Sunday, January 17, 2010

8 First Responder Skills and Best Practices Apps to a Healthy Work/Life

Week of January 17, 2010

There isn’t a doubt in my mind that it was a strong dose of positive faith and hopefulness that allowed my hometown friends, Jim and Andrea’s son, Tom, and his 5 peers and two Lynn University faculty members to survive the devastation in Haiti last week. Jim and Andrea’s email to her friends and family had a subject title that must have been the most important 3 words they have ever said:

“Tom is Back.”

Your heart feels squeezed, does it not, when you witness the news on Haiti? Mine does. In watching the students on a CBS interview, I recognized Tom, whom I hadn’t seen since we left Milwaukee over 6 years ago. The CBS interviewer asked Tom, the 2nd year Lynn University college student: “Is there anything you’d like to say to the people of Haiti?”

Tom replied: “Prayer. Prayer is the biggest thing that kept us going. Glass half full. The Haitian people and everyone else did their best to help us. Now it is our turn to help them back.”

During another account, I trembled as I heard a father’s plea to help look for Tom’s fellow student, Brittany. The father said that Tom was great; he had helped to keep the students safe. Here is an excerpt from Andrea’s email:

“Tom's fire fighter/first responder training kicked in as soon as the quake
struck. He was fortunately outside (writing in his journal which is not
like him); one of the girls was going to run back into the hotel and he
grabbed her, threw her to the ground and laid on top of her as the hotel
crumbled ‘like a sandcastle’ as Tom said.”

“There was utter chaos around them and they saw things that none of us would want to see. They were amazing in a situation that is inconceivable to us. Thank you all and if I've forgotten anyone please forgive me. We are still in a little shock. We are so grateful for all the prayers and love that came from all of you and people we don't even know.”

Along with keeping the multitudes of people in your hearts, mind, and prayers, I had three significant takeaways here as it relates to all of our relationships. One is: hopefulness/prayer; the second is: inherent skills; and the third is: gratefulness.

Tom’s first word to the interviewer is “prayer.” When we have a strong desire, we pray. Hopefulness is prayer’s first cousin. As a species we are wired to have innate survival skills. Tom’s training first responder training skills aligned beautifully with his natural instincts to survive. And Andrea’s and Jim’s letter with the harrowing account was wrapped up in a pouring out of gratefulness.

What if we followed this model of behavior with our friends, clients, and prospects? Can you imagine the positive results we might experience?

I maintain that we already have those inherent “first responder-like” skills when it comes to our work life relationships. We just need to have the heightened awareness of what is going on around us in order to tap into our own unique, existing, interpersonal skill set.

Here are some “best practices apps” we could learn from Tom, his family, and his peers:

1) Being “other-oriented.” Tom is already outwardly focused; he is Haiti with college peers and professors on a mission trip.

2) Mindfulness. Tom is outside his hotel journaling.

3) Awareness. The quake begins and his senses kick in; not only save himself, but others too.

4) Sharpened problem-solving skills. Tom saves his classmate who is about to run into the soon-to-become “sand castle.”

5) Trust. (Know, Like, and Trust) He is immediately trusted because he has trained skills and the quick confidence to implement them.

6) True Leadership has no Ego. (Last week’s newsletter) Tom does not seek the spotlight (he is in the back row and is the last to speak), nor make any statements about himself on national TV. Everyone else commends him.

7) Pay it Forward. Tom says he has been helped and now it’s our turn to help in kind. Reciprocate. Give back. Just plain give.

8) Be grateful. Acknowledge those that have helped even if you do not know exactly what they did. We can all stand to offer more appreciation and gratefulness to every one of our relationships. How many times can “thank you,” cross your lips this week?

Mindfully Yours,

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