On the cork board above my desk I keep an old, yellowed piece of paper that contains this quote; “We never know what we do in our work that will be remembered, that will be holy. It has nothing to do with our job titles. It has everything to do with the grace, kindness and love that we bring to it.” This quote has inspired me for years because I firmly believe that each of us, regardless of where we work, or what we do for our work, can do something that will be remembered; that will be holy. One meaning of the word holy is “dedicated to service; to act with grace”. We can bring grace to work by acting with the mind of kindness in each interaction. The wonderful thing is we never know what we do in our work that will be remembered. We just do it.
My hairdresser is a prime example. Whenever I visit her, I feel refreshed and energized when I leave her chair because of her grace and kindness. While she is doing her job of washing and cutting my hair, in fact, she is giving me much more. The job title, “hairdresser” may not seem to be a holy one, but I always leave filled with positive energy. It has nothing to do with her job title. It has everything to do with the grace she brings to her work.
My sister works as an office administrator for a physicians practice. I’ve watched her interact with patients as they check in for their appointment. So often they are in pain, fearful, distracted or uncertain as they approach her desk. After all, few of us visit a surgeon when we are at our best. But my sister speaks with a kind efficiency, with a personal warmth and humor that brings a smile and laugh to each patient. They seem to let go of their trepidation for just a moment as they encounter her grace and humor. Their tension calms as they sit in the waiting room with a new smile on their face. She is just doing her job but with grace and kindness that lifts their day.
We can transform our experience of work each day by focusing on ways to bring grace to work, not just on getting the task done in a self centered, routine, “what’s-in-it-for-me” manner. Perhaps it means forgiving someone who you felt slighted by. Perhaps it means listening to someone who seems isolated. Perhaps it means doing your absolute best work, even if you don’t get recognition for it. Perhaps it means being the first person to reach across an emotional misunderstanding. What I like about the quote is that “we never know what we do in our work that will be remembered.” We just do it. We approach our work, regardless of job title, influence, or where we fall in the organizational chart, as a place to bring kindness, grace and love. To do our best. To speak and listen with kindness. To forgive small slights and to work for the highest good of all. To be the first to initiate a healing communication. To view our colleagues who seem so different, with compassion.
How can you bring more grace, kindness, service into your daily work? Remember, you may never know what you do that will be remembered, you just know that it will be remembered.
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