Career Coach: A Wonderful Life
"You never know whom you'll influence nor when nor how." - Sue Mousseau (1938-2002)
It’s A Wonderful Life is one of my favorite movies. It’s popular around Christmas but should be remembered all year. It’s a story about a troubled man who thinks suicide is the answer to his problems, but an angel shows him how important he is to others in his life. Clarence, the angel, shows George how “Each man’s life touches so many other lives.”
We never know how we might affect someone else. Each of us can make a huge impact on the world in small daily ways. What you say and how you act toward a neighbor can make a difference. A helping hand to a stranger or providing a resource or idea to someone can change his or her life.
Think about how you feel when someone unexpectedly does something nice for you–even if it is something small like allowing you to go in front of him or her in line in the store. Or someone holds a door open for you. Perhaps a colleague recommends you to a supervisor. Small things add up and can brighten your day.
Think about what you can contribute and take action. Ask those who look lost if they need directions. Offer to help a friend by watching her children for a few hours so she can do holiday shopping. Help out a co-worker on a project he’s struggling with or introduce a budding artist to the world of animation and visual effects. If you’re a manager commend a deserving employee in front of the team. Small kindnesses can make a big difference and are often long remembered by the recipient.
When I was growing up, my friends and friends of my siblings flocked to our house. My parents had a sign above their door which read, “We welcome anyone into this house regardless of race, color, religion, politics or national origin.” And they practiced it. They still do. My mom and dad welcomed all and gave them a home where they could be themselves or whoever they wanted to be. While my dad was at work, my mom provided a haven for those whose home lives were difficult. They felt accepted. Mom rarely said anything negative to anyone. My mom is not judgmental or critical and I think my school mates found her lack of prejudice a welcome oasis. She listened to their problems and their joys and often thought of fun things for them to do. A few years ago I attended my high school reunion. It had been 25 years since I had seen some of my classmates and the first thing they said to me was, “Hi Pam. How’s your mom?” My mom’s gift is friendliness and acceptance. She made an impact on countless people and still does. When you show you care about others, you’ll discover others care about you too.
I recently heard from one of my brother’s friends via email and he wrote, “Your home and family were always a calm port in a storm for me. Memory of my time with your family had a big influence throughout my life. Your mother would take us to the desert and sit next to the old Ford Falcon under an umbrella in the heat while we rock hunted all day..so many great memories. ”
Sometimes what you do on a daily basis–being a friend, being helpful or kind--can be big and important, especially to the other person. Think about how every person touches many other lives and make sure your touch is gentle and kind, not rough and pushy. Each of us has the power to change the world. One small act of kindness can make a big difference.