What Matters

Maybe it’s because I am actually sitting on a plane. Maybe it’s because the co-pilot turned out to be from a small German town I know well.

I had followed the story of the Germanwings plane crash, but suddenly here I am, hunkered down in my seat, watching CNN on my monitor, awash with emotion.

A sturdy fellow ambles down the aisle, just as the boarding door is pulled shut, squeezes himself into the middle seat between me and the young woman in the window seat.

Phew, he says. It’s been a long day. I just want to sleep.

Would you like my window seat? the woman asks.

The fellow is startled, delighted, accepts the offer. Seats are switched.

Yes, I think to myself, that’s what I will remember from today. This is what matters.

The surprising comment. The unexpected kindness.

I facilitated a program last week. Great client, engaged group. A high level of discourse. Thoroughly enjoyable.

During the break, an attorney with this group comes up and starts a chat with me about Miles Davis. The disjointed rhythms in jazz. The moments of silence. And the ways in which we fill in the silence.

Surprising. Unexpected.

This is the moment I will remember. The one that matters.

I engage with lots of brilliant folks on LinkedIn. Stars in my field. Colleagues with impressive profiles that brim with the leadership/emotional intelligence/positive psychology jargon we favor in my professional universe.

Impressive. And often seemingly interchangeable.

While I jot down these notes I receive a LinkedIn invite from Angelito Balboa, a Business/Technology Teacher at a High School in a remote town in Colorado. I have never met Angelito, but as I read his story of why he is an educator I get choked up. No jargon, no claims of thought leadership. Just a clear voice. And an unquenchable thirst for how he wants to be of service to the world.

Angelito gets it, I think to myself.

This invitation matters. It makes my day.

A tragic plane crash has prompted me to stop. And it reminds me. Every day, moments happen. Surpising ones, unexpected ones, kind ones. Simple ones. Little ones. All around.

My job, your job is to notice. And to help such moments multiply. Yes, every day.

That’s what matters.