Sunday, January 29, 2012

#4: Become genuinely interested in other people.

One of the best parts of this experiment is how it has opened my eyes to others who live the Dale Carnegie principles whether intentionally or not.  This week I was lucky enough to interact with two people who are living, breathing examples of Principle #4.  They are genuinely interested in others.
On Monday morning, we had a new employee start at our firm named Elizabeth.  I took a deep breath and got ready to lead the fourth new employee orientation tour of the month.  I expected the tour to be the same old litany of names and basic questions.  I was  wrong!!  Elizabeth took an interest in each person she met at our firm.  She asked questions such as, “As a partner, what sacrifices have you had to make?” On her first day Elizabeth asked questions that I have never thought to ask my colleagues in the four years I’ve worked at the firm.  She was interested in each person and it showed.
This weekend I had the great pleasure to return to Drake’s campus and speak to students at the Don Adams Leadership Institute.  Before my session, Don Adams and I had the chance to chat for five minutes.  He wanted my “story” since leaving Drake and proceeded to ask me question after question about my experiences.  Dr. Adams is one of those people who has the unique ability to make you feel like you are the only person in the world when he is talking to you.  I know he is connected to everyone on Drake’s campus but I felt like his one and only friend for those five minutes.
While at Drake this weekend, I was asked this question: “When you think of Drake, what person comes to mind?”  Most of you know that I bleed Bulldog blue so I couldn’t narrow the list to just one.  Instead, I mentioned my amazing relationship with Dr. Bill Lewis, my advisor , professor and friend.  I also mentioned Shawna Kasner-Hannam, the person who brought me to Drake and who remains an inspiration to this day.  These are two people who have taken a consistent interest in me over the years.  A genuine interest, if you will.  My life – my story – has been dramatically influenced by their interest in me.
Who are the people in your life who have taken an interest in you?  Where would you be without them?  Together... let’s pay it forward!  Who will benefit from our genuine interest this week?

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