The Joy We Leave Behind

While taking a walk over the weekend I discovered a mermaid down the beach a bit. Some extraordinarily talented person sculpted a ten-foot mermaid lying on her side, head resting back on her arm, staring out to sea (somewhat wistfully as if she had lovely memories there.)

I stood with wonder in front of this sand sculpture admiring the detail (long cascading hair, each scale in her tail perfectly curved, the angle of her body, the weightiness of the fin, and even a tuft of red-brown seaweed framing her smiling face.) As I admired the workmanship I began to feel very joyful. I could feel a smile happening on my face. Soon I was grinning like a kid.

The mermaid gave me the opportunity to feel the wonder and curiosity of a child who discovers a magical and unexpected pleasure. I grinned all the way back to my chair. (Where I immediately started writing this note to you.)

I wonder if the mermaid-maker had any idea at all of how much joy s/he had left behind on the beach that day.

The mermaid reminded me that we all have a chance, every day, to leave a little joy behind. It’s not always as tangible or spectacular as a ten-foot long sand sculpture but it can be real and it can be lasting. A little joy can make someone’s day real special.

Here are 7 ways to leave a little joy behind for your customers and employees:

Catch someone doing something right and tell them how much you enjoy, admire, appreciate (or what ever your real emotion is) their doing it – (“Rebecca, I couldn’t help but overhear how skillfully you handled that last customer. You really did a great job at calming him down AND solving his problem on the spot.”)

Listen with your heart and acknowledge someone’s strengths and good qualities – (“Rob, it’s easy to see how much you care about our customers, you’re a natural at this job.”)

Spend a little time really understanding what a customer needs – (“Shirley, tell me what your overall business dreams are, and I’ll see how I can help.”)

Create some random acts of kindness at work – Have breakfast sent in to the office with a card saying “your such a great team.” Sign it anonymously, (“A secret admirer,” “Your greatest fan.”) A customer service manager I know use to slip in early in the morning and leave candy bars with corny little notes at everyone’s station. It brightened the day in stressful times.

Follow-up to make sure a problem was solved and the relationship remains intact – (“Amy, I’m a customer care manager and I noticed that last week you called to complain about the color of the towels you ordered. First of all I would like to thank you for your feedback. In the future we will check to make sure the color that appears in the catalog matches the product as close as possible. Secondly, I want to make sure that we solved your problem quickly and kindly and that you know that you are a valued customer and we appreciate your business.”)

The Cracker Jack Technique – Slip a small gift in every package that leaves the warehouse or office. There is a kid in all of us.

Send a post card home – Send a post card with your words of appreciation for all to see. (“Jim, you are a valuable member of our team, thank you for all you do to make our company a success.”)

It is easy to create joy in the lives of others, when we put our attention and intention on it. What kind of joy will you leave behind today?