He’s wears that Santa Claus belly, dry sense of humor, and warm smile. Every time we get together something about his presence slows my heart beat down. Everything slows down. When I tell my friends, “I get to see Mr. Hendrickson today!” I always have to explain he’s like another dad to me. I have been blessed with two amazing men in my life—my real dad and Mr. Hendrickson.
The original El Fenix downtown is our regular spot. He orders his cup of queso and I typically manage to find a different plate of food every time. This past week I got three tostadas: creamy queso, beans, and that delicious guacamole tostada. And don’t get me started on those chips and salsa—my absolute favorite! It might not be any fancy restaurant, but man, those chips and salsa though….Well now I am getting hungry.
The meal normally lasts a couple hours, not because the waiter takes forever, but because we got lost in conversation. There is something about his presence that refreshes the very core of my being. My guard falls down and crumbles without me even telling it to. He makes me feel okay, a little more sane, and valued.
If we are all being completely honest, the last few months of my life has felt like something along the lines of a tornado/tsunami/hurricane all rolled into one explosion. It came in like a wrecking ball, as Miley Cyrus might proclaim. Ashes to ashes all my plans fell down. I’ve slept in some days and still felt exhausted for the rest of the day to come. People like Mr. Hendrickson blast the sunshine right in the middle of this storm, this wrecking ball destruction and these ashes.
I rambled for hours during that afternoon at El Fenix. The way he listened to me and put up with my crazy-analytical self made me feel important. Dale Carnegie shares this overall principle in this week’s reading: Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.
Mr. Hendrickson did this for me. True friendships do this for me. This is what I want to be to the people I work with, the lady who makes my food at lunch, and to the people I love. I want to be this not just for my clients or the organizations I do work for. I want to be this for my family, my friends, and my co-workers.
When I think about the hurricane that stormed in like a wrecking ball, I am humbled. I am kicked in the butt and reminded that everyone’s got his or her storms swirling around and we got to be mindful of that. So when we start that conversation, we smile. We get to know their name. And we make them feel important, not with shallow flattery, but with a touch of Mr. Hendrickson.
This Week’s Exercise:
1. Text, Call, Email. Whether you are meeting with a client this week or taking a friend out to lunch, schedule a time where you can be intentional to lift someone up.
2. See. When you get together, keep your eyes open. Ask yourself, “What is there about him or her that I can honestly admire?”
3. Talk. When you find something about them that you appreciate, let them know. If they are talking about work and how they are worried if their client is happy, comment on their heart for their client. If they reveal to you their dedication to their family, compliment them. And if they comment about their own awkwardness, encourage them to embrace it like Zoey Deschanel does on New Girl.