09.23.18

There’s a new guy in my hallway at work. He’s a young kid, less than half my age. He’s polite and he’s nice. He’s quick to laugh and make a joke.

My hallway is mostly quiet, full of engineers and studious types, then at the end is my office. I’m not loud, but I’m certainly not quiet either. I sometimes get really self-conscious about the noise I make, but I have a very high-traffic role and there are often people stopping by.

On Friday afternoon, the new guy stopped by my office and said:

I wanted to tell you that when I hear you laugh, it brings me joy. I’ll be working at my desk and I hear your laugh and it always makes me smile.

I’m sure I blushed and, to be honest, I didn’t really know what to say. I thanked him and told him the truth – that I think the world is a better place when people share such lovely comments and compliments.

He went on to tell me that he’s noticed that I always seem willing to talk with anyone who stops by and that, as he described it, is “a very nice thing.”

More blushing.

I thought a lot about that interaction over the weekend and what it meant to me. I also realized that it meant even more to me than I’d realized at the time.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy exploring and developing my beliefs about dealing with others in a professional sense. I have strong feelings about how others deserve to be treated regardless of our differences. I spend a great effort standing up for what I feel is right for the people most impacted by the decisions made within our organization. I’m constantly coaching my peers to have more, better communication with the people we work with and one of the pieces of advice I stress most emphatically is to treat people like they’re human beings.

I don’t believe that means coddling or giving people what they want, in my opinion, that means having frank and honest conversations and always delivering the truth with transparency.

What the new guy said – at least the second part – provides a glimmer of proof that I’m becoming successful in my goals of being an open door and a place to go when people have concerns, questions or just plain want to talk.

It isn’t my nature to be surrounded by others, but since I’ve identified this challenge, I’ve also realized that someone needs to take responsibility for changing it. And if not me, then who? This is truly a work in progress and one that takes awareness and deliberate action every single day.

I knew it was working just based on my own experience, but it’s nice to know that others can see it, too.

Complimenting someone else feels good for the sender and receiver. Try going out of your way to say something nice to someone today.

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