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A simple question can add so much value!

I just got home from a conference where I presented on connecting with others, instead of just communicating with others. The inspiration for this presentation comes from ‘Everyone Communicates, Few Connect’, a book written by my mentor, John C. Maxwell. In this book, John points out that as leaders and connectors, we must live out what we are communicating.

Every day I set out to intentionally add value to at least one person in my path. Boy did I get a great opportunity to do this last Wednesday. John Maxwell and his amazing team have taught me that one of the ways to add value to people is to ask them questions. I was out to dinner at a local restaurant, and our waitress was phenomenal. She had the most amazing personality. In my heart, I was thinking of how much potential she has. So, I asked her what she wanted to be when she grows up. She was initially shocked that I would ask her that. She smiled sheepishly, giggled and said, “I want to be a cartoon voice”. She proceeded to give me two other things that she wanted to do if her first plan didn’t work out; drive the Oscar Meyer Weiner mobile and own an antique store. I was impressed that she had several dreams to be quite honest. I asked her what she was doing to become a cartoon voice. She said she wasn’t really doing anything, because most of the people who do that are celebrities. We went on to discuss that the celebrities did not reach that status overnight. I encouraged her to seek out her dream. I told her how I am getting ready to live my dream of traveling the world teaching leadership with John Maxwell.

She came back to the table a few minutes later, obviously overwhelmed with emotion. She relayed that she went into the kitchen, and told the girl who was doing the dishes that she had this great table of customers and that she was asked what she wanted to be when she grew up. Curious, the dish girl asked her what that was. Would you believe that this girl’s mother is on that business! A door opened for this bright young lady this evening! She is now going to set up a phone call to be introduced to her co-workers’ mother!

There are a few lessons in this story:

1. Care about people enough to help them in any way you can

2. Ask people questions

3. Listen

4. Dreams are possible

5. When a door opens, bust right through it

What kinds of questions are you asking people around you that can add more value to your life? Do you care enough to find out more about others than just the basics that you need to get by? Do you see potential in others, and let them know? I challenge each of you who is reading this to consider these questions and work on any one where you are falling short. You never know what impact a simple question will have on a person.

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