Many years ago when I was a young lawyer, every so often I would ask my boss if he wanted to go for a walk at lunch and eat a sandwich in the park. It was a great way to connect and we rarely ever talked about work during those walks. We talked about family, sport, cars and world affairs.
Recently I saw him at a function and he reminded me about those walks and how he always appreciated the company. That was the thing he most remembered. He didn’t remember the cases I won or the fees I earned. Nor the new clients I brought into the firm.
It made me think, at the end of the day, whatever our title and our position, we are humans that crave connection. Always remember that. Whether you are going for a job interview or watching your idol at a music concert, the person you see yearns for the same things you do – food, water and honest connection.
It reminds me of something a nurse once told me. (He worked in a nursing home looking after the elderly). He said, “Sam, any human physical ailment can be managed, but loneliness is very painful for the heart. Humans need humans. We need company as much as we need air to breathe. We need that connection with others. Without it, we die emotionally. And that is the saddest thing to witness.”
I know that Mondays I usually post something on work performance but I thought I would mention this need for human connection because, as much as charity starts at the home, so it also does at work. Being charitable with our time and company is what the other person sometimes needs the most. It does not only have to be your boss that you ask out to lunch. It could be someone that just started at work or someone that needs an ear. You never know. This connection might also lead to improved performance at work. I did some of my best work when I forged a powerful alliance with someone at work.