Over the past week, I've had to travel quite a bit for meetings throughout the state, which I always love doing. Part of my enjoyment comes from having time to unwind and think during the travel time, and the other comes from the opportunity to eat and relax. My wife makes fun of me all the time, but I thoroughly enjoy stopping to eat solo, reading some articles or a book, and just taking more time than necessary for myself.
While I was completing both of these tasks, I came into contact with two people that had a profound impact on my day, and have stayed in my mind ever since. These interactions continue to make me aware of how important the 3E's (energy, enthusiasm, engagement) are in living an impactful life, every day.
Impact Moment #1: The Toll Booth Worker
While getting back onto the turnpike to head home after one of my meetings, my EZ pass did not signal the gate to go up. Since I was tired, and the ticket had already printed, I figured, what the heck, I'll just pay it with cash this time and move on. I didn't really think about it until about 2 hours later when I approached the exit toll booth to pay my fee. I had my money ready, and was greeted by a sweet middle aged lady named Pam. Pam was just flat out "cheerful." I could tell she was a very high energy, enthusiastic, engaging person, who loved a job most would hate. Maybe she loved interacting with people, or maybe she was just a good person. Whatever the reason, she was a bright spot in a process that often doesn't feel very "shiny."
As I was handing her the money to pay my ticket, she noticed that I had an EZ pass hanging and said, "Honey, is that not working?". I explained to her quickly my situation, and she said, "give it me, I'll take care of it." She didn't have to do anything to help me out, and she didn't even have to notice, but she was engaged. She built a solid relationship in t-minus 3 minutes that most would never even consider trying in such a transactional position. Pam made me better that day, and I'm sincerely grateful for her helping me to remember the impacts we can have in every interaction, no matter how minuscule or routine we might believe them to be.
Impact Moment #2: The Sandwich Artist
My second impact moment came at a gas station Subway. I often stop at this location, but on this particular day, I was greeted by an extremely pleasant young woman who I had never seen before. She immediately made me feel comfortable, and I could tell she had a high energy personality and knew how to engage with people. Although she was new, she was very up front and apologetic for asking questions of her manager as she took my order. It was interesting as I watched her ask for guidance and soak up the information, and I was even more impressed with her ability to maintain a positive nature about not being confident in what she was being asked to do. There were lots of people waiting, but she had created an environment where people were interested in watching her learn. I actually hoped that some day I would have the opportunity to work with someone who was so intuitive to understanding further process.
At the end of the line she was starting to put my sub together and complete what I call the "fold over process". Since I'm somewhat of a subway connoisseur (ha, I really do like it), the fold-over can be extremely tough depending upon the type of sub a person orders. By the time we had gotten to this point, I was so enthralled in making sure she knew how much I appreciated her effort that I didn't care what it looked like. She did great. She worked hard, she built relationships, and she cared.
At the end of my lunch, I went to throw my trash away and the manager, who was standing next to the new girl, asked how my sub was. I told her it was the best sub I had ever eaten, and I thanked them for making my lunch a special one.... and you know what, this time I really meant it.
Both of these experiences this past week not only inspired me further to hold myself accountable in every interaction through my days, but pay attention to the little impacts I am able to have. Everyone likes to talk about making positive impacts on others, but very few are willing to do it all day, every day, and truly live every single moment of their life with energy, enthusiasm, and engagement. Imagine a life if you did! What an awesome experience that would be.....
Scott Grant is the President / CEO of Triple Threat Leadership, LLCwww.triplethreatleadership.com; and Assistant Professor of Business at The University of Findlay. Contact Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or @MrGrant1161