We have heard this phrase our whole life, "It's the thought that counts." Sometimes that may be the case. I feel often it is offered as a bad excuse when we really are giving a poor effort and want to make ourselves feel better.
Case in point was an example we can all relate to – traveling on an airline. I spend a little more time than average as you might imagine flying. Recently coming back from a great event in Raleigh my seat was right next to the entry way where for the plane on the exit row and a galley. After I sat down I noticed the flight attendant reaching into a drawer and handing the "wings" to the kids as they got on. I didn't think much about it at first, but what started to hit me was the blank stare they gave her after she handed them the wings. The parents would try to explain what they were and why they got them as they walked down the aisle to their seats.
After the fourth time I saw this play out I realized the flight attendant showed no emotion on her face and literally did not say a word or really connect with the kids in any way. As you probably could guess I couldn't help myself from saying something to her. I fought to find the right words so it would go over well and I didn't look like too big of jerk. I always appreciate it when people approach me at the end of a talk with a kind word and way to help me improve. Very few will take the time to do it.
As I got up to stretch and after she handed out another pair of wings I gave it a shot. I made small talk about spending so much time on Delta and enjoying it – where did she start her day etc. Then I said I'm sure she knows this and I feel the VALUE the kids place on the wings is based on what she says and how she says it when she gives them the wings. I said I am sure it may get old, but I noticed you just handed them out and did not say a word or really connect with the kids or make them feel special.
She looked at me and said, you guessed it, "It's the thought that counts."
I said I am sure sometimes it may be. What if you gave a gift to a good friend or your mom, handed it to them without a word, a card or a smile - that would get one reaction. If you included a heart felt smile, hug and a declaration why they are so special to you - that would get another reaction.
I could see I was not getting anywhere. My parting shot was asking her how they train the new flight attendants to do it? She did not answer and was not real warm the rest of the short flight. I fly often with the trainees on my flights out of Atlanta and they are the most fun, happy and giving attendants I have ever had. I often mention the Law of Familiarity in my talks: The more you are around something or someone the more you take it or them for granted.
Sometimes through repeated exposure you lose your fire and get Switched OFF. It can happen to anyone. Where have you stopped giving your best effort? Where have you let yourself off the hook by saying, " It is the thought that counts." Is it with your customers, your teammates, your spouse or your kids?
People cannot read your mind and figure out your good intentions.
How does the old saying go: What you do screams so loudly I cannot hear what you are saying.
Get Switched On! – take the extra few moments to connect with the right spoken or written words – go the extra mile each time and you will be a momentum generator for everyone around you. Make the phone call, write the card and connect face to face. Take the ordinary task and perform it in an extraordinary way!
Chip Eichelberger is an author and motivational speaker...learn more at GetSwitchedOn.com.