Saturday, 28 January 2012

How do you say hello?

Last night I had the pleasure of babysitting my niece for a couple of hours. Since Christmas her speech has come on in leaps and bounds and it was wonderful to be greeted with 'Hello Elaine', a smile and a wave all at the same time!

Isn't it amazing how quickly children learn the most effective way to greet others? Do you still remember the importance of making someone feel acknowledged or even better - special?

I went shopping with a friend a few days ago. I wonder how many potential sales are gained or lost through initial greetings? We actually walked out of some shops because the sales people ignored us! In one it was quite clear we could have used some help but the 'assistants' continued their personal conversations and completely ignored us! Do you make or break sales with your warmth or lack of it?

I often remind health professionals the importance of a warm greeting. It can make the difference between an excellent and poor experience. I am currently reading 'Blink - The Power of Thinking without Thinking' by Malcom Gladwell. I was fascinated by his reference to the fact that people do not tend to sue doctors who have been kind to them if mistakes appear to have been made, yet will almost queue up to take those who have been off-hand and rude to court! How much more understanding are you with someone you feel that has been pleasant with you?

My sister Claire and I watched a DVD together when she came home last night  - 'Julie and Julia' - 'Julia Child's story of her start in the cooking profession is intertwined with blogger Julie Powell's 2002 challenge to cook all the recipes in Child's first book'. I found Meryl Streep's voice to be a bit irritating after a while but I did find a great deal of empathy with the 'blogger'. I smiled when initially both she and others questioned why she should blog - what was the point? Who would read it?

I also understood how she began to let it become an 'addiction' and took over other aspects of her life, as I did last year. At times I found myself 'in a moment' and instead of either enjoying it, or otherwise, I was wondering how I would write about it! I remembered how I would exhaust myself in the process and the burning 'need' to post a blog. I also had the 'meltdown' moments of 'why bother' and at times wanted to stop it completely and once or twice delete the whole lot! I especially liked the point where she wants to give up but prompted by her mother, continues.  I just wonder if mine will become a book or a film!

Today I have spent a wonderfully relaxed afternoon with my family. My niece Indra is back from Zimbabwe for a few weeks with her daughter Alana. They came up with Annie, my sister-in-law and Kerita, my other niece.  Along with my parents, brother, nephew and Claire, Martin and Sophie we had a very mellow few hours. It was fascinating to watch Alana and Sophie play together and how they interacted.

There are many more pictures here. My Mum commented that we don't need to invite guests for a party - there are enough of us to begin with!

Sadly Dominic could not join us due to GCSE revision. He is developing his skills as a photographer, when revision allows. Have a look at his work here. I am a proud Mum!

I have had messages from people asking me how I am. I really appreciate this. I have to say that I am okay. I feel settled into my new home and love being amongst my family. I am spending my 'working hours' on my new website which will be up within weeks. I am very excited about it. I am looking forward to speaking in Leeds on 15th March for the Customer Service Training Network. See you there?

The charity that I am trustee of,  The Joanne (Joe) Bingley Memorial Foundation , is going from strength to strength and we have many plans for the future. Fellow trustee Ann Girling and I are busy booking more workshops aimed at teams in Children's Centres.

I have been affected by problems with my email over the last few weeks - apologies if you have sent me something but I may not have received it. My email appears to be working again now. Phew!

Through it all my memories of Clive of course remain. I am extremely aware that we are approaching the anniversary of his death. At my sister's today we found a newspaper that had been dropped behind a piece of furniture. The date - 19th February 2011 - that day Clive died. I felt a cold shiver down my spine. Little did we know that the morning that newspaper was bought, within hours he would have gone. On the front of it was an advert for a DVD of 'Larkrise to Candleford' - we had loved watching that series together.

Clive was a great believer in 'letting go and moving on'. He encouraged all those in his audiences to make positive choices. To be the best they could be. He had a very powerful way of saying hello - who can forget those 'bear hug' greetings to male and female alike? He made many of us feel very special. I continue to receive messages from people saying how he is missed and what impact he had made on their lives. Me too.

However, he would never take the credit for that. He used to dismiss the idea that he was a 'motivational' speaker because he said he would simply share his experiences and ideas - if we made different actions and choices because of that, then he was delighted to have helped but ultimately he would have reminded us that we are all responsible for ourselves.

It broke my heart when Clive died. Saying good bye before they took his body from our home has to be the worse thing that has happened to me ('so far', he'd say, as you never know what's ahead!). I used to love our 'hellos'. A 'hello' means the start of something.

I chose now to say 'hello' to my future, yet never forgetting who I had to say goodbye to.

Today surrounded by my family, Annie and I reflected on how quickly our children have grown. Claire was saying that although our bodies age we still feel the same inside. I know what she means but experience does change us.

I want to make sure that when someone picks up a newspaper printed the last day of mine on this earth, that they too can say that I made a positive impact on the world - as many say Clive did -right from that first 'hello'.

How will you make your 'hello' memorable?

Elaine x

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