Going Through the Motions
There’s a typical “get ready” drill when you’re on a plane: stow luggage, buckle up, and hear instructions from a member of the crew. As I write these words, I realize I typed hear and not listen to. After all, most travelers know what the flight attendant is going to say; we hear the announcement but do we really listen?
On a recent flight, I went through the same drill. This time, however, I couldn’t help but try to home in on the words being said. Why? Because this attendant was speaking not only at 100 miles/hour but also in a very monotone pitch. It caught my attention, so I listened even more intently.
At one point, she was reading so quickly that she skipped something – I knew this because what she had just said made no sense. It took her a few seconds to realize, apologize and go back to reading what she should have … still in a quick, monotone voice.
If I had polled people on the plane, the impression they had of her could be one of many: she didn’t like her job; she didn’t want to be on that particular plane; she didn’t care about the passengers; she didn’t think what she was saying was important to others; she simply didn’t give a damn … and so on.
Ironically, on my trip home, I had a totally different experience. This attendant had inflection in her voice, spoke at a conversational pace, displayed her fun personality, and acknowledged the passengers and their willingness to follow the instructions. I noticed several people putting down their magazines and phones in order to look at her – they wanted to connect with the person who was creating an environment that was engaging and fun. There was nothing rehearsed about her; she was being genuinely her. What a different impact from the first experience.
What’s important for having impact? Being present. Being purposeful/intentional. Being genuine. When you do these things, you’ll never simply be going through the motions.
This Week’s Challenge: How often do you simply go through the motion of something? It could be saying “good morning” to a loved one or to folks when you get to the office/on Zoom; documenting and sharing end-of-year performance reviews; or asking for input in a meeting where you don’t really want it but think you need to ask. There are hundreds of examples. What are yours? Choose one day this week to be hyper-focused on being present. If you catch yourself in rote mode, take a deep breath and start again … with intention. See what shifts – for you and for those with you.
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