of my acquaintances often ask me how I come up with ideas for my
editorials every week. I tell them that it is easy when you are around
people all of the time. You just have to watch and listen. Life happens
and stories evolve on their own. Just the other day I received a letter
from a very good friend of mine. It was a very complimentary letter, and
she certainly made me feel good about being back with The Vision, but she
also included the following quotation: “Never take someone for granted.
Hold every person close to your heart because you might wake up one day
and realize that you’ve lost a diamond while you were too busy
collecting stones.” What a powerful message for all of us! And it is
something that each and every one of us can apply to our life right now
– no matter what we are doing.
For example, whenever I started a new job, I would naturally meet
the managers and supervisors who ultimately decided whether or not to hire
me. Once hired, however, the first two employees I immediately established
a sincere and honest relationship with were the oldest person on staff and
the janitor. After introducing myself to each of these people, I would
tell them how I was looking forward to working with the company, and then
I would ask them the following question, “What should I know about this
place in order to be successful and happy here?”
Sounds like a simple question. Sounds a lot like a question I
should have been asking the manager. However, ask the janitor of the
building that question when you first arrive on the job, and you will get
information that is invaluable. He will tell you clearly what you should
do to be happy and successful. He will tell you about things you should
avoid doing or saying and to whom that would have been impossible for you
to be aware of. He will also, without necessarily saying it in so many
words, be extremely proud of the fact that you took the time to recognize
that he has something important to offer. Others on staff may take him for
granted, but you didn’t.
When I then sat down with the oldest person on staff, I always made
sure I had plenty of time. For, when you begin a conversation with the
question above with a person who has the most experience with the company,
you will get a complete course in Success 101. If necessary, keep coming
back to her for clarification about things you may not have understood the
first time. She will always take time to talk to you.
Later, when I myself became one of the oldest people on staff, I
always looked for an opportunity to talk to new employees soon after they
started. I would invite them over to my desk where we would sit down and
just talk. I would ask them why they decided to work here and what their
goals were. During the conversation, I would try to slip in bits of advice
and tips that I knew would make the transition smoother for them. In each
and every case, they were all impressed that a “senior member of the
staff” would take time to talk to the “lowly new employee”. They
felt special knowing that someone would take the time to help them adjust
to their new position.
Always remember, that each and every person you meet is a
“diamond”. It doesn’t matter whether that person is a millionaire
athlete, or a person sweeping the street. Always find time to spend with
each “diamond” you come across. Show them that you sincerely care
about what they have to say. Offer them words of encouragement and advice
that will help them accomplish their own goals and objectives.
I have always believed firmly that no favour or act of kindness is
ever wasted. Show someone that you appreciate what they have to say and
that you think what they are doing is important, and you have given them a
greater gift than you can ever imagine.
So if you are starting a new job, beginning a new class, or joining
a new group or organization, talk to the oldest person and seek out
another person who may not appear to be very high on the chain of command.
Ask them what you should know in order to be successful and happy. If you
know a person who is new to your company or your group, take a few minutes
and talk to them. Show them that you care and give them some sound advice
on what they should do in order to be happy and successful. It won’t
take long, but it will certainly make a big difference to the person to
whom you have confided. Once you uncover and shine up the diamond, you can
go back to collecting stones.
Have a good week.