Saturday, January 28, 2012

Handshakes...



People watch you...and you influence...
Most of us have heard the thought that, in a crowd, you influence at least seven people around you. We do have an influence on people and sometimes we don't even realize it. It can be a good influence or a bad influence, positive or negative, but like it or not, it's there. People watch us, no matter how little notoriety we have. The simple things, in life, that we do, are seen by those around us and by those we serve with, work with, are part of a crowd we are in, or are part of our family. 
I was reminded of that at church recently. We take time to shake hands at the beginning of our services after we open in congregational singing. I try to shake as many people's hands as I can, and I especially like to shake the hands of the children and teens (I'm a little goofy and I work with those age groups in some church functions). I usually do my best to make them laugh or, at least, smile, because we spend too much time on the negative in life.
I shook the hand of a young man about age three. I have probably done this over a hundred times with him in the past. 
This time, after I shook his hand, something was different. His dad came up to me, just moments after I walked away, and said that his son whispered to him, that I only shook his hand once. I didn't realize that this young boy paid so much attention to our handshakes. You see, normally, I shake his hand and either pretend that my hand is stuck to his or I vigorously shake it several times as he laughs. I shook his hand again, but did it the way he enjoyed and expected. 
Now, I know, that this seems to be a small thing, but it's still an influence and, to this boy, I was messing up by not shaking hands correctly. He's my buddy and I enjoy his laughter, but I truly forgot that I was influencing him and that he watched me. Simple, but not to him. 
I'm so glad that I was not remembered for a negative thing that I had done or an unkind word I said. He remembered me for a cool (maybe not so cool, but different) handshake. It could have been an epic fail if I had made wrong choices. 
Lessons Learned: Realize that others pay attention to you and be careful of how you influence them.  
Thoughts: Who have you influenced today? Did you pay attention to the little things?

8 comments:

  1. What a great way of  opening the heart up!  You are right.  Even though we are usually aware of our surroundings - it is the people around us that matter.  I don't hear very well, so in conversation I tend to look at a person's eyes and face very intensely - some people are put off by that, but more often than not, it is appreciated because they notice that I am actually interested in what they are saying.  Thank you for reminding me that I influence people in other ways, too.  I think I'll take some notes this week and chart my progress. God bless you!

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  2. Susan, What a tremendous comment! You just encouraged me to influence more - thanks for reading and please continue...

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  3. How many times have I caught myself using phrases that I heard from my father when speaking to my own children? Obviously he influenced me in a way that has stayed with me through my life. What am I doing (or not doing) that will stay with my children for their lives? Which phrases do I want to have my own grandchildren hear from their parents?

    Good stuff, Craig. Thanks for the reminder.

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  4. Excellent comment. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  5. danblackonleadershipJanuary 30, 2012 at 12:31 AM

    It's true everyone can influence some one. This is why I believe everyone can be a leader because influence is leadership. I know each day I work I have the potential to impact young peoples lives. I work with foster kids. 

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  6.  Great post, Craig! :) I learned this lesson directly a few months ago at work.  My irritation and disinterest in my job was VERY noticeable to my co-workers.  I honestly thought no one was paying attention.  I've since overhauled my attitude and now like my job.

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  7. So glad you focus on young people. They need influence and help. Thanks for reading.

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  8. Wow, that's hard to do. Glad you made the change. Thanks for reading and the comment. J
    Keep reading.

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Comments always welcome...