A couple months ago, we lost our son, Michael to cancer. He was 21 years old.  The experience was painful beyond words. But, so much was learned during the experience; lessons about how to deal with the medical community, hospice services, managing stressful and disappointing information, and most importantly how we grew as individuals and a family.

In addition to the obvious, we also learned wonderful things about Michael; things that friends and work colleagues shared with us after his death- things we often did not know.  I have come to call these golden nuggets- “the Michael Effect”.   I also think that they are worth sharing.  If nothing else then to help those who have lost a loved one, and to reinforce that there are golden nuggets in every experience and situation.  So here is the first installment of life lessons known as the Michael Effect.

Michael had the exceptional gift of engaging everyone he met.  A family friend of ours explained “Michael just liked humanity.”  That was one of the truest statements anyone ever said about Michael.  Michael LOVED PEOPLE! He never knew a stranger, and just wanted to build relationships.  He took the time to meet and listen to everyone he encountered.  What a gift and a blessing! 

I on the other hand am usually going full throttle and have not always stopped to smell the coffee.  A friend once called me “Hurricane Kari”.  Always busy.  Going or doing something. Sometimes missing the potential for new friendship or taking a few moments to call someone just to say hello.

But now things are different…I stop and visit with folks.   I make an effort to listen and engage with people.  This for me is the Michael Effect.  Just slowing down and being.  It’s nice.  No hurriedness.  No agenda. No purpose other than to be kind and thoughtful.

Take a moment to just be. Get to know the people you are around. Say a kind word. Ask about their day or family.  Be positive and tender-hearted. And if you do, good things will happen to you professionally and personally.