“You’ve got to EARN my respect!”
No doubt you know people who default to this perspective. You might default to this perspective yourself, and that’s fine, but I hope you’ll hear me out.
Have you ever considered defaulting to a position of respect for others? What if, instead of having to earn your respect, someone had to lose it to fall out of favor with you?
Why not treat everyone—from the CEO to the person at the front desk—with massive amounts of respect?
My brother John taught me this. It’s his birthday Saturday, and he’s on my Mt. Rushmore of male influences.
John relentlessly models two behaviors for us.
1. Treat everyone you meet with respect.
John treats everyone equally and with kindness. He doesn’t think he’s better than anyone, and he doesn’t have patience for those who do, but… and it’s a big but… he always defaults to the benefit of the doubt with people. Make no mistake: He’ll watch you. He’ll observe how you treat servers and bank tellers and drive-through attendants. He learns a lot by watching.
John treats everyone he meets like a neighbor. And you know what?
Treating people as neighbors goes two ways, doesn’t it? By treating people as neighbors, we not only meet and greet them with kindness, but we’re willing to help at a moment’s notice, aren’t we? And we expect nothing in return, right?
What a wonderful world it would be if we all defaulted to treating everyone this way! (At least, until they lost their neighbor status… which we’d be willing to let them earn back, right?)
2. Treat everything you do with respect.
John wears many hats. He’s a fine farmer. He’s a fine paver. He’s a fine son. He’s a fine eater of bacon.
Everything John does, he does well. He reminds me of some advice Dr. King gave to a group of middle school students shortly before his death.
John really embodies this.
I admire him. I try to be like him. I love him.
Happy Birthday, Bro. I will have bacon in your honor on Saturday.
(These slides are from a talk I gave once at a fundraiser (and will probably never give again) titled The Stupid Game of Golf, Moonwalking Bears, and Other Butterfly Effects. I don’t include it on my speaking page because, well, I’m sure you’ve seen a zillion talks about moonwalking bears, golf, and butterfly effects, but if you’d like to know more, just let me know.)