Imagine your life as a bucket.
Some days its half full, some days very full – other days low on water. The question one has to ask is who fills up your bucket – and which others drain you continuously.
There are some people, who naturally fill up your bucket. With a beautiful smile – maybe a “good morning” when you get to work – or someone like Janie, at my office – when she runs up and gives a hug every opportunity she gets!
After twenty-six years of working at the same company, in the same role, there is absolutely no question that Janie fills up our buckets with crystal clear water, every day that she is around us.
I love being around people with positive energy – people who make you feel good – every time you see them! They add water to your bucket!
I have customers call me all the time to tell me how much they enjoy interacting with Janie. Members of our international operations return back and remind us how much they miss her morning greeting to the “Parkson Family”.
Then there are people, who just sap the energy out of you. They either drain you of your positive energy – or muddy whatever clear water you may have in your disposal. I know someone (dare I call him a friend), who calls me on a bi-weekly basis to give me the bad news about someone, somewhere. Sometimes he brings facts and then, other times, far from it! I have started to avoid his calls altogether. After I hang up with him, I feel utterly drained of energy to do anything more.
At work, and in personal life, there are people, who bring you solutions and options – and others who bring you worries and concerns. I think, anyone can pinpoint problems with just about every situation. Leaders, look at difficult scenarios and see an opportunity to turn things around and make us shine.
I remember, even as a teenager, I had friends who would, before the day of a serious exam, deliver the bad news that he had heard that the exam will be very tough! How do you find out something like this? And even if it’s tough, isn’t it tough for everyone?? Does that mean, we will all flunk the exam!? We used to call our worrier friend “The Bad News Bear” (after a kids TV serial).
Nowadays, when I have to interview at work, I always look for those folks who also fill up our buckets every day. I believe, however smart and capable one maybe, life’s too short to work for/with grouches.
I once interviewed a highly educated, very intelligent young man, who came into my office and in a very critical tone, talked about everything that was wrong with our company and how he could fix it all. I listened to all his ideas carefully (to discern the truth from him) but decided against hiring such a negative personality. The personalities of these folks, are formed at a young age. Having worked with many large and powerful corporations, I am yet to see a corporation “change” people. Instead these folks tend to have a very negative impact in the work environment and I believe, they “poison the well”.
Recently, someone gifted me a book named “The Fred Factor” by Mark Sanborn and John Maxwell. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0385513518/ref=cm_li_v_p_self?tag=linkedin-20)
This easy-to-read book narrates the story of Fred, the mailman, and how he takes the most mundane role of delivering mail and makes it meaningful for himself and his customers!
It’s these Freds and Janies of our lives that truly make work meaningful.
My request to you is, tomorrow morning, when you see someone – a colleague, friend or a family member, greet them with a cheer – or ask them how they are doing. You will see, almost everyone’s faces will light up, and they will share with you how their weekend went or how something magnificent happened in their lives.
Then there are those, that will not make eye-contact with you – or say something under their breath! Yes, maybe they’re just having a “bad” morning, however, you know that they are not emulating Fred or Janie today.
Life’s too short as is; let’s try to fill up our own buckets and days (and those of others)! Let’s not create leaks or take away from them. At the end of the day, you’ve only got one bucket that can make the difference!