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When it comes to cultivating enduring relationships, we spend a lot of time emphasizing meaningful experiences. Yet, it's important we don’t overlook that the most profound gifts often aren't material but are found in the power of words and community support. It holds the potential to create lasting connections and support systems that come to our aid in the most unexpected moments, both personally and professionally.
Let me share a couple of my own experiences that revealed the strength of community and empathy, ultimately forging lifetime bonds. It’s moments like these that remind me why the work we do with our clients has a powerful underlying value that is revealed when it matters most.
Imagine a scenario where you're nominated for an accolade by your peers. As a CEO, I found myself in this position when my team nominated me for a leadership award. The nomination itself was a touching honor, reflecting the team's appreciation. However, the award wasn't meant for me at that time.
The award ceremony concluded, and it was awarded to someone else. However, what followed a week later was something far more impactful. At a team dinner, intended to celebrate our collective achievements, I was presented with a card. Inside was a single sentence, signed by all of my team members: “You’re still our Inspired Leader of the Year” (*award name changed). This simple gesture wasn’t about winning or losing. It was about the shared journey we had experienced together. It was a celebration of how far we had come and all our efforts, combined with our future goals. That sentence displayed the respect, camaraderie, and mutual appreciation that existed within our team.
In that moment, I couldn’t have felt more pride and inspiration. It reminded me that true recognition comes not from external accolades but from the people with whom we share our daily struggles and triumphs. It was a reminder of the strength found in unity, the power of a community that stands by you. For me, it was an acknowledgement more meaningful than any trophy or title. The card and the sentence are trophy enough!
The second experience is a personal one, highlighting how community support can have influence in times of adversity. Life is unpredictable and presented me with one of my most challenging moments – a cancer diagnosis. In these moments, it’s difficult for those around us to know how to best respond and support us. However, it was a friend's humorous yet heartfelt message that shifted my perspective.
Humor is my go-to for coping. It’s just who I am. And this situation was no different. One of the first questions I asked the Doctor about the surgery was how much weight I would lose when they removed the cancer. Because why not find the positive? He was rather taken aback but recovered quickly to tell me no one had ever asked that before. Come on people, be creative! I shared this conversation with my friends and family and my friend’s response aligned perfectly with my outlook. She delivered it through a simple and very unexpected experience. I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers with just a single message: “Congratulations on your upcoming weight loss.”
This line, though light-hearted, was a powerful affirmation of my resilience and our shared understanding and belief that I was going to be fine. It moved a moment of vulnerability into one of hope and positive anticipation, setting the tone for the rest of my recovery.
I still have these messages stored away. They underscore the powerful impact that words and community support can have in our lives – Usually when we least expect or would ask for it. They illustrate how the relationships we’ve fostered, whether professional personal, will surprise you with just how much they are willing to serve you when you need it. And it’s not just for you – They need to see it as well. A community is whole when all members thrive.
Reflecting on these stories, consider your own communities. Are there instances where a simple message from a community member, colleague, or friend deeply affected you? How have these shared experiences influenced and strengthened your relationships?
In our daily communications, whether personal or professional, the power of empathetic, genuine messaging that shows you care cannot be overstated. The words we choose can bridge gaps, foster mutual success, and create connections that withstand the test of time. In moments of uncertainty or celebration, it’s often the support and understanding of our community, expressed through simple yet sincere words, which provide us with strength and solidarity.
Building a supportive community doesn’t happen overnight. It requires consistent effort, genuine engagement, and an understanding of the power of relationships. Whether it’s through acknowledging a team member’s contribution, offering support during a personal crisis, or simply sharing a moment of humor in a stressful situation, every interaction contributes to the strength of your community network.
In business, this means going beyond transactional relationships. It involves understanding the human element in every professional interaction, acknowledging what’s important to them, what’s happening in their world, and being there in times of need. In personal life, it means being present, listening, and offering words of support that resonate with the individual's experience and emotions.
Now that I’ve shared my moments, can you think of some of your own? Do you have messages that have made a similar impact on you? Remember, true connection often appears from the most unexpected moments of empathy and unity, providing us with the support we need when we least expect it.
You have the words to create these incredible bonds with people in your space. If you want to bounce those thoughts or ideas off someone, that’s why we’re here to help. Join one of our monthly Q&A sessions with any questions or ideas. Or feel free to schedule time to chat one on one.