I love NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast and often listen to it when I’m driving. I recently listened to an episode entitled, [Relationships 2.0: The Power of Tiny Interactions], and it got me thinking about Carol’s recent blog, “Hello Love! Right Here, Love.,” that discussed the power and importance of these small daily interactions. The podcast talked about studies conducted on how peoples’ moods are affected when they have positive tiny interactions, and how the removal of them during the pandemic negatively impacted… everyone.
So, I decided to do an experiment. I decided to intentionally bring positivity into all of my “tiny interactions.”
We’ve had a string of appliances challenges and have needed to deal with home warranties, Home Depot, Lowe’s, outsourced delivery companies, and handymen. It hasn’t been the easiest experience. Between issues with supply chains, companies being short-staffed, and just flat-out bad customer service, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time on the phone, and in person, with customer service reps (and 6 weeks without a dishwasher!).
Instead of getting angry with the multiple mishaps and missteps, I chose to bring positivity to every discussion. It’s been both fascinating and uplifting. Bringing positivity to these tiny interactions has lifted me up. I have felt better, happier, and more in control of a challenging situation. I walked away from these interactions smiling. I challenged myself to see if I could get these front-line service employees to laugh, and when I succeeded, I knew that I had filled up their bucket, too. I can only assume that not every call/walk-in brings the same intention, and these service individuals are harried and harassed often within their day. I like to think that I started a ripple effect that made their day a little brighter and a little easier, and maybe, they paid it forward to their next customer.
I find myself saying “I appreciate you” often. I first had someone say that to me a few years ago and it stopped me in my tracks. It wasn’t “I appreciate it.” or “I appreciate your effort/business/doing this.” Instead of appreciating what I had done, it was an appreciation of who I am. It was a shift in focus from doing to being. I loved it and decided I wanted to make that shift, but it took me a while to get comfortable with saying it. I’m not sure why it was hard to do at first maybe because it felt more vulnerable? Regardless, once I started, I couldn’t get enough. Appreciating someone as a “being” versus a “doing” brings an intentional positivity to you and to them. It is a gift.
In our Signature Programs, we talk a lot about tasks that give you energy and tasks that deplete your energy. When you focus on the tasks that give you energy and provide value, you’re operating in your Gift Zone. When you spend time on the tasks that deplete your energy and don’t provide value, you’re operating outside of your Gift Zone. We’re at our best when operating in our Gift Zones, and we encourage each participant to intentionally strive toward playing more often in their Gift Zone. With this shift in focus and intention, I succeeded in operating in my Gift Zone while managing appliance-hell: dare I say, even enjoyed it?
How are your tiny interactions these days? Do they give you energy? Do they deplete you?
Here’s my challenge for you – try saying, “I appreciate you,” in your next tiny interaction. And then, notice if you feel a shift. And then, let me know.