Why the risqué headline? My reasons are threefold. 1) I wanted something to grab people’s attention (mission accomplished); 2) It’s a play on words that works pretty well with the point I’m trying to make; and 3) For those who are lucky enough to know me even a little, it will make them giggle and/or roll their eyes knowing that it’s a dig at myself for always thinking someone is watching me.
No, I’m not crazy. I just have what some would call an “irrational fear” of being watched. Whether it’s someone living in my attic and watching me sleep at night, or the neighborhood serial killer tracking my daily patterns, or even just a general “awareness” of Big Brother, there’s a part of my mind that always thinks someone is watching me. (Judge if you must. Just keep reading.)
Well, I learned that I have been right all this time. In a recent HR training session, my group was reminded to think about our actions as leaders, because we rub off on our peers, whether we mean to or not. Yes, I know that’s a bit cliché when you think about it, but when I stopped and really let it marinate, I realized it was true.
As a proud resident of the Candy Land office space, I was happy to recently welcome a newbie to the group. Not knowing what exactly she’d bring to our dynamic, I was a bit hesitant in welcoming the change. What has happened though was something no one could have expected.
For those who know me, you know how much I love my dog, Doe. I love her so much that I even use her language sometimes. Let me explain. When teaching Doe to speak as a puppy, I decided to use the sound she made when speaking as the command instead of just the normal command “speak.” Instead, I used the word “boof.” And it stuck.
So, without really realizing it, I quickly picked up on the habit of using “boof” in my everyday language. I use it when I’m exasperated mostly, but it can be thrown into different scenarios as needed. For example, “Boof. Traffic today was a mess!” or “Oh boof. Did you guys see the weather forecast for OKC this weekend?” Simple as that.
Well, today, as I sat there working away, reading about the wonders of neuroscience, I heard my new cube mate exclaim in exasperation, “Oh BOOF! Another architecture story about the ‘world’s tallest building.'”
As you can imagine, I was floored. My word … MY WORD … used in everyday speak from another, way cooler person! BAM! In a matter of weeks, I made an impact on someone. #awesome
Now, in the office, I try to embody a positive attitude. I try to be as upbeat as I possibly can and I just hope that some of my energy resonates with some of my peers. Turns out, it does.
I was recently put in charge of a content editor intern for the summer, and as I have guided Christina through the sometimes bumpy waters that we content editors sail, it seems as though she’s picked up on a few of my habits.
Unfortunately, what I realized today is that what she picked up on in this case was not my positivity, but instead my snarky attitude that sometimes is disguised as negativity. Now, it was harmless. Most people wouldn’t have even noticed it. But with the amount of energy and thought I’m putting into what my intern gets from this opportunity, I noticed.
Thinking fast, I did all I could to reverse the brief moment of negativity she had picked up from me, and tried to spin it into a positive learning experience. I hope it worked, and that the one thing she learned from me is not a negative one.
So, I leave you with this. No matter how big or small you think an everyday action seems, it matters. Be it positive or negative, happy or mad, someone is always watching and learning from you.