Happiness in a sandwich…

Yesterday was my bi-annual performance review.  Need I say more? Well, just in case I should, here we go…

There I was, like an elementary kid sitting on that dreaded stool for school photographs.  Not knowing how to place my extremities, fixated on the thought I had something green in my teeth, I sat…

Appropriately nodding as she talked…

Like any well-planned review, she went through my successes first. I quickly dismissed each accomplishment  as my thoughts tossed and turned over the “constructive criticisms” coming my way.  Heart pounding, sweaty palms (can I get a drum roll please!)…people skills.  I couldn’t believe my ears! – people skills!?  Something I had so confidently accredited as my strong suit; never did I consider this my weakness (even though I was taught that my greatest strength can also be my greatest weakness – but I was not in the mood for philosophical reminders).

Blindsided, I listened as she explained the concept of “perception is reality” to those we work with.  I excel at customer service and sales but fall short in communicating with my colleagues. She spoke from a genuine place which compelled a sense of urgency inside me to fix this.

Like any hot blooded woman, I called my sister the first moment I had.  I asked her to explain this “perception is reality” thing. I listened as her gentle spirit seeped into the explanation and advice she was giving. Slowly, I began to realize it’s not important how others perceive me – but it is important how I treat them.  I know – earth shattering isn’t it!?

Heather,” my sister began, “each person you encounter is struggling in some way.  You will be hard pressed to discover a person who has it all together.  Always keep that in mind, treat people delicately.

And then she said something that was truly earth shattering – an analogy I couldn’t help but blog about…

Communicating with people is like a sandwich; start with that first slice of bread – something fresh and soft.  Then stack the meat in the middle – what you are requesting or commenting on. Follow this with another slice of fresh and soft bread.

Something so simple to visualize when I talk or email people, is also a reminder to treat each person as a child of God. Because I easily get caught up in the urgency of everyday demands – it’s not hard to forget what really counts in this life, glorifying God.  Someday it won’t matter if 500 people got their rebate checks on time, or 20 warranty claims received follow-up phone calls or even if I organized that important training webinar…what will matter is the gentle humanity I extended to God’s children.  Did I portray His love in my actions? And because my colleagues, family and people in general deserve better – with God, I will fix this.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37,38)

I would like to officially credit my sister, Jennifer Fitzgerald, with the sandwich analogy.


2 thoughts on “Happiness in a sandwich…

  1. Love you, Heather! This is great:) Jenny is so wise. You took a challenging situation and learned from it what you needed to quickly–way to go! Thanks for sharing.


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