Month: December 2014

I Have a Name

I have recently started working on a really exciting ballooning project. A couple of my ballooning friends are planning to fly a balloon over the Pacific Ocean, from Japan to the US. To learn more about this project, go to

As a result of this project, I have been working with a few corporations to help us out on the US side with recovering the equipment.

I solicited one well known national logistics company thinking they could give me advice. Specifically, my note read like this:

Thanks for the time to consider helping us figure this out!

As it turns out, they did not take the time to help us figure it out. Instead, I got this note back:

Thanks for not caring

Thanks for not caring

People or Tasks?

A friend at church once told me, “When people become tasks, I know I need to take a break.” I thought when I wrote my note to this company, I was a real person with a personal interest in a pretty cool project. What I got back clearly told me I was a task to this company. On the plus side, I did get a response. Part of me didn’t even expect that!

When caring for people and their needs becomes just another task to add to the list and get it done as fast as possible, we are missing the point.

Use My Name

I get it – they probably get hundreds of requests for help, or money, or something each day. They can’t possibly be expected to help everyone, or even be interested in everyone. However, by failing to actually insert my name in the communication they left me wanting.

Contrast that note above with this one:

A better way to respond

A better way to respond

I have a similar reaction when I receive emails directed to me without using my name. Maybe I am old school, but I learned to open a communication with some sort of a salutation. Rehearse this in your own mind, how does it sound when a missive starts with the content? How about when it starts with some small acknowledgement that you are a real person, with a name?

Your Next Move

Next time you are feeling overwhelmed with everything, and everyone, in your inbox remember those are real people with real lives and real feelings. Treat them with the care they deserve, even when you don’t feel like it.

The Wake We Leave

As we go through life, we leave a wake behind us in the results we produced and the lives we touched. I first heard this concept during a conference with Henry Cloud, and it has left its mark on me. Depending on your attitude about yourself, you may imagine your wake to be entirely positive, or entirely negative. In reality, it is probably a mixture of both.

In my opinion, the wake we leave with people is more important, and more lasting, than the wake we leave in tasks or results. Rarely do we remember people who delivered a particular project on time and how that changed our lives. Although I think working hard to deliver results is key to our success and fulfillment, changing lives is much more satisfying to me. The challenge is that it is very hard to know when you have done it.

Love Letter

I discussed that problem a bit in my post about being Defeated. In that post, I also mentioned keeping a file of “love letters” to help you remember you are doing a good job. I got one of those letters today, and it made my day.

Hi Dave
I recently transferred to [city] as the Training Team Lead directing a small team of 4 individuals to develop and design training programs and curriculum for operations and maintenance for [Company]. It is a very exciting time in my career development and I really feel our team will make an positive impact on the development of personnel. I’m not sure that this would have been possible without the interaction with RMG and in particular yourself. I felt I learned much from you in the short time we worked together on the incident management process. Hope everything is well with you and your family and thanks again for the part you played in my personal development.

We could talk all day about how to improve the wake we leave. However, this post is really about letting people know you benefitted from their wake.

Your Next Move

Have you been affected by someone in an amazing way? Write them a quick note and let them know. You will make their day, and improve your wake at the same time.

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