With the holiday season fast approaching (gag, cough, choke, sputter, puke…) I have a question to pose: Whom do you love…… at work?
As the holiday parties, end of year budget meetings and the ‘see you next year’ hail and farewells occur, do you hug and kiss your coworkers? Even not in the holiday season, when you see colleagues at peer conventions or association meetings, do you hug and kiss those persons? What about the ones you’ve never officially met? While many of you at this point are wondering if I’ve lost my mind, let me push you over the edge by answering the question myself with an emphatic YES. Hugs and kisses in my business are quite common, and I do not mean the (forgive me) “we are meeting again at church so I should ‘half-hug’ your side and shoulder.’ I’m talking full-on, heart touching “mean-it” hugs. WHAT?! Am I kidding you?! Nope.
You see, my business is a RELATIONSHIP business. We do not only build our businesses together, we build our relationships together. In fact, in a network of tens of thousands of people, those of us who are not ‘first degree’ friends are almost always ‘friends of friends.’ And we’re GOOD FRIENDS. My GOOD FRIEND Martha Carpenter introduced me to this business about a year and a half ago, almost 15 years into our friendship. One year ago, I introduced my good friend of only a few years, Jerry Pena, to the business. When Jerry and Martha met each other at a WORK function, did they hug? You betcha. Their mutual love for me gave them an immediate liking for one another. Their mutual respect for me gave them credibility in one another’s eyes. A few weeks ago, I was at a national meeting for my ‘company’ and while chatting with some friends, someone whose business savvy I admire was walking by and I quickly excused myself to introduce myself to him. I said, “Luke, I’m Patty Lee and I’m….” unable to finish my sentence, he finished it with, “Right! From San Antonio!” and grabbed me for a “full-on” hug (and I was the envy of the room, by the way.) “Great to meet you, I’ve heard a lot about you from _____,” he said. It really doesn’t matter who goes in that blank because it could have been any number of people with whom we have both chosen to work.
Which brings me to one of the other great things about our business – choosing with whom you work. NONE of us has to spend time with anyone not of our own choosing. We don’t come home talking about ‘that woman in accounting with that awful laugh’ or the ‘guy who always comes in smelling like garlic’ and even worse, that demanding boss looking to climb the ladder on your shoulders. We say things like, “I ran into Jerry’s friend, Mario (yeah, we hugged) and he told me the Burn has helped him drop 10 pounds already! He is stoked! (and by the way, very grateful to Jerry for introducing HIM to the business.) If we meet someone new whose personality clashes with ours, we don’t have to do business with them. We just think, “Not right for our team!” and go about our days.
So, when you wander into the holiday potluck or the fancy dinner hosted by your employers this year, think to yourself, “Do I want to hug them?” Better yet, given the option, would you even choose to WORK with them? The New Year is fast approaching….it might be time for a change.