Last Sunday, my family gathered to celebrate my Dad’s 89th birthday. Some of the standout moments of the day were my four-year-old nephew greeting everyone with “Thank you for coming—do you want to play with me?” and my two-year-old niece gleefully offering to share her somewhat soggy graham crackers with anyone within a two-foot vicinity. It got me thinking about gift giving and what’s really important. Here are four simple and powerful gifts we can give each other:
Accept. Accept a compliment rather than turning it away. Accept love in all its glorious forms. Accept feedback as simple information. Accept the soggy graham cracker. Take what is offered with a smile and a little love in your heart. You are worth it!
Listen. Really listen deeply to what is being said—and to what goes unsaid. Go beyond “How are you?” to actually listen to how your colleagues and friends are doing. It means staying focused on the other person in spite of deadlines, ringing phones, and other interruptions. It also means letting go of what you want to say in return, and letting go of judgment about what you hear. Just open the ears and shut the mouth. That’s it.
Believe in others. Little kids have it right. They BELIEVE. You can too. Believe in the best of others. Believe that your friends, colleagues, and complete strangers can achieve their dreams, have their best life ever, meet the perfect partner, lose the last ten pounds, get the promotion, or simply make a needed change. Your belief, bone deep, that others CAN achieve their goals will help them believe it, too.
Play. My nephew knows the value of play. For him, it means time and interaction with his family. He doesn’t care who wins because he celebrates it all. He doesn’t care if the dishes are done, or the reports are written—and yes, those do need to get done—but he knows it’s important to have some fun, too. When was the last time you simply played? Coloring, football, Monopoly, or our family favorite, “Guess Who?” Making time to play will bring a smile to your face.
Each of these gifts are rich in value and amazing in how they make us feel. They aren’t hard on the wallet and they don’t require hours of wrapping with paper, tape, and bows.
Let me end with a simple “Thank you for coming” and taking the time to read this blog.
About the Author
Patricia Overland is a Coaching Solutions Partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Coaching Services team. Since 2000, Blanchard’s 130 coaches have worked with over 14,500 individuals in more than 250 companies throughout the world. Learn more at Blanchard Coaching Services. And check out Coaching Tuesday every week at Blanchard LeaderChat for ideas, research, and inspirations from the world of executive coaching.