DO Sweat the Small Stuff and Why You Should! – Al Getler
Last week I saw a brief video by Msgr. James C. Vlaun, CEO of TelecareTV.org. You can see it here: VIDEO
You don’t have to watch the video and I am certainly not trying to push religion on you. The message that Msgr. Vlaun gave in the video caused me to tweet the following every day for a week:
Life is about the small stuff. Make a difference in someone’s life today.
The Original Book’s Intention
To be sure, the author of the book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff …and it’s all small stuff” was trying to help us see that small changes in thinking, make big changes in our lives. If you recall the book cover promised ‘Simple ways to keep the little things from taking over your life’ and gave lots of great advice for things you could stop doing and start doing to create a better life. To my shock, author Richard Carlson passed away suddenly. See his site for more information.
Msgr. Vlaun’s message of “It’s about the little things we do for each other and it is so important for us to recognize that little things do matter,” really made me think.
Uncle Eddie the Crossing Guard
Uncle Eddie was actually my great-uncle and he was indeed an uncle that was great.
After his wife, Aunt Emily, passed away suddenly in their New York City apartment, Uncle Eddie moved out near us in the New Jersey suburbs. My dad landed Uncle Eddie a part-time job at his friend’s dry cleaners and I would go their after school to visit with him. He taught me so many jokes, one-liners and tricks in between serving customers that it was school, after school. And the customers loved this sweet, old guy.
Apparently bored with dry cleaning, Uncle Eddie took on a job as a crossing guard. He told me he also did it because the ladies dug his uniform. His post was at a busy intersection for both cars and grammar school kids. I watched Uncle Eddie do his job several times, often when he didn’t know I was there. He wiped noses, tied shoes, cheered up sad kids, handed out sticks off gum (he seemed to have an endless supply of Fruit Striped Gum) and generally watched over “his kids”. Most of all he laughed and his laughter cheered many a kid as iwell as adult passers-by.
When Uncle Eddie passed away in 1982, families came in droves to say good-bye. Many of them told stories of the small things that meant so much to them each day.
A Room without a View
The first time we took our girls to Disney World, we combined it with a conference. I did my due diligence and found out the hotel we were staying in had a view of all of the Disney fireworks from each park. You had to have a room above a certain floor level and facing in the right direction. I called ahead and made a specific request to have our room in the right spot.
When we arrived, the desk clerk immediately told me that the hotel was overbooked with little wiggle room. They would do their best to move us, but for now we would not be facing the fireworks and would be on a lower floor. I was upset and asked to speak to the general manager who was not available. He ended up calling our room hours later, again apologized, and again offered to move us as soon as he could. He suggested calling each day to check as well and assured me it was not a nuisance to his staff.
To cut to the chase, we never got the room facing the fireworks. When we weren’t at one of the parks during a display, we could go to the top floor and peer out a window to catch the show. But my kids didn’t talk about that when they got home.
What the girls did tell everyone about was the platter of cookies and milk that awaited them on their bed each night when we got back to our room.
The first night included a handwritten note from the general manager apologizing for the mix up. I kept that note card for a long time. It was on Marriott letterhead, not Disney as you might expect. The Disney Magic had seemingly spread down the street and this GM felt it.
Small Stuff in Action
Cookies and milk. Big deal, right?
To two little girls this was huge. This small stuff became the favorite part of their day even with competition from a large, famous mouse.
What is your small stuff for your business or organization? What will make people stop and take notice of the small thing you did to make their time with you special?
When I was a kid my old man would take me through the singing toll booth on the George Washington Bridge where the collector sang his lungs out in a beautiful baritone voice. Small stuff.
Olive Garden hands out those mint chocolate candies with your check. Small stuff.
Southwest Airlines never disappoints me on their flight. I always get a laugh from a cabin announcement. Small stuff.
When someone is trying to get across two lanes of traffic to turn, I always let them go. Small stuff.
Mother Theresa did only small stuff along her way, yet she moved mountains. She said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
The thing about small stuff is that it usually costs very little. Often times the small stuff is a simple gesture, a difference maker and something uniquely you.
Think of your small thing. Use it in your work. Use it throughout your day.
Tie a shoe. Wipe a nose. Keep some gum on hand.
Life is about the small stuff. Make a difference in someone’s life today. Can you?
What small stuff do you do each day that makes a difference? What have you seen others do? Share your thoughts in the Disqus section after this post or by clicking HERE if you are reading it in an email.