Habit or You Had Me At ‘Hello’ ?

I find people are so fascinating.  The words we use, the habits we form, and the norms we create. Some are culturally unique and some universal acceptable.  I have found traveling to many countries a simple hello or hi will get one of three responses:

1)    The person will turn away avoiding all contact

2)    The person will respond with a head nod or maybe with even a word or two

3)    The person will lift their head higher and their eyes light up as they seek to connect

This weekend while in Victoria British Columbia I was treated with many opportunities to connect with hundreds of total strangers.  Some were coming off cruise ships for the day, some were artists with their passion on display, many were serving the needs of all the tourists and others were just trying to live among this influx of summer travelers.

I was like a kid in a candy store, loving the diversity and eager to learn a bit of their story and intentionally leave them feeling great about sharing that bit with me.  Now the tricky part, I needed to get to number 3) before I stood a chance of learning anything.

I have learned when people are focused on their purpose an extra boost is needed to grab their attention.  I needed to intentionally envision a deeper connection before I even spoke a word.

Like the movie scene in Jerry McGuire, “You had me at hello”

I needed to connect at hello or they would be on their way. I needed to greet them with the full impact I learned from the greetings 1) Namaste’  and 2) Tashi Delay.

Kevin Hall, in his book Aspire introduced me to the word Namaste’ which was often used by Ghandi as he greeted people.  It means

“I honor the place in you where Spirit lives
I honor the place in you which is
of Love, of Truth, of Light, of Peace”

Robert K. Cooper in his book The Other 90%, introduced me to the Tibetan greeting Tashi Delay which means

“I honor the greatness in you. 

I honor the place where lives your courage, honor, love, hope, and dreams.”

As I recalled these greetings of honor I remember asking myself could one really say HI, Hello in such a way that it would transform the American fly by habit to greeting of honor?

Why not, it’s all in the delivery right?

All I needed to do was to greet people with the simple hello AND have them feel as if I said Namaste’ or Tashi Delay. 

The answer is YES and ABSOLUTELY you can.  Here is proof, what I learned the past couple of day from a simple Hello, spoken with the heart and mind of  Namaste’  and Tashi Delay.

One lovely lady in the park grew up just north of Victoria and was amazed how much the park had changed. She wondered if I had noticed the same changes.

John, the incredible impressionist artist who shared his life journey to greatness stories.  Tough Dad, 3 wives, studied art in France. His art is in galleries in Canada, Phoenix, and Carmel.

Ben who gave me one of his soap stone carvings and shared the story of how ones natural skin oils will uniquely transform the carving and their spirits will become one.

Acts of service open the conversation faster.

A couple who got honeymooned at the Fairmont Empress 30 years ago were revisiting the area and reliving those days still smiling like it was 30 years ago.

A young couple from Oklahoma traveling on Alaskan Cruise ship live with a servant heart. Their parents used to live in Dallas.  They fished in the crazy pouring rain in Juno Alaska and saw dozens of Bald Eagles.

Our waiter grew up in Victoria, went to college in Victoria and now works for the Canadian government. He has worked 12 years at the gardens and continues to wait tables on the weekends  because they are like family to him.

Chris grew up in Hawaii worked in the coast guard and punted his office job that he was really great at to show us the wonders of ocean for 5 hours.

As I walked through each day doing my best to radiate honor through a simple hello, the stories began to flow in unsolicited.

We were entertained by a fun group of kids from the cruise ship who loved life and their families.  We teased them and encouraged them to keep singing and laughing.

A generous man who stopped to offer us assistance when I tripped and fell, proceeded to cheer me up by telling me his embarrassing story of being with his girlfriend on a date, tripping over a fire hydrant and landing flat on his back.

It was like the movie scene in Jerry McGuire, “You had me at hello”

It is absolutely amazing to meet so many fascinating people. Our paths had crossed for only a brief moment, yet those moments gave a new dimension of character to our stories.

When I slow down I remain curious.  I get to experience their greatness and more memorable moments are created.  

A few years ago I realized I had allowed Hello to become a habit and I wondered why, how, and when I let that happen.  That is not who I AM however for a season, that is who I let myself become.

I had conformed to the “fly by Hello” club and it was through the introduction of these two greetings Namaste’  and Tashi Delay and being in a great leadership culture where honor is taught that I started working on better honoring others so they genuinely feel valued.

When I get too busy the first place I slip is in greeting people.  I slip back to ‘fly by’. Even though my heart and mind are filled with honor I am moving on before the stories  flow.  I have learned when this happens I need dial down my pace, be intentional about my surroundings, and get out of my head.

I was reminded of the importance of my pace again this weekend.  When we were in a brisk walk the responses were 1) or 2) .  My husband commented with intrigued about my determination to get people to speak and how I was getting a response about 50 % of the time.  I was slipping. Time to slow down to first gear and open the door to connect.  The greatest shifts happen Once I slowed down to serve them.

It was in the act of serving that I connected very quickly and for a longer time because my heart and mind were already tracking right.  


Do You Have Them at Hello?

What are your Greetings Like?

What meaning to you attach to Hello?

What does your pace say to people you meet?

How can you serve those you want to connect with or learn from?