Smart, Savvy & Sweet
Why is it that when I make cake frosting, full of sugar and butter – two of the most amazing ingredients ever created – the kids always fight over who’s going to lick the beater? Could it possibly be that the icing is the sweetest part of the cake? In my family, we think so.
A fun little moment happened to me. I was wondering if I'd know anyone at the HR meeting where I was presenting. Shortly after I arrived a young professional woman approached me and introduced herself. Many years ago, her Mom was one of my biggest Longaberger Basket customers. The confident woman in front of me was a little girl the last time I saw her. She saved her pennies to buy her own Longaberger Basket, which she still has today. I was tickled by her fond memories of me and to see the beautiful young lady she has become.
It's little things like this that sweeten my day. Little things like this are the icing on the cake that keep me smiling all day. Presenting to audiences is the cake, but moments like this are the sweetest.
There’s a lot of bitterness in this broken world where we live, work, and play. Everyone could benefit from a little sweetness. Smart and savvy people make others feel special. They are sweet, not sappy. They are kind, gracious, helpful, sensitive, and thoughtful. A pleasure to be around, they always leave you with a smile.
Here are Five Simple Ways to Be Smart, Savvy & Sweet.
Show Appreciation. Let someone know that you appreciate them. We live in a self-centered, self-entitled world where people think they inherently deserve privileges or special treatment. Have you ever seen someone point their nose in the air, and snottily quip, “It’s their job!” It often happens in the hospitality industry. Rude patrons don’t leave a tip at a hotel or restaurant, much less thank the individuals who served them because “it’s their job.” There’s probably at least one knucklehead like this in your life too. Don’t be like them. Expressing gratitude for a job well done may be the sweetest part of someone’s day – the icing on their cake.
My 85-year old friend, Sarah, is the sweetest. She regularly sets treats out for her trash collectors. In the winter, she shows appreciation with a Thermus full of hot chocolate and cookies. In the heat of summer, she sets out a cooler full of cold water and fresh fruit. A simple show of appreciation may leave a pleasing flavor that’s savored forever.
Stop & Listen. When was the last time you stopped what you were doing, silenced your phone, looked someone in the eye, and truly listened? Listen to learn. We are surrounded by people who are swallowed up in sorrow. When our eyes are on ourselves, we can’t see all the sadness around us. People aren’t typically looking for solutions. They want to tell their story and feel heard.
Recently, I attended a celebratory event. A lady with tears in her eyes sat down beside me. Being curious, I looked at her and said, “Awe. What’s going on?” I learned that her Dad was critically ill. She had left him at the hospital to come to the party. As she talked and I listened, barely saying a word, her tears dissipated. She just needed to tell someone her story. We parted with a hug. I don’t know how her story ended, but I know that being heard was comforting, and possibly the sweetest thing that happened to her that day.
Smile. A cheerful heart is sweet medicine. It's easy to allow life to get us down – bills, jobs, kids, parents, politics, and violence to name a few – and all too easy to think of poor pitiful me. But these are the times we should let our lips curl into a hearty grin, show off our pearly whites and smile. Having a cheerful heart in the midst of bleakness is not only good for us personally, but also for those around us. Everyone knows a smile is contagious. Be the reason someone smiles today. It’s sweet and simple.
Say a Compliment. It’s so easy to complain about what we didn’t like or criticize what didn’t work well. Afterall, it’s usually all about us and our self-consumed needs. Smart, savvy, and sweet people have learned to tame their grumbling tongue. They notice possibility and speak praise.
When I met Dan at Toastmasters he was petrified of public speaking. He gave his first speech. It wasn’t great, but he deserved kudos for trying. Instead of criticizing him, someone scribbled 18 words on a little scrap of paper: “Dan, Great ice breaker. What a heartwarming story. I look forward to learning more about you in future speeches.” Dan carried those words in his wallet as encouragement to overcome his fear of public speaking.
Five years later he shared that story during a speech contest. Imagine the sensation when the scribbler heard how her 18 words changed his life. It was sweet of him to indulge us with the story.
As a side note, Dan’s a civil engineer. We don’t usually think of them as being sweet. He won the speech contest that day and carried those 18 words all the way to the World Championship of Public Speaking. I think you’ll agree, those 18 words were pretty appealing.
Send Snail Mail. When was the last time you received a piece of snail mail that wasn’t junk or a bill? The other day I received a smile in my mailbox, and it wasn’t from Amazon. An acquaintance on LinkedIn saw one of my posts. She turned it into a beautiful Send Out Card and mailed it to me. Fancy my excitement when I opened it. Her thoughtfulness brought me as much pleasure as licking the beater full of rich, decadent frosting.
Little things like these are the icing on the cake that keep people smiling all day. What simple thing will you do to leave someone grinning from ear-to-ear today?
Be the icing on the cake. Life is short. Be smart, savvy, and sweet.