Why the Mundane Matters

by  Mary C. Schaefer  |  Self Leadership

Or, “What was your name again?”

A few years ago I realized how odd it is, at my doctors’ offices, to share highly intimate, personal medical information with people whose names I don’t even know.  I now notice that some medical staff make a point to introduce themselves to me.  If they don’t, I introduce myself (even when I know they know my name…) and ask for their names.  Try this and watch the response.  It wakes them up a little.

The shortage of awareness and appreciation is “going viral.”

Because of our devices, we are used to living in a virtual world, to the point to where interactions with others in the real world can come across as just another transaction… a post, an update.

At a networking event, you’re just another business card.  With the customer service rep on the phone, you’re just one of the dozens of faceless voices they hear that day who have a complaint.  On LinkedIn, there’s that invitation you received just so someone can increase his or her connection count.  At the doctor’s office, you’re just another body to check in.

Take a stand in your part of the world.

Recently I ran across this passage in the book, Emotional Freedom, by Dr. Judith Orloff.  I’m paraphrasing.

Pay attention to the way you deal with someone cutting you off in traffic, or an obnoxious neighbor.  This is not a trivial microcosm of daily aggravation, but a practice lab for more serious issues.

My friends shake their heads at me when I won’t get off this subject —when I hold the customer service agent accountable for hearing me and giving me real help —when I ask the person I don’t know, who just sent me an invite on LinkedIn, if we know each other.

“Do the great while it is still small.” Lao-tzu.

Yes, I want to be seen, but I want you to know I see you too.  This is where the practice lab Judith Orloff mentions happens.

 “Watch your thoughts, they become words; watch your words, they become actions; watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

You’ve probably heard some version of this.  The attribution is still up for debate, but that doesn’t lessen the impact.

How do you use your daily practice lab to shape your destiny and our world?

Image: z_i_b_i at BigStockPhoto

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About The Author

Articles By mary-schaefer
Speaker, coach and trainer Mary Schaefer’s expertise is in creating work cultures where organizations and human beings can both thrive. She is a former HR manager. Find out more about how Mary helps managers empower themselves to make the most of their human resources with this special collection of articles selected for LCG readers:  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Mike Henry  |  12 Dec 2013  |  Reply

Thanks for the great post Mary. We don’t appreciate how we practice our reactions to things. When we worry about the future, we are practicing. Seth Godin called anxiety “experiencing failure in advance.” We “practice” all the time.

That’s why character-based leadership has become so important to me. We get a chance to practice our best “us” doing our greatest work. I appreciate people like you who challenge me and who help hold my practice and my life to a higher standard. Thanks! Mike…

Mary C Schaefer  |  12 Dec 2013  |  Reply

“We get a chance to practice our best “us” doing our greatest work.” That’s quotable, Mike!

Thanks for the reply.

Kelly Hadous  |  12 Dec 2013  |  Reply

Paying close attention to how you act on a daily basis is so important. Being true to yourself both in your personal life and business life reflects who you are as a person, and no matter where you are and what you are doing, character based leadership is essential.

Mary C Schaefer  |  13 Dec 2013  |  Reply

So true, Kelly. Thanks for your comment!

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™  |  12 Dec 2013  |  Reply

Bravo Mary! I do the very same thing. And they do “snap back” a little. I love your post and will be tweeting it in the #Peopleskills community.

I don’t think it is mundane. I think it is the essence of human need.

Kudos and regards,

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