How to Introduce Yourself: A Surprising Experience in High Performance

In the last few blog entries I have been writing about how we greet others, and what happens if we choose to deepen our efforts.  I committed to do this.  What happened was surprising.

I had to go to a routine meeting.  I drove to the parking structure at the university and as I got out, I saw a man fixing a light.  I made it a point to walk close to him then greet him with great warmth and to express appreciation for the work he was doing.  He responded well and I concluded that it was a nice but very small event.  I was wrong.

I went to the building.  Three people were there waiting.  They each looked a little gloomy about the prospect of sitting through another routine meeting.  I greeted them but not as enthusiastically as the man in the parking structure.  The meeting started and something surprising happened.  At the beginning of the meeting, I cracked a joke.  A few minutes later I cracked another joke, then another and another.  This is not the normal me.  It was like I was standing outside my body watching a stranger.  The jokes were not forced, neither were they designed to call attention to me.  They were spontaneous, timely, part of the workflow.  It was quite extraordinary.

We finished the meeting and everyone left.  That was the end of the story until the next day when I wrote in my gratitude journal.  As I wrote, I became aware.  I first noted that the meeting ended twenty minutes early with all tasks completed.  I then noted that the three people, who were a bit gloomy at the outset, left the meeting in an upbeat mood.  Finally I asked myself where my unusual humor came from.  The answer was the parking lot.  In the parking lot, I went out of my way to give away positive energy.  That gift looped back on me.  Because I was elevated by my attempt to elevate someone else, when I went into that meeting, I began to spontaneously operate beyond my normal limits.



  • What power emerges with the expression of gratitude?
  • What was unusual about the parking lot incident?
  • Why in this case would good humor naturally arise in the meeting?
  • How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

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