Recognize Your Heroes
“You will not believe what happened Steve! I sent that card and wow, what a Ripple I created. In fact so much so, I am quitting my job, selling my house and moving to ‘The Valley’.”
This is just a snippet from a conversation I had with someone who attended one of my training classes a few months back I gave for a corporate client. The guy at the other end of this conversation had taken one of our activities seriously and followed through with action and now his life is on a completely different trajectory than it was before.
So let me start over.
During my trainings, I have an activity that encourages attendees to think about someone who’s played a significant role in their professional life: a first boss, a co-worker, an important client, etc.. I ask them to write this person’s name on a piece of paper and go through a number of associative activities to really bring the emotional connection to that person to the surface. It’s powerful to watch the physical transformation these individuals go through as they think about this person and what they truly mean to them.
It’s quite emotional actually.
One of the final steps I suggest is that each individual take the time to write a simple sentence expressing in their own words what this person has meant to them. Depending on the size of the class, we’ll use this as an opportunity to share these statements with the rest of the class. That’s when the magic happens. You see real connection grow amongst people who’ve never had any.
As each person reads what they’ve written it is impossible not to feel something. Sharing “their hero” always leads to a quick story or two about the person and a little bit more of “the story” behind who this person is and what they’ve meant to them. And suddenly a class full of strangers transforms into anything but. Talk about powerful. I get chills just thinking about it.
“It’s impossible to not love somebody after you’ve heard their story.”
-Fred Rogers aka Mister Rogers
The last thing I suggest to the class is to not let their momentum die there. Take the sentence they’ve written and put it into a card and mail it to the person who they admire so much. Chances are that person hasn’t a clue how much they’ve meant to them and if they want to create a real Ripple, that will do it. It’s a powerful action which will undoubtedly create a Ripple that lasts forever in the hearts and minds of the people who receive such a powerful and unexpected gesture.
Which brings me back to the guy I mentioned at the beginning of today’s post. As luck would have it, he had recently been told by the company that his role was about to change. He was encouraged to attend my class because in order to stay on at the company he was going to need to leverage his network to find a different role.
He took this activity to heart and in fact, was one of the first in his class to share a story about a boss he had had when he first started with the company.
But it didn’t end there.
He took action.
He sent a card to that former boss explaining how much he had meant to him. That individual had continued to advance in his career and was now part of a startup in the Bay Area. It turns out that former boss thought the world of him too and super grateful for the unexpected gesture. The timing of his reach out couldn’t have been better. They reconnected, talked about what they’ve both been up to and out of the blue he received an invitation to interview for a role in his former boss’ company.
He was hired. He’s moving and as he conveyed to me, “He’s a Rippler for life now.”
Ripples work both ways. You never know how far and wide a Ripple may Ripple out but it always Ripples back to you somehow.
Cool story huh? Well, why not take the same action and recognize one of your own personal or professional heroes. Not because you want something but because without a doubt there is someone out there who’s made a difference in your life and they probably haven’t a clue how much they’ve meant to you. Why not create a powerfully positive Ripple for them and let them know!
- Who is someone who’s had an incredible impact on your personal or professional life. Write their name down.
- Think about why they mean more to you than most.
- Write in a sentence or two, how much they mean to you. Write it on a blank piece of paper. Keep that somewhere safe as a reminder of this activity and what it meant for you to do it. It will always bring a smile to your face in the future when you remember doing this activity.
- Finally transfer that sentence or two onto a note card and mail it to them. Don’t give them a heads up or let them know it’s coming. Just send it! The unexpected Ripples are the best!
- Sit back and watch what happens. Because, my friend, something powerful will happen. I guarantee it!
A few minutes of time will create a lifetime of Ripples for you both.