WILL YOU CHOOSE TO MATTER?

There is a great talk and initiative by Angela Maiers entitled “You Matter”, and how these two words could positively impact our lives.

It really puts into perspective and simplicity the manner in which we conduct ourselves in our daily interactions, with great relevance for the corporate world and our business dealings.

Consider Customer Care for a moment. How many times do you interact with representatives who simply do not seem to care, let alone make you feel that you matter.

Or of trying to have a conversation with someone who is affixed to their computer or mobile, or looking elsewhere.

Or simply not being acknowledged.

Do these make you feel that you matter?

For if we are making people feel they don’t matter, we make them feel insignificant. And since what goes around, comes around, the deeper question is, do you feel you matter?

For me, these two words “You Matter” have brought to the forefront of my mind a simple code of conduct – going through each day, being present, truly engaging with and caring about people we come into contact with, even people we come across in the street – a simple smile, offering a helping hand, being kind. Isn’t this what being human is ultimately about? I cannot fathom why many people stop being human as soon as they walk into an office building and hide behind “but this is business”.

We have a tendency as humans to complicate simplicity, coming up with words that become so overused they become jargon and meaningless: employer of choice, corporate social responsibility, ethics – all very noble in their own right and when done with the spirit the words themselves intended. And yet ‘You Matter’ for me personifies many of these. If every interaction we have, every decision we make, are centred around these two words, how different would our days be, the people around us, our families, our businesses, our communities. How different would we be? How different would you be if you felt you mattered?

I believe everyone has a purpose and yes, each and every one of us matters. I believe now is a good time to let go of our past, our titles and our pride, and be someone who matters by making someone feel they matter. Will you choose to matter?

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE

Within every person lie moments of significance, experiences that shape us, change our perspective, carve our character and drive us to a deeper part of ourselves.

A few years ago I had one of those moments. It took the form of a terrible shock – the sudden death of someone I loved deeply, his last breath in front of my very eyes. I would be lying if I said, as I reflect on that moment, that my heart doesn’t hurt, that my own breath doesn’t stop for a moment. But just as I choose to ride rollercoasters, with the gut wrenching squeals that come with them, if I’m honest, I choose to reflect on that moment. Not to experience its sadness, but rather to encapsulate a sense of purpose, of urgency, of peace, of joy, of life itself.

The fact of the matter is a) I can’t change what happened b) it could happen to anyone of us at any moment c) our own time on this planet, whether we choose to admit it or not, is finite.

So I find it focuses my mind to what really matters in life, knowing all too well that this could be my last moment. As strange as it may sound, I choose to see it as a gift.

I have held back from sharing this openly with people, in a way fearing putting myself so much on the line, fear of being judged, fear of being labeled as morose. But those who know me can attest that I have a love of life and a love of humanity. And it is because of that love that I am doing this, because maybe the lessons I learned through my experience could in some way make a small difference to someone, and that in a strange way will make the experience worthwhile.

No Unsaids

If you love someone, tell them. If you need something, ask. If you’re stuck, own up. Don’t be afraid to share your dreams, your wishes, your aspirations. Don’t worry about airing your fears, they don’t seem so bad when they’re brought out from the dark recesses of our minds. Be fearless in challenging perspectives (especially yours). Be honest. Be truthful. Be honourable.

Connect deeply

Put down your phone, your iPad, your laptop. Ignore your emails, messages and put your phone on silent or off. Get the person you care about most in the world and look into their eyes, hold them, feel their breath, take time to listen – to the words and the silence in between, the magical doorways that lead you to their essence.

Be present

If you’re at dinner, be at dinner. If you’re having a conversation, be in the conversation. If you’re sharing a moment with someone (even yourself) be in that moment. Absorb everything every moment offers you. Just as you would savour every morsel of a gourmet meal, so it should be with moments.

Have the courage to love deeply

The only thing that hurts more than loving someone is not having the courage to love at all. Love with all your heart, with abandon, with fullness, with gusto, with no holds barred.

You can’t have a rainbow without some rain

Don’t be afraid of shedding a tear and definitely don’t bottle it up. See tears as a way to transform what may seem as a sad or painful experience. With light shed on it and the right perspective even that moment can bring beauty and joy into your life.

Gratitude

Be thankful for every moment – to have an extraordinary life one must take pleasure in what may seem extra-ordinary.

Tend to what matters

It is easy to get distracted, to listen to the drum of others. Take some time to figure out what truly matters to you and make sure your daily actions reflect that.

Just do it!

Don’t wait till tomorrow, till next week, till you have more time, till you have more money, till whatever excuse or reason blocks your way – today, right now, this moment. Tick tock, tick tock. You have but one life – live it!

 


 

Headhunter turned talent spotter, Deborah is vested in the impact business has in both economic and social terms across various strata of society. She is the Creator of AMANI™ and a catalyst for business being a force for good, 

 

Did this resonate and you’d like to know more? Please get in touch for your confidential one-to-one.

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YOUR EXPERIENCES MATTER

We often admire the big names, the personalities, the people in positions of influence. But in so doing, we sometimes forget our own significance.

I am currently in Malta. My mother’s native country. A place I have had a varied relationship with throughout my life, and a place I have come to love and appreciate deeply. Last night, I went to the church my mother used to take us to as children. I had gone to say hello to a dear old neighbour of ours – she always had gentle wisdom to impart, oftentimes in the form of a smile. The choir was in the middle of practice and as I sat there I was greatly moved, not only by their voices and the amount of effort and practice they put into the songs, but by the passage of time. This was the church with so many events: first holy communion; confirmation; the baptism of my cousins; the funeral of my mother and countless confessions. In those moments I was overwhelmed with and grateful for the journey of life.

As I observed the ladies in the choir I was reminded of another facet. These were the ladies whose doors my brother and I used to knock on as children doing ‘bob-a-jobs’, little errands to raise money for the scouts and other countless initiatives we got involved in at school. These were the girls who were with us in our religious classes. It reminded me and brought home that regardless of our background or our upbringing, we are all doing the best we can with what we have and see in front of us. No-one is better or worse than anyone else. We have nothing to prove. Only to be and do the best with what has been bestowed upon us. I wonder if all those people realised what an imprint they had on our lives as a family, me as a person and the role they played in nurturing our spirit.

My mother was an extraordinary woman, with strong values and the courage to live by them. As I get older, I understand with greater depth the lessons she used to impart, and with every passing moment I smile, realising that there is very little she did that wasn’t a lesson.

One particular summer when we were living in Saudi Arabia, I asked my mum to teach me how to knit. An odd thing to do in summer in the blazing heat, granted, especially in my friends’ eyes, but I wanted to know how to knit. So my mum, with all her patience, started to teach me the craft of knitting. I was making a sweater, black, with two cables on either side. From time to time, my mum would take over, reviewing the work I had been doing.

“Deb” she used to say, “be mindful, you keep dropping a stitch. Make sure you have all the stitches.”

So at the end of each row, I would go back and count all the stitches, ensuring I had not dropped anything along the way.

There I was thinking I was learning how to knit, which of course I was. But I learned something else too. I first needed to decide what I wanted to knit – the shape, the size, the colour, the thickness and so on. I had to choose the type of yarn and quantity that would enable me to create what I wanted. And I had to have the skill and tenacity to follow through. I also had to overcome the cajoling from my well-meaning and fun-loving friends :-).

These traits are no different from the traits we need to establish in the lives we want to create for ourselves. In our rush through lives and our focus on a particular outcome, we sometimes forget elements that are important to us – our loved ones, our friends, our health. We even forget experiences that shaped us, that developed our strength, our character. We can forget certain skills or gifts that we have. We can even forget what matters.

So in planning your life, your career, your education, or whatever it is that is important to you remember these steps, and please, above all, don’t drop a stitch.

The world is starving…

“The world is starving, but not for food, for love.”  Mother Theresa

I was recently having tea with a friend. I hadn’t seen him for some time so we were catching up on life, work, love, relationships and everything in between. It’s always such an honour to have the time and space to have a proper heart to heart – some of my most treasured moments.

He was sharing the challenges he’d been facing, his hopes and fears. At one point I asked him if he was spiritual. Before I lose anyone here, let me just say that whether you are Christian, Hindu, Jew, Muslim, Agnostic, Atheist or any other religion or creed, the following is not a debate about religion.

Life doles out its challenges, trials and tribulations to every one of us, some making us stronger – others making us question and doubt some of our fundamental beliefs. And my hunch told me, that my dear friend was experiencing the latter.

He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his lap, hands clasped together in front of him. His head lowered, eyes looking downwards, I could see he was contemplating, searching within for what he felt was true. After some time he looked up.

“I don’t know Deb. If God existed why would all these bad things happen to children.”

And it is true – the atrocities that some children in this world experience are shocking. What ensued was an interesting dialogue about God. I am sure you have all experienced some form of God debate at one point or another, blaming some outside force for the ills that exist in this world. But, taking a close look at the main troubles that exist on this planet, there is no unknown force behind them – sadly they are the making of our fellow man.

So my response to my friend, was “But that is not God’s doing, it is people’s doing. And then people like you exist and come about to right the wrong.”

The anguished look he had upon his face until this moment disappeared, replaced by his sparkling eyes and beaming smile. If there is one thing my friend is passionate about, it is the wellbeing and welfare of children. It was just the dose he needed to hear, reinstilling his own inner belief in his efforts.

Regardless of how old we get, as human beings I believe we all need that safe haven, the quiet port away from the stormy seas. In our busy lives, we sometimes miss when someone needs that quiet place, that time and space to feel safe, to share their heart’s desire and rest a weary soul. So in this holiday season, I hope you find your quiet time and space, and please remember to create that safe port for others.

 


 

Headhunter turned talent spotter, Deborah creates the connect between people of character and companies with principles. The Founder of AMANI™, she is an advocate for business being a force for good, vested in the impact business has in both economic and social terms across various strata of society.