Thursday, April 5, 2012

Making the World a Better Place One Person at a Time

I just read 2 things yesterday that got me to thinking and inspired me to share them with you.
The first one was in a Blog article about my very good friend Alexa McCallister, and the 2nd was a book... more about that in a minute. What caught my attention in Alexa's story is how her mother started her from the tender age of 6 by teaching her to talk to the wait staff when she was out to dinner. She taught her how to ask them questions about themselves with the goal of teaching her daughter to socialize. But what Lex's mother accomplished that was even more important than Lex's ability to socialize, was how to find the value in every person she meets. Today, Lex has built a career of connecting people because she intuitively sees how they can help each other.
There is a connectivity thread in life, and when we begin to see it our lives start to have a larger vision and generally make more sense. Alexa's story put me in mind of my father, who always talked with the waitresses, "entertaining" them with his silly iced tea joke, and finding out about their lives. Some kids might have been embarrased, but for me, it was fun watching Daddy comfortably talk with everyone he met. I never realized (and he probably didn't either) that he was training me to pay attention to people. Without realizing that it was a "learned" behavior, I have gotten to know a lot of servers, clerks, even bathroom cleaning people over the years, just by smiling at them and starting a casual chit chat. I did it because I genuinely like people - getting to know about their lives. But there was a residual effect that I was less aware of until recently - it's possible that my little acts of friendliness made the other person's day a little better too.

The more I have put this front of mind, the more I have realized how hungry we all are for connectivity, recognition, a feeling of worth, a smile, a friend, being noticed. And the more I realized that, the more I realized how much POWER we all have to Make the World a Better Place One Person at a Time. My husband does this a Christmas time. A few years ago he recognized that clerks get a lot of abuse by grumpy, inconsiderate shoppers at that time of year. He made a conscious decion that he was going to smile and give a cheery greeting to every clerk he encountered. Some of them have been genuinely surprised - imagine!
Trying to put it into even more practice in my life than just talking to the people who are taking my dinner order, I have found myself thanking the person who is clearning the public bathroom while I'm in there. If you want to see someone look surprised, just try that sometime. They are surprised you even SEE them, let alone speak to them.

One of the things I believe in strongly is that "You get what you focus on."
I recognized that occurring again yesterday when I went to Barnes & Noble for a book that they did not have in stock. Wanting something to read, I spotted a book I had heard about before from Action Coach - The Fred Factor. As soon as I read the dust cover, I KNEW it was the book for me. I haven't even finished it yet, but I highly recommend it to everyone. It's the TRUE story of a US Postal carrier named Fred who made everyone's life around him better by focusing on how he could best fill their individual needs as their postal carrier. As I read how he did it, I was inspired to make that my life's mission - To Make the World a Better Place One Person at a Time - by noticing them, talking to them, acknowledging them, smiling at them, listening to them, being kind to them, helping them, being polite to them.

We've all had experiences like this, whether it was from the giving end or the receiving end. It made me wonder, what would our little corner of the world look like at the end of 2012 if EACH of us just started focusing on the people who are all around us. So my challenge to all of the super-nice people I know who shop at 1 Stop Bead Shop, is what can you do today, tomorrow, and each day after to Make the World a Better Place One Person at a Time?

I want to hear your stories - stories that have happened to you - stories of simple little ways that you made someone's day better today. Won't you please take a moment and share your stories here or on our 1 Stop Bead Shop Facebook page? How cool would it be if we started our own little 1 Stop Bead Shop "Better World" movement? Just a quiet little movement of noticing and being nice to everyone around us....

What's your story?