On Wednesday I did three good deeds. I didn’t start the day thinking that I would do them. But I did.
These are really simple actions on my part but ones that made the lives of others just a little but better that day.
Why am I telling you this?
Because it’s really easy to go through your day, your week and your life unnoticed.
No one pays much attention as you proceed with your day. Except those that you planned to meet with or talk with along the way.
Here were my three good deeds in order of impact:
1. The man in the suit
It was a busy day on Wednesday and I was heading to the elevator after a quick bathroom break at a client’s office, the elevator opened. And I found a man in his 60′s wearing a suit. He had his phone out and he was taking a picture of himself using the walls of the elevator as a mirror. I knew what he was doing as the elevator opened – I interrupted him before he had taken the picture. He was a little embarrassed as he exited. In my haste, I could have breezed past and got back to my meeting quickly. Instead, I chose another road.
I asked “were you trying to take a picture?”. His answer: “Yes, I’m here with a company in a new job. My wife hasn’t seen me in a suit in such a long time. I was hoping to show her how I looked.” Well, as you might guess, I’m a sucker for job seekers and could tell this meant something to him. So I offered to take a photo of him so she could see him better. We did a quick photo shoot. I set him up in between to beautiful potted plants and he looked awesome. He was so excited to share that photo with her. And to think I could have moved on and ignored him.
2. Opening a door
This example is one I’m sure all of you do. All the time. At least I hope you do. It is deceptively simple. After my meetings finished up at the client that day, I was racing out of the office to get home for a family event. I was late. As I exited the building and entered the parking lot, I noticed a delivery guy coming with a dolly loaded vertically past the handle. He was a strong guy. Wasn’t struggling. But I know the big glass doors of the building are awkward to open. So I simply headed back there and opened the door for him so he could get through without too much pain. Did I solve a major problem for him? No. But he noticed me, we shared a moment of kinship and a smile. I could have ignored him.
3. To the rescue, sort of
Later that day at a Starbucks I was meeting with my friend and business partner Katie Wagner. We were discussing a client project when my ears perked up to the sound of someone getting told a fish tail. If you ask my wife, she’ll tell you that I am hyper-sensitive to loud talkers. Very distracting. This guy was loud and constant. Didn’t breathe for what seemed like 20 minutes. I told Katie “Hey, I think the guy behind you is getting scammed”. We spent the next 20 minutes trying to work. But mostly listening to this guy spin a story of wealth and privilege. Of days feeling the sand between your toes vs. sitting in an office somewhere.
The victim was a young guy in his 20′s and the offer was pretty compelling. A small investment up front but mountains of money once the victim’s team (other victims) started producing. As the two of them got up to leave, Katie and I both gave a pleading stare to the young target (Katie’s was better) and hoped he would get the point. After they parted, he came back in the restaurant, walked over to our table and stared at us. We said: “Do you know what that was?” He said: “A pyramid scheme, I think.”. You could hear a collective sigh of relief from Katie and I. We were so worried this young kid would get bamboozled. We spoke with him for about 5 minutes and were glad to hear that he was already one foot out of the “four hour work week” fantasy door. We could have ignored him.
You have a few options as you live your life.
1. You can go unnoticed. You will not be criticized if you decide to not get involved in the lives of others. And you can just go about your business
2. You can “go noticed”. Impact the world a little bit each day by being conscious of the subtle ways you can help others. And take the time to stop and connect with people. Live consciously. Be socially aware. Do good deeds.
And your life will be better lived.