Imagine getting a phone call, and the person on the other end of the line says the following: "I walked into your community ready and excited for a job interview, and no one greeted me when I entered. The concierge asked me to take a seat, and I sat waiting while people passed by, but no one stopped to ask me if I needed anything. It was so cold in your entry way, but I sat there shivering and hoping that my interview would be soon. I waited over an hour and then I thought, 'Do I really want to work in a place where no one is smiling, the atmosphere is not warmly inviting, and everyone seems too busy to stop to talk to me?'"
These were the words I heard over the phone this weekend. And even though it was difficult for me to hear this brutally candid feedback, I realized that the same negative scenario could occur at any community or at any company, not only in senior living. In fact, I recall times when I have intentionally walked past people and used the excuse that I was too busy to offer a greeting or to inquire how they were doing.
The truth is we are all busy, and sometimes we find ourselves so focused on the task at hand that we forget one inescapable and paramount fact: People are at the heart of everything we do. No matter who they are, people will always treasure authenticity and will exude passion about the art of "being."
The business world is filled with people who are driven in various ways to "leave their mark" through their unique talents and personal contributions. However, these goals of being impactful are frequently met with unexpected obstacles lying in our path. More than ever before, people seem to be weighed down by their accumulation of "stuff," including material possessions, an obsession with job titles, a desire for social status... the list goes on and on.
For each of us, our "stuff" is unique and tailored to our personality and life experiences. Each of us must candidly take a personal inventory and evaluate precisely what our "stuff" consists of and realize how our "stuff" may be holding us back from reaching our goals, starting with how we interact with others.
It has been said that "none are so blind as those who refuse to see." We would do well to heed this warning and ensure that we don't fall victim to our own willful ignorance. We don't want to be the type who looks but does not "see" the beauty of people all around us. Likewise, if we're not careful, we may find ourselves "listening" without truly "hearing" or understanding the pain and inner turmoil that others are trying to communicate to us.
As we move into this new year, let's be intentional about being "present" in every way. This is how we truly show others how much we value them.