Words. We speak them every day. But do we truly realize the impact our words have on others?
I was recently on a business trip in Geneva and had met up with a colleague of mine (we’ll call him “Luc”) whom I hadn’t seen in 4 years. Luc’s smart, funny, carefree, and someone that can make the most uptight person feel liberated.
Anyway, the last time I had seen Luc, he had been working with me in the US, and was successfully living up the bachelor life on an international assignment. We all lived vicariously through him … the travel, the multiple relationships, the risks, the political saviness at work … After a year in the US, he returned to Geneva and life continued (as it has a way of doing) … he got married, had a child, and was diagnosed this year with a bone condition that’s resulted in significant amount of surgeries/rehab for him. On this side of the Atlantic, I lost my dad, got divorced, and had tried unsuccesfully to resign after a great deal of frustration at work (don’t even ask, but Luc talked me into staying.)
On my last night in Geneva, the group went out for dinner and when the time came to say goodbye, Luc hugged me, kissed my cheek, and hugged me again tighter this time saying “Sher … be happy. As long as you have your family and your health, you have everything.” Given what he had been through this past year, I looked at him and said, “That’s so true…” He looked at me earnestly and said, “I have been living with those words for four years now … and I remind myself of them every day. Do you know who gave me these words?” I looked at him and had no idea who could have left him with words that had touched him so profoundly. He said, “You. You gave me these words before I left the US to go back to Geneva.”
And as I left the restaurant, with tears streaming down my face, I couldn’t help but feel touched that I said something to someone that had such impact. Enough so that he wanted to share them back with me. At the same time, I realized that in this case, the words had a positive impact but how many times I have said something that may have had a negative impact?
Words. We speak them every day. And sometimes, people use those words to live by. Make sure you chose them wisely.
(and that’s just my two cents … for whatever it’s worth!)