How do I respond when someone doesn’t want to hear my truth? Will I be a peace practioner? It might be as simple as returning a phone call or responding to a text. How about that email we don’t want to deal with?
One thing is certain, it starts with all of us. You and me.
It starts by returning phone calls, texts, emails.
When that habit is mastered, begin writing thank you notes on REAL paper.
Writing thank you notes is as ingrained in me as my name, thanks to my Mother. In my office, it’s always easy to reach stationary, cards and stamps. ALWAYS. It’s not hard. Luckily, I’ve been surrounded with people most of my business & personal life who feel the same. It’s courtesy, but it also says something about my brand. My brand you say? My name is my brand, what I stand for and everything else in between.
Today so much of this has gone away because of social media. When I was ‘beginning my career’ and even in college I wrote people to say thanks. (Still do.)
One RESPONDER immediately comes to mind, Helen Gurley Brown. I wrote how much I loved her first book. HGB wrote the most lovely thank you note for my thank you note! I can’t remember exactly all HGB did, but I do remember she took time to RESPOND to a fledgling publicist who could do absolutely nothing for her.
Another RESPONDER is Bill Carter — Arkansan — works with everyone from the Rolling Stones to the Gatlin Brothers. Busy much? Of course, but Bill Carter returned my calls. Years after my first call to him, I began working with Bill, when he became Bill Gaither’s partner in television specials. No, I didn’t always like what he said, but I LOVED that he said it. He was and still is his own truth teller.
How we make people feel is a significant part of our career successes and failures.
When we do not acknowledge an act, or return a phone call we are saying “you don’t matter to me.”
“Your gift does not matter.”
“Your lunch invitation does not matter.”
“Your offer to help me does not matter.”
“Your request for my help does not matter.’
“Your idea does not matter.”
“YOU do not matter.”
I’ve not always been good about journaling my life, but I have been good about keeping cards and notes from others. It’s a great way to remember those who’ve been kind.
Why is it I cannot remember if I locked my car door, but I can remember those who’ve not responded?
I can also remember times I did not respond. Those times have sometimes haunted me, not speaking to someone or returning a phone call because I was too busy, too lazy or the worst, I was arrogant. Some days it’s a struggle and some days I just don’t care, but these days are rare now because I know what a difference RESPONDING makes when someone responds/does not respond to me. I want to be an AUTHENTIC RESPONDER. I want others to know they matter. I want you to know you matter.
There are times when something is said that can allow us to make a choice — be Switzerland and straddle that fence or stand UP for something. I’ve never really located those bushes to ‘beat around’ so pretty much with me, what you see is what you get. Good and bad. My head starts exploding if I can’t tell my Authentic Truth. I have my Father to thank for this — he said it and wanted me to say it too.
If I disagree, or have bad news to share — & if I’m allowed — I want to see you when we talk. One night in the late 90’s I was with a group of artists, and fully aware one particular performer wanted to ‘impress me’ for future opportunities. He said, “This building is around a really bad area, a lot of black people, you are so pretty, you need to be really careful going home. Do you have a knife or anything to protect yourself?”
I could not believe what I was hearing. Once I caught my breath, I said “That is SUCH a bigoted statement I do not even know how to respond.”
Back peddling has never been so swift. And for the ten + years every single time I saw this performer he tried to ‘fix’ his mess of a mouth.
I had no choice but to respond, if I had not responded, my head would have exploded and my heart would still be disappointed in me.
Is it a wonder no one still knows who he is?
Case in point: Why is Judge Judy still the #1 rated day time show? She is a truth teller. In the age of ‘feel good’ and ‘be happy’ someone stepping up to say their truth can be intoxicating.
Me? Personally? I am addicted to Dr. Phil. I was not a fan originally, but the more I find complacency, the more addicted I am to his ways helping others to clean up their emotional houses, enabling them to move forward in a healthy way. Another truth teller.
Obviously I could go on and on, and sometime I may talk about this more. For today I want us all to be truth tellers, return our calls, write thank you notes, RESPOND. These few simple acts tell others they matter. The reward is so great, greater than any of us can really imagine.
I am lucky to have friends for life, loyal truth telling friends because I RESPONDED.
Will you be a RESPONDER? A truth teller? How will you brand yourself? Will
you be your AUTHENTIC SELF?