My mentor called me one day and said, “You’re in trouble.”
I knew he was joking, but I was still a little nervous. What could this be about?
He said, “Diana, sometimes in life we don’t always get feedback on how we’re doing as a boss, as an employee, as a friend, as a spouse or as a parent.”
“Just in case I get hit by a bus tomorrow, I wanted to make sure the people whom I admire know how I feel about them.”
He went on to share very specific qualities of mine that he admired: educated, good attitude, plays well in the sandbox with others, good communicator, good mother and wife, good work/life balance, and head screwed on tight.
As he told me these things, I sat there in a positive state of shock, and I felt a tear collect in the corner of my eye.
Hearing someone tell me all of the things I was doing right gave me that same magical feeling of opening presents on Christmas morning, except this time each kind word my mentor spoke to me became its own present.
In that moment, two things crossed my mind. One, what my mentor was doing was one of the nicest things one human being could possibly do for another. Second, what my mentor was doing took courage by sharing his thoughts and feelings with me in this way.
I know there have been many times I wanted to speak up and tell someone how much I admired or respected them but didn’t because I felt embarrassed.
Once again, my mentor showed me through his own example how to be a better person and that kind words can nourish someone’s heart and soul.
I told my mentor, “You didn’t just make my day, you made my year. Thank you for taking the time to tell me these things.”
My courageous mentor would go on to tell a former boss and also a friend and colleague what he admired about them.
If you admire or respect someone, take the time to tell them before it’s too late. If it’s too difficult to tell them in person, call them or write them a letter. It will mean just as much.
Never take for granted the people whose lives made a difference in yours.