“Freddie!” Alec shouted across the parking lot through the trees. Walking around the corner, I saw it was Alec. With his hair slicked back and a smile from ear to ear he greeted me with energy and grace. Alec and I are both in the same Dale Carnegie training on Thursday afternoons. Little did Alec know, he turned my day around!
Interestingly enough, my last few blogs have been inspirational stories from my life about how I’ve brought a positive joy to others. I’ve been focused around helping you see and feel the impact you can have on others in your community. How you can be an Agent for the Common Good. But we are all human and today I was having a down day. My day started with visiting my mom and she was crying in bed in pain. And one negative thing after another seemed to keep snowballing downhill all morning. But Alec changed everything for me.
It was a simple gesture. All he did was call out my name through the trees as we met and walked to class. Most Thursdays, we’d always embrace this same way as if we competed with who could energize the other up more but little did Alec know the impact he had on my day this time.
You see, on the car ride to class my eyes started to produce that first action towards the beginning of tears. My throat and neck began to choke up. I was thinking about my mom and her fight. I was thinking about “why me God” and how I wanted to bring joy and happiness to her poor quality of life that she lives in. She subtly jokes with me about when I’m going to get married and have kids. In the back of my mind, I’m questioning how much time I’ll have with her. Her and my career were on my mind. Not to mention, it was hot as the desert outside and my AC just went out! Needless to say, I was not in a good state of mind when Alec called out my name.
What Alec did was a simple act. He acknowledged me. He showed appreciation and care for another human. Ironically enough, one of the Dale Carnegie human relation principles is “a persons name is the sweetest word in any language.” Just by calling a person by their name you’d be surprised the impact you can have on them, much like Alec on me.
Alec played an instrumental role in my day but this blog is about an even bigger message. We can all be like Alec and trigger an emotional response, trigger dopamine, and trigger a positive thought in others around us. Just that little “Freddie” changed the course of negative thoughts to positive thoughts with positive actions the rest of the day. You can be someones Alec.
I left class and first thing I saw was a young man about my age with a cardboard box that read, “Hungry, just want food.” I was sitting in my car at the stop light getting ready to make a U-turn as I saw him. At first, I had a cynical thought run through my head about how this is probably some guy working the system. Then, I reflected on WWJD. “I (God) was hungry and you gave me food. I (God) was thirsty and you gave me drink.” Alec moved me towards compassion.
I stopped by the bank on my way to the gym this afternoon and saw a friend of mine Vinny! Vinny has always tugged at my heart because he has had a tough road in life. I went over to him and we had a great conversation about how he’s got a few jobs going and he’s going back to school this fall. We chuckled about each others dating life and shared a few good laughs. In my head, I was thinking wow. Vinny has come a long way from when I last ran into him. I gave him some encouragement and recognized him for how proud I was of him for turning his life around. As I was about depart, he stopped me. He gave me a hug and said, “Thank you man, you’re a good dude, I would love to come see you speak!” His kind words meant a lot to me coming from him.
As I got to the gym, I was finishing my workout with a mile run on the treadmill. As I was running, I reflected back on a talk I heard last night at a Young Professionals Bayside event. The lady who spoke talked about how she appreciated her health because she had been living with MS for the last 13 years. As I was running, I thought back to her stories about how she would constantly trip because her feet would go numb due to MS. I thought to myself on that treadmill how grateful I was to be running and planting one foot ahead of the other. I was getting off the treadmill and placed my iPhone in my pocket; when suddenly, I felt a penny in my gym shorts. I grinned and thought, “I’m going to leave this lucky penny right here on this treadmill for the next person! Hopefully it will make someone’s day like Alec did for me!”
Alec was a catalyst for change. He simply called out my name but really he transformed my thoughts. Thank you Alec for being an Agent for the Common Good.