When Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Gary Smith was asked how he made his soldiers count he matter-of-factly responded, “I offered them help. Told them they were special. Made them feel significant. Sought their opinion. Got their approval on things. Made them feel like my response was their response.”
When walk-in after walk-in patient enters Long Island OB-GYN Dr. Jonathan Herman’s practice, somehow he squeezes them in and still provides excellent medical care even beyond other healthcare providers’ standard 2-minute spiel per patient without looking at a clock or his watch. Beyond that, Herman provides patients with his email address, connects with them on Facebook, and lets them know if their other family members could be at risk for certain diseases, for example.
Jeanne Collins, who works for a large law firm, volunteers religiously in her free time, even visiting a women’s prison every Saturday. How she makes inmates count? “I show up when I say I am going to. And I listen intently to what they have to say. There’s no faster way to make someone feel unimportant than to say you will be there or do something and not show up.”
Washington State psychologist, Dr. Mark Yamada, works to find his patients’ strengths even though most times they walk into his office broken. Somehow he can see beyond their weaknesses, works to turn them into strengths and has them skipping out an hour later.
A sweet older man I encounter every Thursday night when I walk to a class in a city county building smiles largely, even though he pushes a large sweeper, works the second shift and is a janitor. He greets me with, “God Bless you.” And you know what? He really does want God to bless me. I hear it and see it through his smile and demeanor, but most of all, I feel it.
And then there’s DeAnna Rice, who’s been recently diagnosed with her fourth cancer. Yet, she makes time through her non-profit organization, Mom’s with Cancer, to assist other mothers with cancer by taking them to chemo appointments and getting groceries, among a myriad of other services, just to lessen the burden. Yet, Rice, unbeknownst to many patients, is also getting her own rounds of chemo every Monday. She just had tumors removed from her abdomen.
Who are these people and what separates them apart from those that make you feel small and or don’t include you?
They’ve found a way to love people regardless. They found a way to literally go the extra mile to where it’s become an extension of who they are. They’ve found a way to engage you even though they may or may not know you. They love to serve. They love to love. They walk their talk. But if you ever wonder, what’s in it for them?
Nothing. Nothing at all other than a life mission to make you count.
Cynthia Kimball is a professional speaker, trainer and doctoral student in workforce education leadership. Her column, "Every1Counts," appears on deseretnews.com weekly. She can be reached at email@example.com.