At a doctor’s office recently, a sign at the reception desk made me smile. It said, “Thank you for being you — you’re awesome!” The receptionist knew there was more to her life than taking patients’ money and prepping them to meet their doctors.
That sign said a lot about that woman’s character. Without ever meeting her or knowing anything else about her, I was well aware she was a caring individual. Why? Because she took a few seconds to handwrite that note and post it on the window that separated her from incoming patients. She knew those few words could make a difference in someone’s day — and life.
That’s how it is for all of us. Our character says a lot about us, and people are watching, whether we think so or not. What kind of vibe are you giving off? What can people tell about you upon first encounter?
“Thank you for being you — you’re awesome!"
I hope when people cross my path for the first time, they can tell I, too, care about people and that I like being happy and making others happy. I hope whatever brief encounter we share is a positive one.
I know that’s not always the case. I’m human and have my bad days, just like everyone else. Some days, traffic really gets to me, and on those days, it’s easy for me to give the wrong impression.
But overall, I like to think I add value to the lives of those around me. There’s enough negativity in this world; no one needs more of it from me. But more importantly, I see life as a gift, and I want to make the most of it.
What about you? What does your character say about you? If you don’t like the answer, only you can change it.
You wouldn’t necessarily expect to find a greeting card company with a prominent display at a show dedicated to consumer electronics — unless it was showcasing a new electronic gadget, such as a drone, to accompany its cards. But that’s exactly what American Greetings did at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) this year: It had a huge enclosed booth promoting nothing other than paper, with a marketing campaign slogan of “a device like no other.”
The main selling points? Greeting cards don’t need charging or electricity. They don’t require batteries. They don’t involve a learning curve. And they’re not outrageously priced.
Despite the rapid rise of technology — and the lack of technology in physical greeting cards — people buy 6.5 billion greeting cards per year, according to the Greeting Card Association. Something about these communication devices keeps us coming back.
Back to basics
Another interesting thing of note at CES was a device called Freewrite. It’s essentially an old-school typewriter or word processor that simply saves what you write (type) in the cloud. The selling points for this? No Facebook, YouTube, or similar technologies to distract you from the task at hand.
I don’t know that FreeWrite will take off, but I can see it being beneficial to writers who get easily sidetracked.
What really stands out to me in both of these “technologies” is a desire for authenticity and simplicity. We’re constantly inundated with information and distractions. There’s too much vying for our attention.
FreeWrite offers a seeming escape from that, taking writers back to the basics. And greeting cards provide a breath of fresh air. The thought that someone would stop his or her busyness, sit down, and take the time to jot a personal note to you can really make your day. Yet, in reality, it doesn’t take that much extra time.
What does that say? In just a few minutes a day, we can have a huge impact simply by being authentic with one another. That strikes a chord with people. That’s a message businesses should take to heart, too. Simple is better.
How will you be authentic today?
Christian, wife, mother of 5, breast cancer survivor, marathon finisher, writer and editor, author of "Help! I'm a Science Project"