Not just for Dads

Intentional Influence – Thoughts for Leaders and Fathers…and anyone who knows some!

Time to say goodbye?

Dear Andreas,
It’s so sad you are leaving. You’re such a great guy. We will miss you.
Wish we could have gotten to know each other better while you were here.
Love, Bob

Recently I quit my job. We also moved away from the town we were living in. That meant a lot of “good-byes”.

Something I noticed when I was leaving was all the kind words people said to me. Kind words, similar to that fictional goodbye note at the beginning of this post.

It was an emotional time and I, too,  started thinking about how to encourage my friends, neighbors and colleagues before we left. I actually wrote over 20 handwritten letters with kind and encouraging words to various people I had worked and lived closely with.

Isn’t that great? Am I not a thoughtful, encouraging guy?

The problem: It was the first time I had done that in all the years I had lived there. The people I had spent so much time with; the same people I could think of so many positive things about, now that I was leaving. But before that: not once.

I also hadn’t received so many kind words when I wasn’t leaving. I had never received a note from Bob that read:

Dear Andreas,
It’s so sad you are leaving. You’re such a great guy.We will miss you.
Wish we could have gotten to know each other better while you were here.
I am glad you are not leaving. Looking forward to more great times together.
Love, Bob

Are you surprised? When have you last received a letter of encouragement for “no specific reason”? Have you told someone what you appreciate about them, although they weren’t leaving?

I have. But not very often. Definitely not often enough.

I have left before. I have moved and said goodbye many times in my life. And I have noticed a pattern: people start appreciating things in others, when they realize they won’t be around much.

Now moving away is one thing. The end of our life is another. One of the biggest regrets at funerals may be: I wish I could have told him how much I love him and what a great guy he was.

Why wait until its too late?
Why not write a goodbye card, without anyone actually leaving?
Why not tell someone they are awesome, just because they are?

Words are so simple and yet they can be so powerful.

I want to make it a habit to say good things to people. But habits start with the first step. So right now I am going to write a short note of encouragement to a friend. Just because he’s cool and I haven’t told him in a while!

And you?
What are you waiting for?

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