[April 29, 2022] To us, the small things are unimportant and not worthy of our attention, but to someone else, it could be the most joyful event or issue in their lives. Remember to acknowledge them. Remember the small things!
In 2003, my unit was readying itself for deployment to combat. It was a hectic time, with people busying themselves with accomplishing tasks required to be fully prepared; nothing was left undone, and nothing was too small. Attention to detail was vital.
One morning, a young female Soldier passed by me in the headquarters hallway when I said to her, “happy birthday.” I’d met her mother a couple of weeks prior, and her mom told me about the upcoming birthday; I didn’t forget. The young Soldier was surprised and perhaps even taken aback that a senior officer would know her birthday. It was a small thing to me, but my acknowledgment was to make that day memorable for her. She would remember and she would be one of our most loyal Soldiers.
Remember the small things that are not small to others. There are events in the lives of others that have no linkage to their work or community involvement. We like to minimize these for that reason; our private lives stay private and out of the workplace.
Yet, we ask ourselves, why would a birthday or a proposal for marriage or graduation from a school influence our work or how we perform at our work? The standard answer is that these “should” have no effect, and in reality they may have no actual effect. However, the importance of it is not diminished. Celebrate those events, show those on your team that you are sufficiently caring and humble enough to sincerely acknowledge them.
There is a grand lesson here. People are social creatures. They thrive when around others. They seek to be in the company of those they know sincerely value them. What we do and what we say to others matters a great deal. That is why we must carefully choose how we interact. The point is to show others we care and are willing to hold them up publically and say they are essential and not just a cog in the wheel of some giant organization.
Remembering the small things generates trust. And trust is the glue that holds relationships together. Loyalty, trustworthiness, courage, and honesty begins here. Support it. Nurture it. Caring about others is at the core of being human.
And, always remember to acknowledge the “small” things.
Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).