Not long ago I found myself on a conference call working through a professional association matter. On the other end were people that I knew but just slightly: I like them but didn’t have a great deal of history with them.
Just as the call started a voice came on and said, “Hi Chris, this is Judy.” Turns out it was someone I’d worked with in another association years before. Almost two decades ago.
She proceeded to tell everyone on the call how I’d reached out to her when she was brand new to town and asked her to sit on a board. She never forgot that. I had. Judy said I was the first person to extend a hand to her and it made all the difference in feeling welcome. I was blushing.
The point is not what a great guy I am: I can share many an anecdote that belies that. But just as yesterday’s post spoke to the power of No, the power to enrich ourselves and our lives by saying no to excessive demands on same, today’s deals with the power of little things. Little acts of kindness and courtesy. Reaching out when you can.
I’d forgotten some of the things Judy mentioned, but she hadn’t. And as she told others on the line you could tell they were seeing me in a fuller dimension. How helpful it is when people get to know us in a more complete way via referrals through history. And how helpful it is when people acknowledge what impacts we’ve had on them.
And yet, we do not reach out for personal gain or notoriety, we do so because it is the way of the colleague. The way of the peer. To extend yourself – through an introduction, a phone call, inclusion on a committee – can help others. And in helping others we in fact help ourselves. We speed collaboration, growth and learning.
The last time I checked professional life was all about collaboration, growth and learning.
So the little things we do for others, whether brand new associates or longtime friends, really do matter. It is, as they say, the little things.
The next time you can do something for someone professionally don’t wonder so much what’s in it for you. Offer your hand gladly either in handshake, typing on a keypad or dialing a number and do what you can where you are with what you have. You enriching the circle of professional relationships making that congress ever more effective. What’s in it for you is strengthening your professional bonds and opening the door to new possibilities even if you don’t see that quid pro quo return immediately.
Its a little like gardening: planting in the fall or spring reaps rewards months later. Sometimes we even forget what we’ve planted. But as the spring rains gently feed our gardens our earlier efforts feed our souls with the emergence of beauty and sustenance.
Such is life.
Little things matter.