I was doing some errands and had to go to the mall. While I was there, I walked past one of those vendor carts that sits in the pathway area and the young lady manning one of them, Patricia, said good morning to me with a big smile. I said good morning back and continued on, but then got to thinking and made my way back to her.
“You are the only person I have passed this morning who has greeted me. Whether shopkeeper or fellow shopper, you are the only one and I wanted you to know that I appreciate that. Keep it up because it made my morning,” I said to her big surprised look.
She responded that she always does it because too many people fail to acknowledge each other and see each other as people. In fact, she told me a story of how a couple of days prior she did it and a woman came back to her to say thanks. The woman proceeded to tell her that she needed a kind word as her daughter had recently committed suicide and that she had been in depression for days. A couple of simple words helped lift someone from despair even if only momentarily.
While that story in and of itself is inspiring and should make us all rethink addressing people with kind words regularly, this was only the start of a longer conversation I had with Patricia.
During our chat, she relayed to me that she was not passionate about her job. She told me she had a bigger purpose and mission that she wanted to pursue but didn’t have the means to do it right now. She really wanted to become a minister and help others. We continued talking for a bit more and I left her with my feeling that she was already doing it, she was already fulfilling her mission just in a different, less direct way. I’m not sure if that had any impact on her whatsoever but I certainly hope it got her thinking.
As I meandered on my way to get my errands finished, I thought more about this. How many people have aspirations or missions they want to accomplish and are waiting for the “open door” that will allow them to do it full time? Then I got to thinking about the fact that there are so many opportunities to accomplish great things from where people sit right now.
My words to Patricia were not just to placate her, they were true. I really believe that the simple acts of smiling, saying good morning, and talking with people are realizations of her mission. She is helping people and enriching their lives. Regardless of whether that is her “job” or not is irrelevant, she is driven by her “why” and is making it happen whether she even realizes it or not. This should give her something to wake up for every day.
So, where are you? Are you realizing your mission? Do you have a mission? Do you have a “why” that inspires you regardless of your job? What gets you up in the morning other than a paycheck? What can you do to enrich others within the role you currently hold? The answers to these questions can change you and make life the rewarding event it is meant to be for you and the world even if it is just small piece of it.
We don’t all get to be leaders of great movements that change the course of history or climb mountains that inspire others to conquer challenges, no, some of us are regular folks who go to work, pay the rent, and feed our families. But in those, what some would call mundane activities, are so many opportunities to do something that can change the course of someone’s history or inspire someone to conquer a challenge. As the poet Walt Whitman so aptly put it, “The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
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