Perhaps you know an Ali or a Hymie.
Ali is just finishing his degree in biology. Hymie is 92, and sits on a stool in a restaurant all day, watching people come and go. Both Ali and Hymie share two things: a back-story and a lesson.
Each summer for the last three years, my wife and I have stayed at the same hotel while visiting the Montreal Jazz Festival. Each time Ali was at the desk checking us in with a smile. Each time asking us a question or two. Not only did he know his job, he knew that his job was far more than just checking customers in. After three years, we finally asked him about his background, and learned about his studies and aspirations.
Hymie, it turns out wasn’t just a customer: he founded the restaurant, Goody’s, some 60 years ago, and today it is run by the 3rd generation of his family. He doesn’t “sit”, he runs the restaurant , surveying a dynasty, making sure that all is up to his standards. He’s a fascinating person, filled with history, pride – and a sense of humour.
If you are active blogging, tweeting, or posting on Facebook or LinkedIn, you probably appreciate others’ comments, likes, and shares. What we often don’t appreciate, however, is that each person who is reading your post also has a back-story, and they also have a lesson, if only we are open to it – or ask for it. To be relevant – online and off – we must find a way to tap into these.
This week’s action plan: It’s easier in the real world than online, but this week, look for your Ali or Hymie, and take a few moments to engage them on their terms, not yours.
Postscript: In a previous post, Who is your Mahamood?, I covered another experience that made me think about lasting impressions and the impact we can have on the lives of people you meet.
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