December 28, 2020
by Allison Iantosca
Isn’t it funny that with all of these new-fangled technological gadgets, ordering your coffee at the drive-through is still somewhat of a primitive experience? I always wonder if I can keep my car inside the lines to correctly angle me around to the window or if my over-articulation of my order will produce what I actually want, and if I yell will I compensate for the ambient noise of the highway two hundred feet to my right?
A month or two ago I was so distracted with the momentary intimacy of my relationship with the donut shop squawk box that I paid no mind to the car in front of me. And so I have nothing to help me find its driver, its beautiful, gracious, graceful, selfless, humane, kind, paradigm-shifting driver. Not a bumper sticker nor a color, not even which state or a single number on the license plate…just two taillights turning back onto the highway and around the bend as I learned that its driver had paid for my coffee.
I was stunned and kept trying to force my $2.50 on the fresh-faced messenger who couldn’t quite understand why it was so hard for me to get that she didn’t need my money. “Wait, what?” “The person in front of you paid for your coffee” “I don’t get it. Why would they do that?” “You’re all set” “Wait, what?” And then the world suddenly seemed softer and safer and more gracious. Love prevailed. The joyful heart overpowered the fearful mind….HONK! Oh right. Moving on. I wish I could box up the feeling so I could give it to you.
Has this ever happened to you? Such an utterly selfless act by a complete stranger? Such a strong desire to be kind that the very kindness is enough; no need to wait for a thank you or a wave or a smile? No need to actually know if it had the intended impact?! Just Kerpow a gift! It is the most generous $2.50 ever spent. It has stayed with me and has been my harbinger of hope.
Imagine if you could exert this kind hope inside your team? Imagine if your very leadership signaled the strong desire to connect and care and believe that the goodness of your actions—your kindness—will have a lasting impact? Of course we hold this possibility within our capability every single day. And, of course, we can, alternatively name a thousand reasons as to why business isn’t about delivering kindness, optimism, connection, and belief—the sordid dangers of looking too easy or too vulnerable.
But think about the power of connection that starts with “I see you” or “I believe in you” or “I select you to give my kindness to”. I would have done just about anything for the person who bought me that coffee that day. Or, at the very least, would have been open to whatever they might want to discuss.
A nice way to position going into the New Year…don’t you think?
Allison Iantosca is a Gestalt International Study Center (GISC) trained coach certified by ICF with extensive leadership and management experience. She is an Executive Coach and is the Owner and President of Boston based FH Perry Builder.
Photo Credit: Filip Baotic