If you ever find yourself doubting that you can make a difference at work, I have a personal story that illustrates how easy it really is.
My first career was in marketing, with national and international advertising agencies. I loved the job but had a boss who I struggled with. The net result was a considerable amount of stress. My response to this was to bury my head in my work, and just try to make sure I did the absolute best job that I could. I showed up early, worked through lunch and left late. All work and no play.
Every week or so, a couple of colleagues would drop by my office and ask if I’d like to join them for lunch. I would thank them, then decline with the excuse that I was just too busy. After a while it became sort of a standing joke.
One day in early Spring they did something a little different. Instead of asking if I wanted to go out for lunch, three of them simply walked into my office, picked me up, chair and all, and carried me two blocks to a Chinese restaurant. I protested all the way, but the next thing I knew lunch was on the table and I found myself eating, laughing and generally enjoying myself.
Enjoying myself at work. Huh. Who knew that was even possible?
To this day I still see that moment as a bit of a turning point in my workplace attitude. The old question of “do you live to work or work to live?” was replaced with “Why not just live while you’re working?” And the truth is that it might never have happened without the help of some very special people.
What I learned is that we should never underestimate how much of a difference we can make in the lives of those around us, and how much influence we have on our workplace environment. Try it. See if you can have a positive impact on a coworker this year, as my friends had on me. I can promise from personal experience that it will never be forgotten!
CEO, The Belding Group of Companies