Imagine sitting at the head of the table surrounded by friends. One of your best buddies walks into the room carrying a large gift, with a beaming smile on his or her face. Your guests wait in anticipation as your friend places the gift before you. Everyone leans forward, with excitement, to see the treasures inside. But no matter how amazing the gift is, the real treasure is your friend’s unconditional love and admiration.
The truth is, there is a tendency to cherish material possessions and undervalue things that can’t be easily measured. For example, what’s the value of having truly good friends –– who will always be by your side? What’s the value of a trustworthy partner who will always do right by you? What’s the value of having an impeccable reputation –– knowing that you’ll always be admired?
The danger is, if we don’t hold these treasures in high regard, we may ignore, neglect, or take them for granted. That’s a steep price to pay.
What Do You Treasure?
It’s so easy to lose sight of the things that you can’t see. Here are nine examples that illustrate their importance:
- Personal growth. Everything that you learn makes you more valuable to your existing employer –– or attractive to your next one. That experience may be invisible to you, but it’s worth a bundle.
- Honor. When you live with honor, your word is taken at face value, your intentions are assumed honorable, and your handshake is as good as a contract. Priceless!
- Trust. Trust makes relationships strong and effective. It increases security, reduces inhibitions and defensiveness, and frees people to share their feelings and dreams. Trust takes a long time to develop but can be lost in the blink of an eye.
- Dignity. What’s more important than being able to look in the mirror and like what you see? (You have to live with yourself for the rest of your life.)
- Reputation. Although you can’t be in two places at the same time, your reputation serves as your stand-in whenever you’re not around. (Make sure it reflects well on you.)
- Respect. It doesn’t matter whether you’re young or old, rich or poor, work on the top floor or down in the basement. You can’t demand respect. You can’t buy it. And you certainly can’t take shortcuts to get it. Respect is earned!
These treasures aren’t limited to our personal life. Here are a few business examples:
- Customer loyalty. How much time do you spend chasing new customers versus keeping existing ones happy? Loyalty is important because it’s much more cost-effective to retain an existing customer than to replace that customer with a new one.
- Passionate employees. How committed are your employees to your organization? You won’t find that information in an annual report, but it’s vitally important.
- Institutional knowledge. Whenever an employee leaves an organization, they take a wealth of knowledge with them. What are you doing to capture that vital information before you lose it for good?
Treasures: Seeing Is Believing
Still unconvinced? The moral of this article reminds me of the courtroom scene in the classic movie Miracle on 34th Street. The judge delivers this eloquent soliloquy rationalizing why we should believe in Santa Claus. Upon receiving a Christmas card containing a dollar bill, he says: “Upon inspection of the article [dollar bill], you will see the words: ‘In God We Trust.’…The Federal Government puts its trust in God. It does so on faith and faith alone. It’s the will of the people that guides the government, and it is and was their collective faith in a greater being that gave and gives cause to the inscription on this bill. Now if the government of the United States can issue its currency bearing a declaration of trust in God without demanding physical evidence…of a greater being, then the state of New York by a similar demonstration…can accept and acknowledge that Santa Claus does exist and he exists in the person of Kris Kringle. (Cheering!) Case dismissed.”
God…Trust…Santa Claus? Have faith. Even though seeing is believing, some of life’s greatest treasures are immeasurable.
What Do You Think?
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