Simplesteps is centered on building and keeping friendships and influencing people around you for good. This particular post has been sitting in queue for some time but a timely comment from a friend of mine brought it to my attention this morning:
simple step #5 – Tell them of their good deeds
If a person has ever made a positive impact on you in some way, no matter how small, always make sure to let them know how you were affected by their influence in your life. It’s even ok to let some time lapse before you tell them… it’s meaningful that you carry the memory. Again, it’s a simple step, but the residual is immeasurable. Pulling someone aside to let them know that they’ve helped you will instantly establish a thread of connection that will always be there. Even the grumpiest of souls love to hear that they’ve helped others, especially when it was inadvertent! This simple step inspires others to be even more helpful and has the power to unlock strengths that may have otherwise remained dormant.
TL;DR – Let people know when they’ve helped you specifically… it encourages them to be helpers in general.
I asked on Facebook, “How many degrees separate you from someone famous?” The replies I got back were fascinating! I mean, we all know a guy who knows a guy… but I found out that I was friends with someone who gets her own climatic frame in Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead or Alive video… It’s all, “I’ve seen a million faces, and I ROCKED them ALL!” – BOOM, there she is! How she ever made it through middle-school without an entourage following her wherever she went will forever leave my mind blown. Other lovely bits included folks who were related to the guy that wrote Human Nature on MJ’s Thriller album, an Alec Balwin plane ride, a friend who was in an undocumented Honda commercial and a couple of private messages about Jay Leno connections (I’m amazed at how many of my friends have met Jay Leno.)
I’m not sure why it’s so exhilarating to find connections with famous people, but perhaps it’s because we all want to feel a part of something greater than ourselves. What’s even *more* exhilarating is knowing that you’re a part of someone ELSE’S story. Have you ever met someone and they responded with, “Hey, I’ve heard of YOU! So and so was telling me about *insert trivial fact here*.” It’s cathartic. It’s like that moment in Guardians of the Galaxy:
I try to make it a practice to name drop all the time. My only problem is that I don’t know any famous people. I DO, however, know plenty of people who are just as worthy of mention. Take time to boast about folks that NO ONE is talking about. Talk about how much it lifted your spirits when Cara left a special note on your car window. Talk about what a blessing it was when Nick covered your lunch when you were short on cash. Call them out BY NAME. It may or may not ever get back to them, but if it does, you’re one step closer to making them feel like they’re a part of something bigger. There’s a tapestry being woven… a greater story being told. We’re all connected in at least a few ways and getting to be a part of that narrative is one of the highest honors I can imagine.
TL;DR – Speak openly of people’s good qualities and call them out by name. It strengthens them and encourages others.
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie
simple step #4 – You gotta learn to listen, Lou.
I’ve actually learned this life lesson on accident. I used to work where my desk sat in a high-traffic area and it wasn’t uncommon for folks to say things to me as they walked by. I was pretty used to it and didn’t make much of it. Eventually, passerby’s would share more and more as I passively let them vent. I never really gave advice… I would just listen, nod my head in agreement, show empathy and wish them well. As time went on, people would go out of their way to come by to give me updates on their wins, their losses, their struggles, etc. I’ve since moved to another building but have noticed that regardless of where you go, if you take the time to listen, people are inclined to share their stories with you. Try it! Try it for the next 30 days. No matter what people are sharing with you, don’t change the subject and don’t talk about yourself or give any advice. Let any feedback you give be an indication that the person is being heard and understood. Let them know you are interested in what they are sharing. Of course, the goal is to cultivate a genuine appreciation for others and their lives. The discipline it takes to not interrupt and to turn down the voices in your head will cause you to be a safe person to share with.
Being present and available to listen is one of the most important things you can do to be a strength to others. That is why THIS simple step receives Tom’s Fancy Stamp of Approval:
TL;DR – When people share, show an interest. LISTEN to understand… not to prepare a statement.
I’ve created a new category called “simplesteps.” I’d challenge you to add these quick, easy-to-read, 1-step practices to your repertoire and watch how much it influences and impacts the world around you.
simple step #2: My eyes are up here!
You’re in a crowded room. An acquaintance you haven’t seen in a while makes their way towards you. Smiles are exchanged as pleasant “How are YOU’s” are extended. The person talking to you seems generally excited to fill you in on everything you’ve missed since you last saw them. During the exchange, however, your eyes shift from looking at that person to looking over their shoulder to see who else is in the room. Because, what if there’s a conversation to be had that might be more interesting, right? In one fell swoop, you’ve turned into that girl you wish you hadn’t started a conversation with at a party.
Don’t be a statistis.
One of the quickest ways to hurt a person is to give off the impression that there are other things you’d rather be doing than giving them your attention. When you talk to someone, look them in the eye and treat them like they’re the most important person on the planet. It goes a long way towards becoming a person of influence and helping others feel like they matter. You may never realize the ripples that two minutes of your full attention will have on your community and the people around you.
TL;DR – Treat everyone you come in contact with like they matter more than anyone else in the room.