Things that Matter
Even in these trying times, it’s the little things that truly make life worth living.
4/13/2020 | Bill Petrie, Petrie's Perspective
Whether in our business or personal lives, we hear all the time that it’s the little things that matter most. Nearly everyone instinctively agrees with that sentiment without really thinking about what the little things truly mean. In these confusing times, where we are all sheltering in place, wearing masks in public, and only connecting with people outside of our homes using video technology, perhaps it’s the best opportunity to explain what the little things are.
I’m a believer that every skill needed to succeed in a job can be taught, except for two: care and attention to detail. You either bring those with you or you don’t. In my career, I’ve reviewed hundreds – if not thousands – of resumes. Regardless of position, the majority of them profess that the author is “detail-oriented.” My experience, however, is that’s not always the case.
Of course, there are apparent professional details like ensuring consistency across advertising, ensuring names and other words are correctly spelled, and not forgetting to do simple tasks. To me, however, professional details begin with listening with the intent to understand as opposed to listening with the intent to respond. Far too often, people have a retort chambered and at the ready without really hearing the person. When we listen with the intent to reply, it will likely lead to misunderstandings or a divisive culture – neither of which is right for an organization.
However, this blog is about the personal little things that matter most – the ones that have revealed themselves over the past few weeks as life has altered from all the things we thought were normal to a world where we float between emotional solitude and Zoom happy hours. I’ve long said that crisis reveals character – it always has and always will. In other words, when things are going well, it’s effortless to be calm, relaxed, and collected. But when the chocolate soft serve ice cream emoji hits the fan, that’s when you see what people for who they are and what they stand for.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been witness to incredible acts of kindness and love as well as shocking displays of selfishness and panic. It would be easy to focus on the negatives of all that is happening: the unfair layoffs and furloughs, the hoarding of essential household goods, the canceled events, or the school closures. In this time, I’ve tried to fixate on the positive: I’ve observed people helping others learn how to use the self-checkout line at the grocery store because they were scared to have another human touch their purchases. I’ve seen the drive-by birthday celebrations that have moved me to tears. I’ve watched people at their most creative finds ways to connect with others while staying six feet apart.
These are seemingly small things that create a lifetime of impact. So, in the spirit of always being as transparent as possible, I thought I would share some little things – in no particular order – that matter to me as I write this from my home office:
A family that accepts me for who I am – flaws and all
Friends who call me out of the blue to check on me
One of my closest friends who is always a beacon of positivity no matter the circumstances
The solace of my backyard
A random text from someone telling me they love me
A dear friend who endured her final chemo treatment last week as she bravely battles breast cancer
The transformative power of music
The pure delight of a good book
A glass of wine outside sitting by the fire pit
The joy people experience when I cook something just for them
Laughter in all varieties
An unexpected gift because someone was thinking of me
Even in these trying times, it’s the little things that truly make life worth living. To me, noticing the little things is a choice because I see so many ignore them. However, by choosing to recognize the tiniest of loving gestures is what will get me – what will get us – through this and allow us to be much happier people on the other side.
Used with permission from PromoCorner.