I used to be a writer who didn't drink coffee. Who ever heard of such a thing? AND I was a writer who didn't burn the midnight oil. I preferred to get up to write while the early bird was picking out her worm. Then I became a writer who didn't write.
Which meant I was no writer at all.
It took the kind words of a friend. She looked me square in the eyes and said, "I am going to hound you for the rest of your life about this if I have to. You NEED to write. You MUST write. I love your writing.You have a voice that needs to be heard."
Wow. Her words made me realize I HAD stopped writing. I was getting over the tragic death of a friend, dealing with some health issues, navigating massive changes at work, and in the midst of all that my blog, poetry, and music had gone completely silent. The most I had typed was my eBay log-in name and password. Not good. NOT a writer. She pointed this out not in a "Hey Slacker, why the heck aren't you writing!" kind of way, but in a "Girl, you NEED to do this because you're good at it!" way. Big difference. I heard love in the second one. Kind of like sugar in the medicine, you know?
OK, so I know I just blogged a compliment, (LOVE it when that happens!) but I bring this up not because to brag, but because I want to share how the simplest words can do amazing things.
I already know that! You say.
But do you LIVE it?
Do I live it?
If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say: "I can't remember the last time my boss thanked me," I would be able to leave my retirement account to my unborn children and settle into a nice little Hacienda in Santa Barbara. OK, maybe not Santa Barbara, but Oxnard. In a recession. And maybe not a Hacienda, but a really, really nice condo, one block from the beach. OK, maybe ten blocks, but STILL--you get my point. Those two words -- "Thank you" don't get said enough. I am no perfect boss or person, but I do try to say those words on a regular basis. As the 60's hippies used to say, I try to Spread the Love. (Unfortunately, they spread a lot more than love, but that is beside the point.) Whenever I say thank you, someone either lights up into a big smile or tries to act nonchalant--either way, I can tell they are bursting with pride. There's nothing more motivating than feeling appreciated.
I figured out another way to thank someone: Take their advice and then tell them you did. I took the advice of someone at work to go visit a particular vacation spot and when I did, I came back and told her all about it. I even used the words, "I took your advice" and she lit up like a Vegas billboard. Such simple words - "I took your advice" yet so powerful. This is what I mean by living out our thankfulness. I could have gone to the vacation spot and never told her. By TELLING her "I took her advice" and saying "I loved it!" I created a powerful moment of thankfulness.
Another phrase that has gone "MIA" at work is "Sorry" or "My mistake." These can be tough words to say when we have screwed something up. We worry we are going to lose credibility, or the confidence of our employees or Supervisor. In fact, in my experience, the exact opposite is true. I actually gain credibility and confidence from others when I am willing to admit I screwed something up, misunderstood, or accidentally dropped the ball. Notice I said "accidentally"--you CAN lose credibility and trust if you are a blatant ball-dropper and a "Sorry!" won't clean-up the mess. But everyone screws up once in awhile and the best thing to do is just admit it. Try using "Sorry" sometime and you'll see what I mean.
By the way, for more tips on how to say sorry at work, see my article for GovLoop here: How to Say Sorry at Work and Mean It
So now, thanks to my friend's kind words, I am a writer who writes again. Oh, and I am also drinking coffee. But that is thanks to someone else. (And going to Paris last year had a little something to do with it, too!)
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