I was standing and visiting with four or five adults at an event recently, when two small hands penetrated our circle of discussion. One hand belonged to Kara, age 14, and the other to her sister, Reese, age 9. Even though I knew the sisters well, several in the group didn’t, and then something unique happened.
Smiling, both sisters distinctly announced, “Hi, I’m Kara; I’m Reese”, as they extended a firm right hand of friendship to everyone in the group. My somewhat amazed adult friends responded with a greeting back, sharing their name with these two young ladies. Kara and Reese then acknowledged their new acquaintances with a pleasant, “Good to meet you, Mr. So-and-so”.
To put it mildly, we adults were blown away. We were impressed by how these girls presented themselves so confidently and cordially to us. In a matter of moments, this round of introductions comprised the following actions:
*A confident approach
*A firm handshake
*A smiling, distinct, straight-eyed greeting
*A pleasant closing
So, how long does it take to make a lasting impression?
Less than thirty seconds.
Several months ago I blogged on The Priceless Art of the Handshake, which captured the mechanics and importance of how one meets others. All good stuff. But what I came to realize with this recent, less than thirty second encounter, is that in today’s highly competitive and impersonal world, young people have a unique opportunity to separate themselves from the pack with this simple, yet powerful expression. A powerful expression that demonstrates:
And out of this simple gesture I’m convinced opportunities will present themselves as scholarships, merit awards, job offers, internships, and lasting relationships that all point to a fulfilling, uncommon life.
Congratulations to Kara and Reese for seizing the opportunity to be exceptional, and their parents, grandparents, relatives, friends, teachers and mentors who have all supported this simple, but powerful expression in their growing young lives.
Once again I’m reminded that an uncommon life is truly found in common life actions. Simple actions when taught, encouraged and put into practice create not only a first impression, but a lasting one. And it’s somewhat amazing it can all happen in thirty seconds or less.
If you think today’s message might be of benefit to a parent, grandparent, relative, friend, teacher, mentor, or better yet, a young person, please pass along. As always, I appreciate your comments and feedback.