When I was a little girl, growing up in San Bruno, California, there was an older man who walked up and down El Camino Real with his dog. The dog held a sign that said Good Morning or Hello. It was such a thrill to see him and say hello back. If you ask most of the kids who grew up in that part of town, we all would scramble to roll down our windows and yell good morning back. He would always look at you – with eye contact – and wave. It brightened up the day and really felt so warm to see him. That childhood experience really drove home the awesome interaction of just saying hello.
It has been said that I make friends in an empty park. Even when I am riding my bike to the train in the morning, I make an effort to acknowledge everyone walking past and say good morning. It does catch some people off guard, but then their whole face brightens up and we have this human interaction of “goodness.” I may take it a step too far sometimes because I also greet and start conversations with people in the elevator too.
We are all so busy on our phones or thinking about issues, that sometimes we forget to be human. Be the better human and start a connection with strangers, coworkers, and family members. Look them in the eye and greet them.
This is also an attribute of one of my greatest mentors. He was the leader of our Global Products division and had a forward thinking approach to leadership. He didn’t even sit in an office, he sat on the aisle cube so that he was accessible to everyone when he was at his desk. More importantly, he made eye contact and greeted everyone he walked by. Just like the older man from my youth, colleagues will pop up from their desk as he walks down the hall to greet him back and say hello. It created an amazing atmosphere and to this day he is revered with such respect and dedication because of how incredibly friendly and approachable he was.
My advice: For a week, attempt to greet everyone you pass – make eye contact with and say hello! You will start you day with a positive energy that is really amazing to project into the world.
Song to star your day: Now is the Start, by a Fine Frenzy