Last week, I shared a little bit about the awesome Honor Flight that I was lucky to be a part of and what a great experience we had. It was literally a day of kindness… which was cool since that is one of the attributes that my great uncle is known for. He is also known for his compassion.
Kindness and compassion aren’t necessarily celebrated as top leadership traits in the world of work and yet any one of us knows that working for or with someone kind and compassionate is a pretty great experience.
What can we learn from this?
- Live into your strengths, whatever they are
- Don’t worry if you lack the “traditional” qualities
- Actions leave a lasting impact, even seemingly ordinary ones
First and foremost, you need to identify and accept your wonderful, weird strengths. Then use them wherever and whenever you can! If it’s compassion and kindness, like my great uncle, do that! If it’s strategy and planning, do that!
Second, the narrow definitions we see on what makes a great employee or leader often fail to take into account the first point. When we’re using our strengths, we will be most successful. That will look different for each of us, of course, but the fact remains. In the case of my great uncle, his approach was different than many educators of that time. Instead of focusing on discipline, he leaned into his strengths of kindness and compassion.
Third, our ordinary actions in our ordinary moments in any given ordinary day are often the things that are most vividly remembered later. I love the irony of this! My kids are frequent reminders to me because we always talk about our favorite part of the day before bedtime. 9 times out of 10, it’s the everyday activity that stands out for them: reading books together or playing a game or watching our favorite show as a family. No fancy trip to a theme park or over-the-top gift required! Just hanging out doing the stuff we were going to do anyway. Basically extra ordinary is all that’s required.
That brings me back to my great uncle. He’s spent his life displaying kindness and compassion, regardless of if it was in style or what “successful” leaders did. It wasn’t noteworthy or award-winning. It was weaved into his ordinary every day. And it was so memorable that many of his former 6th grade students felt the need to thank him for it nearly 50 years later. That’s pretty extraordinary to me!
#PositiveAction Think about the legacy you’re creating by using your strengths. How are you making your ordinary days extraordinary?