Successful people have a deep respect for the dignity of each individual. It doesn’t matter if the person in front of you is the President of the United States, your boss, a co-worker, a taxi driver, a security guard or the housekeeper at your hotel.
Cathy, my wife, is the best example of someone who values every person she meets. She is friends with everyone – the pharmacy techs where we get our prescriptions, the couple who own the dry cleaners where we do business, the supermarket checkout people and baggers, the servers at the restaurants we frequent, and on and on and on.
Cathy is genuinely interested in these people. She knows their names, their spouses’ names and their kids’ names. She inquires about their lives. She knows about their vacations, what grades their kids are in school and lots of other things about them – all because she values them as individuals and takes the time to get to know them. She is one of the least judgmental people I know.
If you want to create the life and career success you deserve, take a lesson from Cathy. Pay attention to the people around you. You will learn a lot and your life will be richer for it. Don’t judge people by what they do. Get to know others as individuals. You’ll be surprised at what you learn.
I have had some very interesting conversations with taxi drivers in New York City. These days, most of them are immigrants. They love this country and are well-informed about it. When I get into a taxi, most often the driver is listening to NPR or an all-news station. I have had some great conversations about local and national politics, the state of the US economy, and sports with taxi drivers.
In Denver, I occasionally use a car service to go to and from the airport. This service is a cooperative. The members of the coop are all immigrants from Ethiopia. They were all political refugees. They love this country and are willing to discuss it in depth. I love my rides to and from the airport with them.
And, I learned something very interesting. Ethiopia was a Catholic country until the schism in 1066. The Ethiopian Church sided with the Eastern Church in Constantinople and broke with Rome. I was raised Catholic, but my father’s parents were Orthodox Christian, or Russian Orthodox as we called them. In that tradition they celebrate Christmas on January 7 because they use a different calendar.
I remember having two Christmases when I was young. I always got a small present on January 7. Imagine my surprise when a guy from Africa told me that he couldn’t drive me to the airport on January 7 because he chose to stay at home and celebrate Christmas with his family. This led to a very interesting discussion on how Ethiopia participated in the schism. When the Ethiopian community in Denver was building a new church, Cathy and I were some of the donors.
See what I mean about treating everyone as if he or she has something to offer? I never would have learned some valuable information about how similar the life experiences of a black guy from Ethiopia were to my own growing up had I not taken the time to engage this person in conversation.
The common sense career success coach point here is simple. Successful people follow the career advice in Tweet 124 in Success Tweets. “Everyone has something to offer. Never dismiss anyone out of hand. Take the initiative. Actively build relationships.” Following this career advice will help you create the life and career success you want and deserve. More important, it will lead to a richer and fuller life. When you engage people, when you expect to find them to be interesting, you will open yourself up to a world of ideas that will not only help your career success, but will also help you succeed as a person.