We are all guilty.
We mean to care, to make a difference, to interact. We mean to connect.
Maybe it is our overuse of technology, our lack of time, or our over stimulated brains that are causing us to have selective hearing. We are all so “busy” in the whirlwind of our own lives that we seldom stop long enough to actually wait for, or care about the responses of those around us.
How many people each day do we come in contact with? How many times do we ask, “How are you?” More importantly, how many times when we ask this most basic of human questions, do we actually wait for a real and genuine response?
Do we really want to know more, or has “How are you?” become an extension of just saying hello? I for one, enjoy interacting with the people in my day. I think that we each have something to teach one another, and more importantly, we each have something to learn from each other as well. Being curious about one another is the foundation not only on which relationships are built, but also on which we refresh and evolve ourselves. Being interested in one another is paramount to our personal growth and wellness.
Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the long lost art of personal communication. In my mind, nothing replaces this face-to-face interchange. The emotion, the smiles, and the interaction complete my day. For those very same reasons, in my coaching practice, I much prefer to coach in person versus on the phone. I am troubled that often, we do not take this personal time with one another that is so well deserved and necessary. I am uncertain which is most to blame, is it our disinterest and lack of patience with the human condition, or the fall out from all of our virtual methods of communicating? Has social media connected us all in such a way that we no longer hunger for actual, authentic conversation?
I, for one hope not.
Think about how meaningful and significant your daily interactions would be if you really wanted to know the answer when you asked, “How are you?” Can you recall a person in your life who listened and questioned with such rapture that you felt not only linked to them, but on course and closer with the world at large? Think about what a customer service windfall, as well as a personal life skill it would be if we each stopped and connected…really connected to the people in our day-to-day life.
No one possessed a knack for engaging people more than my friend Mark. Mark had that rare quality of being able to relate with all whom he met. He understood the value of listening and he was a master at making whomever he was speaking to feel extremely important because he was curious. He asked really powerful questions and he genuinely wanted to know your answers. It did not matter if the topic was vast or small, he was interested, and his interest made all whom had the privilege of talking to him feel important as well.
Last week, my brave friend Mark lost his battle with malignant melanoma.
Over the course of his illness, he and his family taught an entire community how to be courageous and how not to give up, even in the face of death. Choosing to believe in who you are, choosing to remain hopeful, and choosing to champion the human spirit are benchmarks by which Mark led us all. Mark taught us about the power and importance of friends and family and about the significance of engaging in a strong human interaction even in the face of adversity and fear.
Not only did Mark know how to make everyone around him feel important, he was important too.
Mark left his mark in many ways as witnessed by the 400+ people that attended his funeral and the hundreds that poured into his home in the days following to pay their respects. I think everyone who knew him would agree that Mark owned the art of communication. He understood people and what made them tick. Throughout his life he held many very significant positions both professionally and community wide. One he was especially proud of was his partnership with The Melanoma Research Foundation. He partnered with them to create Mark The SPOT! An initiative to empower the hair stylist community to help with early detection of unusual moles or lesions found during the routine styling process.
Please consider making a donation in Mark’s honor to Mark The SPOT!
Are you ready to make your mark?
If so, stop the disconnect and begin the task of reconnecting. Start asking thoughtful questions and really start listening for those answers. Meet people where they are at in their lives. In so doing, you may just begin to see a change in yours.
Together, we can make a difference in the world.
Together, maybe we can even wipe out melanoma.
Together, we can remind each other to wear sunscreen and also to get check ups.
Rest in peace Mark…your kind and generous soul will be missed, but your legacy continues on.
~ Randi Levin, Certified Transitional Coach, mentor, writer and inspirational speaker, partners with her clients to define and navigate the many “acts or chapters” of their lives. She is a subject matter expert in the art of reinvention and it is her joy to unleash her client’s unlimited potential and to tap into what she calls, “the evolving business of you.” Contact RandiCLevin@gmail.com or 347-395-6255.