I told a story from 1975, and the group I was talking to reminded me that most of the people sitting at this meeting weren’t even born at the time of this story.
I was humbled.
I was humbled and amazed at how time has just passed. Those details of that story were like yesterday to me. To the others…they as people didn’t even exist until 10 or 20 years later. Those who were old enough to understand my references enjoyed the story. That was about 5% of the room. Humbling.
The experience was a life lesson on two fronts. First, choose more general references that can touch and inspire all the listeners. Go to where they are first. It does absolutely no good to reference a copy machine that has not existed for 40 years. Second, be honest with myself. I am an older, grey-haired man, and I think in old ideas. My references are older, and my communication can become lost in older thought translation.
“Would you like to use your Golden Buckeye Card to day Sir?” The cashier asked me at the restaurant.
I am not old enough for that senior discount. She looked at my silver hair, and made an assumption. The point is this:
How many of you were wondering what a Golden Buckeye Card is?
How many of you were wondering where your Golden Buckeye Card is?
I have been in the working world for 40 years now. At times in the past, I have disagreed with those who had the authority. My reference was my world, my experiences, my age group. Today, I look for moments of agreement, and a common purpose. I go to where the practice is first, and try to understand patient needs. Those disagreements still arise, but they become white noise and fade as I continue to work on me.
We at this practice work with people who wear hearing aids. I wear hearing aids, but not all of us do. From my reference I can understand what it is like, but first we all need to understand the other, for the good of the other. Hearing aid, no hearing aid, that is something we all can do. When throwing away old ideas, and understanding the other first, we can create new experiences for the practice, and the patient.
In the end, we end up understanding each other.