Over the past few years I’ve been lucky. I have been
reminded of the most important thing we can all do to be more successful in our
businesses, our careers and our personal lives.
Treat everyone well.
It’s a simple lesson but easily forgotten. Or maybe, for some, it was never
learned. I admit to neglecting this rule more than once in my career. Maybe
because it’s so simple, we disregard its value and its power.
I have been fortunate to witness this rule in its full glory. The best
examples have been given by my parents and my wife. They have always taken the
time and effort to treat everyone they meet with courtesy, respect and warmth.
And they do it with great consistency, so I know it comes from their hearts and
not their heads.
This never fails to impress me.
But there is a another group of people who have made a similar impact on me.
These people are complete strangers to me. At least they all started that way.
I’m the kind of person who reaches out to others. I never think about it, I
just do it. I read an article I like and I email the writer to tell them. I
comment on blog posts. If I read about someone or some organization that
impresses me, I’ll often send them an email.
Most of these people never respond. That’s okay. I don’t expect them to. They
don’t know me (to them I’m literally a nobody). They’re busy. They have plenty
of other things to deal with.
But some do respond.
What surprises me is how many of the “big-name” people respond. People like
Guy Kawasaki, Seth Godin, Harry Beckwith, Jeff Fox and David Meerman Scott just
to name a few. These people have big audiences, best-selling books and (I
assume) busy schedules.
Because of their success, these people have a lot of people who know who they
are and who read their stuff. Some of them measure their audiences in the
millions. They have climbed to a lofty place in our business world’s
As a result, they have a lot of people knocking on their doors. The Internet
makes all of us more accessible. The impact to most of us is big. The impact to
people like Guy Kawasaki is huge.
Yet, last week when I sent Guy an email asking his opinion about something,
he responded right away. I mean, within a few minutes!
When someone who has a million readers will take the time to respond to a
complete stranger, I see a lesson there. I see a value in that
person’s actions that I admire. I see someone who values others without
judging them. I see someone who understands what makes the world tick.
They take the time to treat everyone well. And maybe that’s why they’re so