture of kindness and I was overwhelmed at her kindness. I was fearing the worst for the company, and myself, but she helped me put it in perspective.
Sometimes a simple word of kindness makes all the difference. Even years later I smile thinking of her kindness and hope she is happy wherever she is.
Have you ever meet anyone who listens to you with their entire being? I did, and it changed my life. I went to a wellness doctor because I wanted to be as healthy as I could be. Remember one of my favorite books is called The Seven Habits of Effective People? The reason I bring this up is that one of the rules is “Sharpen the saw”. The idea is that you have to sharpen and improve yourself (the saw) if you are going to use it as a tool. It makes perfect sense. So to me, investing in my health, happiness or anything that will reduce inefficiency is a helpful thing.
Here is how I knew that this doctor was listening to me. As I was describing the purpose of my visit, I felt a pain in my back. My shoulder moved slightly and I didn’t think anything else happened, until I stopped and told the doctor what just happened. She said “I know.” I asked how she could know and she said “I was watching you and could tell from how your body reacted.” I realized that not only was she listening with her ears, but also listening with her eyes. To me, this was an example to me on how I could listen to other people.
Listening is hard. I don’t have any easy answer. You have to stop paying attention to the chattering monkey in your mind throwing the days audio around in your head. You have to focus on the other person and really try to understand where they are coming from and how it feels to be them. However it is so worth it, and while you might feel you have done much, you have done everything that you need to do. You have listened to someone else and let them express themselves, and that is crucial to anyone’s happiness.