Losing a beloved family member is always hard, but it can also bring intense moments of joy as memories are shared and savored. When my father passed away this spring, I was comforted by dozens and dozens of stories of his warmth, generosity, and sense of humor.
As expected, his church family, ham radio buddies, computer pals, and fellow theater organ enthusiasts all had sweet and funny recollections to share. What I didn’t expect was a 10-minute dissertation on my father’s virtues as observed by his termite guy!
You see, shortly after my father’s death, his house was due for its annual termite inspection. When I met the pest control representative at the door, I welcomed him in, and he immediately asked about my dad. When I explained the situation, he expressed his condolences with sincerity, and commenced telling me how much he enjoyed his annual visits, with my father always making him laugh, discussing the fine points of home maintenance, and bemoaning the encroachment of old age. All this from spending less than an hour a year with my dad.
So why am I telling you this?
Just to remind you that every person you encounter—even briefly, even occasionally—can be positively or negatively affected by how you choose to treat them.
As professionals, we usually manage to treat coworkers, colleagues, and members with at least superficial courtesy and respect. But do we always extend that same kindness to those seemingly less important contacts we have day by day? In our haste to be productive and efficient, do we sometimes treat others thoughtlessly or abruptly? And do we build genuine connections with those we work with?
As you make your way through your busy day today, be your best self to everyone whose life you touch, even briefly. Ask yourself, “What would my termite guy say about me?”