Winning Words

A simple hug can be a powerful gesture to those we love

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While traveling with a business partner this past week, we had the opportunity to spend a couple of days together as we participated in meetings but also had time to share a few meals and even play a little golf. And as we were driving back to the hotel on the first evening, we started talking about the joys of our jobs but also the hardships or compromises we have made to be away from home so often.

The gentlemen I was traveling with - his name is Mike by the way - began telling me the story of how he was saying goodnight to his family the evening before he was to leave for an early morning flight the next day. And as he was making his rounds and saying his goodnights, he stopped into his teenage son's room, tapped on the door and said something like, "Hey bud, just wanted to say goodnight and that I love you. And I will see you on Friday."

His son leaped out of his bed and said, "Wait dad. Where are you going?" Mike told his son that it would be a quick trip to Atlanta and he would be back in a couple of days. Mike's son came over to him and hugged him, told him he loved him, and that he would see him in a couple of days.

Now this may seem appropriate and very normal for many of us, and in my heart of hearts I hope that open displays of love and affection are more common for all of you than the rare exception. But anyone who has raised children through the teenage years understands that sometimes they begin to move from wanting to hold hands and hugging to becoming a little less demonstrative in their love for us. It doesn't mean that they don't love us, it is usually just a phase that comes and goes for a few years. And when it comes back, the feeling is just so wonderful and amazing. And as spoken by a parent, me, I also believe that our children love and appreciate the strong bond and reconnection of affection as they mature.

The look on Mike's face and tone in his voice told me how much he sincerely appreciated the hug his son had given him that night. And I have known Mike for several years, so I was very happy for him and enjoyed the story as if I was remembering the hugs from my own children the days when I would have to travel when they were younger.

How many times, though, do we have the best of intentions to stop long enough to hug our friends or families and let them know just how much we love them and appreciate them. A hug is so simple, yet so very powerful. And too many times in the rush and crush of life or in our self-created urgency we may sometimes just say a quick goodbye, or give them a see you later, maybe even just wave as we walk out the door.

I encourage you to stop and reflect the next time you are about to leave your home for a trip to the grocery store, headed out for work, or if you are leaving on vacation or a business trip and remember to just give those you love a hug, a kiss or a handshake.Let them know how you sincerely feel about them, and just how much you appreciate them. I mean we all find a way to pet the dog on our way out, but do we take that same care and attention with our family?

Sadly, we hear the news where a tragedy had taken place - a car accident, a robbery gone wrong, or even terrorism. And the last thing we did was just simply wave goodbye or rush out the door. So to my fellow busy travelers and my fellow busy parents, and my fellow busy co-workers, associates, and partners, let's make a commitment to our families and friends that when we part ways, for a brief visit to the grocery store or pharmacy, or when we leave on a business trip, that we will stop and share our love and appreciation for our friends and family, and we will rejoice when they return that same level of love and affection as we depart, just like my friend and business partner Mike experienced.

So how about you? Are you so busy, too busy, to stop and say a proper goodbye or goodnight? Or maybe pressed for time in the morning to say a proper good morning as we want to get on the road or check that all-important email? I would love to hear all about it at gotonorton@gmail.com. And when we can remember that our attention to our family and friends when we leave is just as important to them as it is painful for us when we leave, it really will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is a resident of Castle Rock, the former president of the Zig Ziglar Corp., a strategic consultant and a business and personal coach.

Michael Norton

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