Life lessons always come when you least expect them. This one happened during a meeting four years ago, but I thought it worth revisiting during a time when we really seem to have forgotten that great service always comes from the heart.

I think we could all use a reminder of that. You can thank me later.

The message

I was sitting in a corporate leadership meeting and as part of a presentation someone played a video. Apparently this has been around for a while, but somehow I’d never seen it before. Today, as I repost this, I realize I’d forgotten it again. Why do we always forget the good lessons?

The obvious lesson is that anyone can make a difference. That wasn’t the unexpected part – in fact, in some ways when I think about this I can think of Johnny as someone with Down’s Syndrome being exploited to make a corporate point, and it leaves a bit of a sour taste.

The lessons

But even with that caveat, the video touched me. There are layers of lessons here, and they keep percolating through my mind.

  1. Anyone can make a difference (even the “lowly” bagger with Down’s Syndrome, which is what makes this part of the message feel slightly tainted)
  2. Positivity is contagious – once started, positivity expands exponentially.
  3. We crave positivity so much that we’ll go out of our way to get it, even when we have to sacrifice convenience or efficiency.
  4. What makes a difference, and what surprises us most, is when we encounter communication that is heartfelt.

It’s this last message that seems most profound to me, and was for me the most important message of the week. The “corporate” messages here were interesting, but really only in an academic way. Most touching was that fact that it was Johnny’s heart that mattered. If the “thought for the day” had rung false, would people have stood in line longer to get them? If the thoughts were generated as part of a corporate campaign to be positive, would people have come in more often just to hear them? I doubt it.

Good service comes from training. Great service always comes from the heart.

Great service comes from the heart

Genuine connection, speaking from the heart, these things touch us. What a tragedy that it’s rare enough we are surprised when we encounter it. What an indictment of the times. But maybe we can be saved yet by the fact that it’s so powerful, and so easy.

So there’s my lesson, something I didn’t expect to learn in a corporate meeting: speak from your heart, and you will be heard. Listen with your heart, and you will be amazed.

Dr. Les Kertay

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