I had the poignant task of clearing out my parents’ home a while ago. Amongst many memories unearthed, I came across the most special crystal champagne and wine glasses along with other stunning matching glassware. Also I found the large unopened bottle of Chanel No.5 I’d given my mum as a birthday present to make her feel special every time she wore it.
I’d never seen the crystal glassware used in all the time I’d lived there or when I visited and assume that they were a wedding present – so possibly unused in over 60 years.
I’m sure that both the glassware and perfume were deemed ‘too good’ for everyday use and were being kept for special occasions – ‘for best’. Rather like the front rooms of my grandparents’ homes, which held untold mystery to my cousins and myself as small children, as the door was always closed and we weren’t allowed to enter. When, eventually, the door did open for important visitors and special occasions, the best room unveiled its hidden gems of beautiful furniture, ornaments and vases filled with fresh flowers cut from the garden. It was dressed for best and performed well in making visitors feel welcome and important.
It struck me as sad that ‘special enough’ times hadn’t happened as the crystal glassware and Chanel No.5 remained unused. Or times and events weren’t perceived as being special enough. My cousins and I were in awe of the visitors who were welcomed into the best room as, clearly, they were deemed as being important and couldn’t have failed to feel treated as such. I’m sure their treatment would have affected how they behaved and felt about my grandparents. And I’m sure my grandparents would have been treated with the same respect and indulgence when returning visits.
It made me realise that special occasions aren’t as rare as my parents had thought. Isn’t every day, every occasion, every meeting and every interaction special? Aren’t all our family, friends, colleagues and customers special? Aren’t we ourselves special?
If we treated ourselves and everyone we interact with, as highly valued, how would that change how we feel about ourselves and how we would make others feel if we get out and use our best crystal glassware and perfume? How would that feeling affect how others and we behave towards each other? What difference would that make to our performance as leaders of our lives and businesses?
It’s easy to let complacency be the norm and let ourselves believe that we’ll make more effort tomorrow for that important meeting. Why not make today and all its interactions be the most important and the people we meet be indulged with our full attention and our ‘best’ behaviour towards them?
I urge us all to spray on our Chanel No.5 and raise our crystal glassware to making each and every day our best yet!
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Author: Sandra Whitehead