Your Words Have Impact When You Least Expect It

And Your Actions Will Carry Even More Weight

 Sarah & Mom, Mt. Helena City Park

Sarah & Mom, Mt. Helena City Park

I have moments in conversations with my children that I think: “That was good! Where did that wisdom come from?” And in my mind, I’ve said something so perceptive, so wise, that my boys are sure to remember it and apply it.

That’s rarely the way it works. They remember some of the most ridiculous things I’ve said, and most of the time when they tell me something deep that I shared with them, I have no memory of the conversation.

When my mother came to visit our family recently, I took the opportunity to have this conversation with her: Do you remember telling me these wise things that I’ve written about in my blog? At the time you shared these words with me, did you think they would have life-long impact?

I loved this conversation, partly because it confirmed this generational commonality, that our children remember things we don’t remember. And more importantly, that they remember our actions, the values we demonstrated to them, with even more clarity.

In our conversation we mentioned a few things related to childbirth and breast feeding, and I promised to include links to explain. Mom mentioned meconium aspiration, and her activity in the early 70s with La Leche League.

Also in the conversation, we talked about the Jewish holiday called Purim, the cookies we make to celebrate that holiday, and the act of delivering a basket of those cookies and other treats anonymously to people.

 Sarah and Mom, Helena Regional Airport

Sarah and Mom, Helena Regional Airport

Knowing that we think differently, and process information differently is critical to the health of our relationships, and talking through how we remember our family history helps clarify those differences. When I remember hard times, specific incidents that had impact on me, I vividly remember the people involved, and my feelings and experiences with those people. It turns out that when my mother remembers specific incidents that had big impact on her, she remembers her feelings about it, the emotions she experienced, not the specific people involved.

Having this conversation allowed me some insights in terms of her emotional response to things I say or struggles she experiences in her life. She simply processes things differently from how I process them, and there’s so much beauty in that difference.

Your Turn

Have you told people the impact they had on you? Do you share your memories with people, so they understand how much their actions meant to you? When you share these stories with people in your life, you have an incredible opportunity not only to be grateful, which has positive impact on your brain, and to thank people, but to see those same experiences through their eyes.

Not All of the Most Important Lessons Come from Struggle

We learned so much about ourselves and our relationship on that adventure. Our resourcefulness, silly senses of humor, and resilience was on full display.

True Leaders Know They Always Have Something to Learn

Stories of Learning and Growth as a Leader

Just like many bosses before him, Rich Gassen was offered a management position without having ever been a manager, and without any training. Fortunate for his employees, he knew what he didn’t know, and took it upon himself to find the resources he needed to learn to do his job and do it well.

In my experience, the worst managers are the ones who think they have nothing to learn, and who don’t see themselves as their employees see them. Many take on the management style of someone they worked for, even if they disliked that manager, and complained often about their poor management and the disconnect with their staff.

But not Rich. Not only did he take advantage of the training opportunities and other resources available to him from his organization, he joined a group of managers that met regularly to share what they knew - and to complain. The dynamic changed in that group when they realized there were many other managers there who didn’t know what resources were available to them, and they decided to open up their informal group to create a more formal, active agency to help all managers improve.

 Rich Gassen, bottom left, an unplanned, unexpected rock star.

Rich Gassen, bottom left, an unplanned, unexpected rock star.

In our conversation, we had a chance to talk about music, one of my favorite topics, of course. Here’s the link Rich promised to share, a song recorded in his time as a vocalist in a rock band called Madcity.

Connect with Rich on LinkedIn, and check out the website he created and manages for the Campus Supervisors Network at UW-Madison.

When Your Heart is In It, You Bring Great Value

Stories of Understanding the Value of Your Work

Going into the resume and job search business, John Sattler underestimated the impact he could have on the lives of others. His interest in starting this business had more to do with using the knowledge and skills he had developed as a recruiter to make his income, and less to do with the “why” behind it.

His “ah ha” moments came when he opened his mind and heart to really get to know a few of his clients. John realized that each client had a completely different and interesting story to tell, they just didn’t know how to tell it.

He’s not a soft-skills guy, in terms of how he approaches his work. John isn’t the guy you go to cry on his shoulder; he’s the guy who will tell you exactly what he thinks, and will not sugar coat his advice and suggestions. That’s why he won’t take on every client that knocks on his door. If he gets the impression that the client isn’t going to put in the work and effort it will take to get a job, and if he gets the impression that the client won’t choose to be self-reflective about his or her past challenges, he will refer that client to someone else. And that’s what makes him such an asset to the clients who retain him.

It’s magical when you realize that your skills and competence can make a real difference in a person’s life, and that they realize your value and will invest in themselves to benefit from those skills and competence.



Help Appears When You Least Expect It

He was driving a new, fancy car, living in a beautiful apartment, wearing expensive clothes, and living a life he considered pretty luxurious. So why was he sinking?