Tuesday, August 29, 2017 / by Ryan Fellows
So this blog post is a little different than our typical Real Estate related or area related blog topics. However, it may be a topic to help you in your personal and professional life. It is just something that makes you go….hmmmmmmm.
A few weeks ago, I attended a visitation for the father of a friend. Our friend was a professional colleague, as well as a fellow church member. His father had lived a full and long life and had recently passed.
I had been to this funeral home dozens of times to honor friends, family of friends, and work colleagues. I had attended visitations with packed rooms and shoulder to shoulder conversations about the devastating loss of their loved one. We hugged friends and had a class reunion of sorts. We filled in with food and flowers to console our friends. This was not that type of visitation.
This was a different atmosphere. It was an older crowd and not a wall-to-wall packed room. There weren’t people filling in, nor were there several pages filled with visitor signatures. There were a handful of family and friends just standing around chatting and comforting one another.
As the younger generation naturally migrated toward one another, we naturally started to discuss work and our small children and trials of being working parents. We all seemed to bond over the awkward feeling of who to talk to and what to say.
When I finally made my way over to visit with our friend, it is always an unnatural feeling and difficult to strike up a conversation. “What do I say?” “What is the best way to console them?”
Also, if you know me at all, speechless is not a characteristic I typically portray. We ask how they are. We tell them that we are here if they need anything. The typical questions you ask when someone loses a loved one. After that you look around, smile, check the time on your phone and make small talk.
After we made it through the daunting formalities, I got to listen to stories about the lost loved one. We heard funny stories and loving stories that displayed who he was as a person. The type of dad, husband and brother. We even heard stories about his late wife and the relationship they had. We heard about how loving he was, how caring, how he would give the shirt off of his back to anyone who needed it, how kind-hearted his late wife was, how giving they were, how she was his world and what beautiful people they were. We nodded and smiled and told the family how they would be missed.
As we hugged our friends and told them goodbye and told them to reach out whenever they needed anything. We drove home and went about our typical daily activities. We made dinner, bathed the kids, and got prepared for the following day. On my drive to work the next morning, when I typically daze out into deep thought on the commute to the office, I got to thinking about the previous evening at the funeral home. I went over the conversations we had and replayed them in my head. I asked myself the question….”What will others say about me when I cam gone?”
I asked myself what I thought my colleagues, friends, clients and family would say about me if the roles were reversed and they were standing in the funeral home making uncomfortable conversation. What are the adjectives people used to describe me? Would everyone’s perception of me be similar? Do I portray the same personality to everyone I come across?
This sparked the interest to conduct an experiment of sorts. I began to ask others what they thought of me. I gave them the instructions of coming up with 3 words to describe me. I told them that they are describing me to someone who doesn’t know me in just 3 words. I did not tell them why or the reason for my questions. I asked an array of people in my life. I asked people that knew me very well, like family as well as co-workers.
I was not surprised by the answers that they came up with, but almost disappointed. Again, if you know me at all, you will see that all of these words DID accurately describe me. However, I asked myself, “Can I do better?”.
Words such as these were used to described me:
Gets Stuff Done
I was curious if these were the bones of the conversations that would take place when it was my time to leave the earth. I asked myself and analyzed these words and wondered if this is how I wanted to be portrayed. Do I want people standing around talking about my life and say, “Man, she was efficient!”, or “Boy did she get stuff done!”. I noticed that there were no words such as caring, giving, kind-hearted, great mother or great friend. Not that I am not, but I can agree, that they are not the most present traits about myself. I am intense, yes, but is there more that I need to present to others?
I was always told 2 things by my mother growing up. The first thing was that you are always being interviewed. This means that you should always be on your game. You need to always conduct yourself as though your next perfect manager is witnessing your behavior. The second was that she asked that, if I were to die the next day, that she wanted to know the same person that my boss knew, that my friends knew, and that my co-workers knew. She didn’t want me to be someone different around her than I do with other audiences.
This is the way that I have always lived my life. I am me and I am the same me no matter who I am around. However, it is important to put yourself in situations and to give yourself the opportunity to show your best self.
I encourage you to conduct this experiment with the people around you. Tell them that they have to describe you to a stranger in only 3 words. See if that accurately describes you and if you are putting your best self forward and making sure that, God forbid, you were to be gone tomorrow, everyone would know the you that you want them to.
- Ryan, your mouthy, goal-oriented, loyal blog writer