The other day I was facilitating a workshop for a group of attorneys on the subject of employee motivation.
We’d just finished discussing the importance of showing appreciation and giving praise, when we had a short break. During the break I mentioned my difficulty finding an artist to create a one-frame comic for the chapter about showing appreciation in my book, Practical Communication. I must have explained in pretty good detail the drawing I envisioned and the frustration, having worked with three different artists, of getting back drawings that were just not what I was looking for.
I didn’t think much more about the conversation until I came home that evening and checked my email. In it was a note from one of the attorneys who attended the workshop. He thanked me for the training and expressed its value to him. He also shared his surprise that I couldn’t find anyone to draw my “vision” of the comic for my book– so he decided to give it a try.
Attached to the email I found a drawing that was just what I had been looking for. I was so appreciative and surprised that anyone, let alone someone who probably had better things to do with his time (and had so many letters after his name, none of which indicated “artist”), had taken the time to draw this picture for me.
The picture now proudly graces the cover of my eBooklet, “Thanks for the Kidney: A Guide for Providing Meaningful Appreciation”, with credit of course to the artist, Joe Lawson.
The fact that someone took the time to help me with a challenge I was facing, when I hadn’t even asked for help, was truly moving and inspiring.
I consider myself a fairly helpful person. I am a sounding-board for friends, communication mentor and coach, and I volunteer for several organizations. However, there are times when helping others can be inconvenient and time consuming, and it feels easier to ignore a request, make an excuse, or pretend not to see the obvious need for help. However, since this incident, I’ve found myself reminded of what a gift helping others can be to them and to the giver. I’ve focused on letting go of excuses, faced inconveniences, responded to more requests, and have been more alert to the possibility that others might need my help– even if they don’t ask.
This week, whether you’re asked or not, seek opportunities to help others when you can. You never know when a simple act of helping someone will cause a long-lasting, positive ripple effect in the world. You might not feel it right away, but as the ripples spread outward and impact others, they’re likely to bounce back to you in surprising and wonderful ways.