Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Make a Better Day or Make a Day Better?

We have the ability to make one another feel better - each and every day. The number of people who offer that gift to me - the worthiest of human traits - is far too long a list to compose here. Sometimes the people are strangers never to be seen again. Other times, they are friends and family. More and more it happens virtually over this new fangled internet thing :). Every time it happens, lives are touched.

This reflection on humanity began a couple Fridays ago. I was standing in line at a fast food joint located in a food court. Normally, I carry a lunch but Friday is my day to eat out. A perfect stranger approached me:

Perfect Stranger: which of these restaurants is better?
Me: They are both equally good - it depends on what you're hungry for.
Perfect Stranger: We're visiting from Edmonton, Alberta, and attending a basketball camp. I have four 16 year olds. They are hungry.
Me: This one offers a little bigger portions. That one has a shorter line.
Perfect Stranger: The one you are going to looks good. What line of work are you in?
Me: I work at the newspaper and am in marketing. Are you in town for Hoopfest? Does the camp form a couple teams to play?
Perfect Stranger: No, it's a coincidence. The kids wanted to attend the Gonzaga camp. We had no idea there was this much activity this weekend in your town. I read your paper this morning. It's good.
I liked him right away :) And so it went as the line got shorter. We shared conversation. I felt like an ambassador for Spokane. He felt welcomed. I learned about Edmonton and how the economy is exploding. Plus a little about his work. He said "thanks" and we were on our separate ways. We made a better day. Or did we make the day better?

Episode Two: On Independence Day, I went for a bike ride - training, you know - and stopped for a Starbucks. (side note: notice how its not coffee anymore, its Starbucks - HA!). It was a gorgeous mid week morning where most workers in the US have the day off - except for the baristas. I'm sipping my coffee at an outside table, guarding my bike and watching people come and go. Some are happier than others.
Perfect Stranger: How's your ride this morning?
Me: It was great! This is my favorite part - sitting and thinking how beautiful the world is from the saddle of a bicycle (Admittedly, I was philosophizing a bit ;)
Perfect Stranger: What line of work are you in?
Me: Newspapers - and you?
Perfect Stranger: Retired - when I was 59.
Me: I have a few more years until then. You better get some coffee. (some say I'm too bossy - LOL)
He came back, sat down and thus began 45 minutes of face to face conversation. I thought I could talk?!?!? Seems he has a son at Fort Lewis (other side of the state) who is Green Beret and a daughter nearby. His pride for both of them shone bright. He's spent the better part of 15 years traveling about after selling his ranch in Texas. Really liked Oregon but was fascinated with the country just north of here and south of Canada. Again, I felt like an ambassador saying things like "This is a hard place to leave once you settle in".

Once again days are made better through communication, sharing and opening ourselves.

Here are links to the postings - and influencers - for this entry:

Jackie Cameron - if you haven't checked Jackie's blog you really should. The link points to her entry on "How do you make people feel"?
Phil Gerbyshak - the make it great guy. Phil posted a question on LinkedIn (not sure if you can get there without membership but try - let me know). He got 43 answers (and counting) on how to make a bad day better.
Mack Collier - About the same time Phil posted his question, Mack put this post up. It's a question on the value of two social networks - MyBlogLog and LinkedIn. At least part of the value is in how we make each other feel.

Jackie closes her post with this quote attributed to Maya Angelou. I close with it, too:
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will remember how you made them feel.

6 comments:

Mack Collier said...

"I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will remember how you made them feel."

That's a great quote, and very true! Thanks for a great post, Bob!

Jackie Cameron said...

Hi Bob...starting the day reading your blog is a great way to make a day great.
I remember an elderly lady saying that I would probably be the only person she spoke to that day after a brief exchange about the weather. Since then I have tried to make sure that I share a smile or a "how are you?" with members of the older generation.
Otherwise - I love to chat - so it is never a hardship for me to talk to strangers...no matter where they are in the world. After all a stranger is only someone you don't know - yet.

Lewis Green said...

Bob,

I think this is one of your best posts and should be read widely. My family raised me to engage strangers in conversation, including the homeless. It drives my wife crazy but I learn lots and feel better about myself after each engagement. I hope those I talk with feel the same.

Bob Glaza said...

Thank you Mack - like most of the really great quotes in life - I stole it :) - Someone in the community grown around Viral Garden and MarketingProfs is a blog that uses it for their motto or tag or whatever you want to call it :) And Jackie ended her recent post with it. I'm tickled you connect with it - as I knew you would.

Jackie - thank you for sharing through comments and through your blog. Here's to every day being great!

Lewis - you gave me chills with your comment. Your perception is valued more than you'll know. Perhaps I should tell the story of breaking bread in the homeless shelter? You've always struck me as a great conversationalist - learning young helps a lot - and you damn sure can bet both people in a random conversation come away feeling better. Thank you, thank you!

CK said...

Indeed one of your bests...it's just so you.

Yep, how we make each other feel is what it's all about. So many try to give me the rational argument (not emotional) and I'm like "um, then why care about branding?". Emotion always wins because, well because we're human. When people tell me that humans are rational I explain we can't possibly be. Why?

Because we love.

Which is pretty irrational when you think about it (but it sure is wonderful).

Lots of love my hippy pal.

Bob Glaza said...

Awww thanks CK - I'm not sure my Friday could start any better...although I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night :) HA HA!

You peg me right away as a feeler. The transparency our humanity demands - while a little scary at times - is like a growth hormone to me...all legal and FDA approved :)