Lessons from the Ordinary

This is a guest post by Skip Prichard. He is a dear friend of mine, an accomplished CEO, turnaround business leader, and keynote speaker. I highly recommend you subscribe to his blog and follow him on Twitter.

Every year, I meet incredibly interesting people. You may think I’m thinking of famous people. Yes, famous people can certainly be interesting. Equally interesting, at least to me, are people I meet in everyday life.

Lessons fron the Ordinary

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/sturti

For example,

  • The barista at the coffee shop who remembers exactly what I want.
  • The guy who waves me into the car wash with the slightest flick of his hand indicating where my tires should point.
  • The newly-minted, hilarious college graduate who told me his future: two wives (he says his first marriage won’t work out), three kids, a dog, and a dead-end job.
  • The lady at the bookstore who smiles when she sees me rearranging the shelves, putting my favorite authors’ books face-out.

Be Alert

Each one of the people crossing my path offers an opportunity to learn. I study people shuffling by at a busy store. There we go, I think, as I imagine where they are heading. People are incredibly fascinating.

Sure, some disappoint. You wonder why you work so hard at some friendships when it’s clearly a one-way path to nowhere. Then there’s family, some family members are truly biological—with blood coursing through their bodies to prove it. Others we adopt, friends who are so true we wouldn’t dream of letting them go.

People teach us remarkable lessons if we are open to learning. Criticism we launch at someone else likely has its roots in our own shortcomings.

Slow Down

Today, as you rush through your day, look at those around you a little closer. Slow down just a bit—you don’t need to view the text message the minute it chimes. You don’t need to check Facebook and Twitter as if you’re looking for signs of life in a patient.

Just watch. Listen. Ask some questions.

See Beyond

If you can see beyond the obvious, you can learn some incredible lessons.

You may discover that the barista prides herself on remembering your drink because she’s really good at it, and her father always told her she was stupid. She’s incredibly bright and works hard to overcome his harsh words. She absorbs your praise faster than your coffee does the cream.

Lessons: Everyone is hurting in some way. Everyone needs praise. Get comfortable with praising good work.

You may discover that the car wash guy is the lead singer in an up-and-coming band and has a real shot at making it. His backstage stories are better than a movie. And his writing is better than most professional writers.

Lessons: Everyone has a hidden talent. Take time to get to know your employees. Often the most needed skills are right in front of you.

You may learn that the college graduate was influenced by his parents’ painful divorce and his insight on relationships beats anything you’d read in a book.

Lessons: Age doesn’t equal wisdom. Learning from mistakes and the failures of others can benefit you more than you realize.

You may find that the bookstore lady is a book herself, full of knowledge you can tap into. She’s actually a retired business executive, filling time. She knows how to incorporate businesses, develop marketing plans, and lead strategic planning.

Lessons: Often what we see is just the surface. Take time to realize the full abilities of the people around you.

See these people are anything but ordinary. Everyone has something extraordinary that can change you. A different perspective, a unique experience, a gift. We’re all ordinary people, but we are all extraordinary in our own way.

Question: What lessons have you learned from “ordinary” people and “everyday” events? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • http://www.eileenknowles.com Eileen

    LOVE this.   Thank you for the reminder to stop and really notice people.  We miss so much of the blessings and gifts because we run through life with our eyes half way closed. 

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      Thank you, Eileen. It’s a great lesson for me because I often miss what is right in front of me. I’m trying to be more deliberate and take it all in–because you never know what lesson you will learn.

  • Ray Ulmer

    My big brother, whose chalk marks are still on the barn door for the number of hoops it put in,… has retired as VP of Unisys.  Persistence.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Sounds like you spotted what made him successful early, Ray. Persistence in the face of a challenge motivating to see in someone.

  • http://www.growing4life.net/ Leslie A

    I am always watching and listening.  There is so much to learn. And, as a side benefit, this also gives me so much to write about! :) Curiosity may just be the writer’s best friend!

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Leslie, this post was inspired by one of my good friends who is a NYT list regular. When I talked to him after we had coffee, I was struck by how much he took in. Since then, I’ve made it my goal to watch. You’re right–it can be the best writer’s benefit around. Best wishes for your next piece.

  • Maria Teresa Moraes

    Your texts inspire me every time I read it.  Even having portuguese as my native language I get a wonderfull and softeness taste of your posts. Glad to be a subscriber and follow you in Facebook. Thank you !

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Muito obrigado! Contente voce gostei.

  • http://cakebusinesslife.com/ Eme

    Just today I found myself really looking forward to teaching my next monthly cake decorating course starting tomorrow… and i realise it is because of the people i am going to meet. I always learn so much from my students, met some amazing courageous creative people – many of them become lifelong friends. You are right that people are fascinating and there is so much more to the faces we see and the everyday people we meet. 

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       With that type of positive expectation, your class will be amazing.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       What a great attitude, Eme!

  • http://www.donaldmcallister.com/ Don McAllister

    What a great read!! People are indeed incredibly fascinating and we can learn so much from them. I think people want us to see their lives as extraordinary, because that’s what they truly are! I have found people just want us to listen to their story, and ask questions about them and the struggles they are facing. On another note: this post is making today’s 3 to read: 3toread.com. Thanks!

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Thanks, Don, and I’m honored with the inclusion, too.

  • Tammy

    Working in retail I’ve found that 99% of my encounters with people have some significant value and learning experience.  Recently,  a sweet 80 yr. old woman came in to have me help with her makeup as she was attending her sons funeral and wanted to look nice. This was the third child she had lost. I was humbled in more ways than I can describe and will never forget her and what the encounter with her taught me: life goes on. Simple, but yet profound.  Thanks for this beautiful post this morning- a valuable encounter via technology :)

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       You painted a vivid picture. Thank you for sharing that, Tammy.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Oh, wow. And now her example is teaching us, through you. Thank you for sharing, Tammy.

  • http://www.allandubon.com/ Allan Dubon

    This is a great post. I am making a concerted effort to praise good work/behavior. The dividends are astonishing. Too often we focus only on the negative, therefore the only instruction someone receives is what not to do. I find recognizing positive interactions yields more motivated employees/volunteers etc.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       I know I’m more motivated with a positive word than with a hammer! Thanks, Allan.

  • http://twitter.com/Harry_Bryan Harry Bryan Jr.

    I read a lot…and this is one of the best blog posts I’ve read in a very long time. It really touched me. Thank you!

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Harry, thank you. That means more to me than you could realize. I’m glad it touched you.

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  • http://chrisvonada.info/ chris vonada

    I enjoy learning along my daily walk for sure. Your post reminds me that I need to be a servant. Always enjoy your inspiration Skip, thanks for another good one!

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Thank you, Chris. Servant leadership–what it’s all about….

  • http://twitter.com/ConnieAlmony Connie Almony

    Really. Love. This. Post!!! I was just thinking about the woman who cleaned our home growing up and how she’d proudly wear the cast-offs my mother gave her because she couldn’t afford her own. And yet she had joy that surpassed anything I’d ever seen. She scrubbed our floor vigorously as she joyfully sang hymns and praises to Jesus. I didn’t understand this til much later and could never thank her for her beautiful example of faith. I now receive a blessing regularly from a cashier at my grocery store who I call “the button lady” because she wears pins all over her uniform. She asks me about my life, my day and remembers what I said from week to week, encouraging me along the way. I wrote about her on my blog and told her so she’d know how important her gift was to me. As someone who writes fiction I always tell my daughter, “It’s the little things in the story that make it great … characteristics we don’t always recognize, but we feel them none-the-less.” That’s how it is in life. We don’t always need to do big things to have big impact.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Thank you, Connie. I appreciate it. And I love the story of the woman who cleaned your home. That you still remember her shows that impact. We can all make a difference.

  • Rocky

    People impress me too! Since I was in Junior High I discovered that I feel a genuine interest when I learn about anyone’s uniqueness. What a well-written post! It is so important to see the value and uniqueness in people. I recently was a judge for a local high school entrepreneurship competition, and found it very difficult to maintain the tight schedule, because I wanted to talk at length with nearly every contestant. They were amazing. Thanks for your encouragement and wisdom!

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Rocky, thank you–I appreciate it and am glad it made a difference. Clearly you have a love for people and take an interest at a deeper level.

  • Eleni

    Beautiful post…!

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Thank you–beautiful people!

  • http://www.UnwillingToSettle.com/ Greg L. Gilbert

    Years ago I took a motorcycle trip by myself through Texas. I had no destination. I would wake up look at the map and decide where I would go.

    I stopped at many little country stores where there may be one person in a chair out front or one person inside. I would get a soda and ask them, “I’ve always heard everyone has a story, would you mind telling me your story and your dreams”? It was amazing how people opened up. I heard some very interesting stories.

    My biggest regret was this trip occurred about 3 years before I began journaling. I would’ve loved to captured their stories. It would’ve been a great E-book or blog. You are right, everyone does have a story.

    Greg Gilbert

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Greg-I love the simplicity of your question. The fact they were willing to open up to you says something about your approach. Thanks for sharing this.

  • http://christopherwesley.org/ Christopher Wesley

    One the greatest things I’ve learned is how powerful SIMPLE can be.  A good morning on a run.  A smile form someone across the room.  Or a have a nice day from a cashier can just change my mood and motivation.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Me too, Chris, and I have to guard against the opposite reaction and not let anyone’s bad attitude rub off. If I get that response, I try harder to understand their perspective.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I like how you mentioned offering a “good morning” on a run. I run or walk almost every day, and have noticed a sharp contrast between the people who do this and those don’t. It’s inspired me to try to be the first time. :)

      • http://christopherwesley.org/ Christopher Wesley

        Couldn’t agree with you more.  Again it’s amazing how simple pleasantries will elevate your mood.  It’s simple things like this that I want to pass on to my kids.

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

          Me, too!

  • Craig Alan Loewen

    Excellent post. As a pastor of an aging congregation, I plead with them to write or  record the stories of their lives for their children, grandchildren, and on.

    “But who will listen?” they ask me. “I’m nobody special.”

    “The people that need to hear it,” is my standard reply. “Everyone’s story is special.”

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Wise advice, Pastor Loewen. Thanks for sharing that this morning.

  • FromHisPresence

    Hey, I loved your insight about this. I so agree. I believe that one of the most effective things I can ever do in my life is to see people with “Spirit eyes” and speak into them the good things I see, rather than the mediocrity everybody else sees. People are desperate to be valued and built up. I’d rather do that than almost anything else.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Your willingness to do that and be a positive vessel allows you to bless many!

  • John Richardson

    Insightful post, Skip. You are right, you never know who you are going to meet. Just last night I sat down with a gal from my Toastmaster’s club. She heard me speak about being an author and wanted to talk to me about publishing a memoir. She talked about her job, about being a single mom, and about trying to raise three boys. She talked about the tough times, like when one of her sons went to jail. It was a heart tugging conversation. Then she told me how one of her sons made it to the NFL. Picked 4oth in the draft. How God had worked in her family’s life.

    I had known her for a few months and heard a few of her speeches, but I didn’t know anything about her life. She was just a gal working at a local golf company. Her story turned out to be a Horacio Alger, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, kind of adventure. 

    I’m going to help her get plugged in to our local writing community, and see what we need to do to get her story out. Of the millions of kids that want to play professional sports, only a few make it. Through an amazing set of circumstances, one of hers did. Her message is compelling, and so many young people need to hear it.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       John, I think we all love those stories, don’t we? I find them incredibly motivating to think about when I’m having a tough time myself. This one sounds like a winner!

      • John Richardson

        Michael talks about finding a niche when building a platform. One great place to find inspiration is to look back at the tough times, to find the failures and the successes. One thing I’ve learned as a fiction writer… readers love conflict. While we hate to go through hard times, readers can truly relate to them.

        • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

           John, I agree and often study failure because that’s where we relate and where we learn both fiction and non-fiction.

  • Hickeyalisha

    I met a wonderful lady who was 88 years-old in a yoga class. She amazed me because she was so very capable of doing the poses and the ones that she had a problem with she just varied the positon a bit. She is an Itailian lady who raised her children on her own. She worked her way through college while working and raising her kiddos. She is sassy and she doesn’t put up with much complaining because she has been too much herself to let the whining go on. I learned from her that day that she is the example of life that deserves attention. She has lived and just like her yoga poses …so is life . There are times in life when we cannot seem to get things right but if we bend a little here or there we can still accomplish what we set out to do . Loved reading this post. thank you for sharing.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       With her attitude and the fact she is taking care of herself, she may be here longer than any of us! Thanks for sharing this story.

  • http://www.authorcynthiaherron.com/ Cynthia Herron

    The moments that have impacted me the most are those in which “ordinary” people flitted in and out of my life, but left remarkable and life-changing impressions.

    What a profound post! Loved it!

    ~Blessings

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Cynthia, thank you. I’m so glad it spoke to you today.

  • Camille LoParrino

    Found that perceptions of children are accurate and valuable. Listen & learn.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      Agree- It’s good to slow down and validate the perceptions.

  • http://www.heartchoices.com Debbie

    I love this post.  It is time to notice those around us.  Even when I’m in the grocery check out line, I often wonder why some people are so impatient or why another is thoughtful.  Thanks for the reminder.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Thank you, Debbie. So often taking time to learn someone’s story changes everything.

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

    And because everybody has something extraordinary, those among us that have nothing extraordinary are extra-extraordinary. 

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       The least among us will be the greatest.

  • Michele Jackson

    Hello,

    Ordinary people have joys and challenges in life.

    You write really well.

    Please read my article, “Sexual Dissatisfaction,” at my blog: http://www.michelefjackson.blogspot.com.

    Let’s chat.

    — Michele Jackson

  • http://www.douglasoakes.com/ Douglas Oakes

    Excellent insight.  Very practical.  I need to keep this kind of thinking before me on a daily basis b/c it doesn’t come natural for most people.  I so easily backslide into self-absorption that the blindness sets back in.  To recognize and speak a blessing into another’s life is one of the greatest gifts we can give another person.  

    Thank you for this post.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Thank you, Douglas. I know I can have that tendency, and appreciate the reminders myself. Have a good weekend.

  • http://www.buckleadership.wordpress.com/ Justin Buck

    Spot-on insight, Skip! I find that being totally present, wherever you are, can lead to greater opportunities. Being totally present in your relationships deepens them. Being totally present with your clients maximizes your impact.

    Easier said than done, but totally worth the daily challenge to ward off distraction.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Yes it does, and I’m with you in making this effort.

  • Cindie

    This post really resonated with me…because I do believe that every person has a story. I work at a Crisis Pregnancy Center and often it is the young crack addicted prostitutes who walk through our doors. One who came in this week…the sadness in her eyes reflects the pain of all that she has left behind as the addiction has taken control of her life.
    The night before she had gone to a local hospital where she was treated poorly by someone in the ER…as she told me about her experience with tears running down her face I was once again reminded of how people so often judge without taking time to see the story that could be behind it all.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Cindie, thanks for sharing and for what you do to lift hurting people up.

  • Allison

    Thank you for this post to remind us to slow down and take notice!  We are so busy checking in via email, Facebook and texts that we neglect what is happening before our eyes.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       You are welcome, and I am often guilty of it myself!

  • http://twitter.com/mawade1 Michael A. Wade

    Thanks for a great post.  I am allow was telling my team members to take time to get to know our customers.  EVERYONE HAS A STORY.  When we do that we not only make happy customers we create friendships that strengthen us as leaders.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      I’m with you, Michael, and those stories are awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  • Tommy Hopson

    This is so true!  Just the other day I listened to a man on crutches due to losing his leg in a motorcycle accident tell his survival story.  He told me not only of his struggles soon after losing his leg but also the long-term struggles he faced.  I learned much more than a book could tell me!

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Often how people overcome the most difficult times in their lives are the most memorable. I admire people who show resilience.

  • Elizabeth Darcy Jones

    Every day, Darren, my baker reminds me we are all extra-ordinary by his interest in his customers’ moods – which he is subtly tuned in to. Thanks, Michael, you also are extra-ordinary! Out of reading this post about deepening connection up popped the name for my new business I’d been struggling to find, simply S L O W I N G down as you suggest… 

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       I’m so glad you enjoyed it, and you must have an amazing baker.

      • Elizabeth Darcy Jones

        Ooops! My thanks should have been to you, Skip, for the guest blog too… Darren may be in rural Herefordshire in the UK but if you’re ever over check him out – he’s just started tweeting at @weloveloafers.

        • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

          No problem at all–Michael IS extraordinary. He’s a big inspiration to me and to many. And, I will make a note of that though it’s been two years since I’ve been up that way.

  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    I love this, Skip. Thanks for taking an interest in everyone, especially those who are ordinary. It says a lot about your character.

    I’m constantly fascinated with my neighbors. I try to go for a walk around the block every day, just to watch them, smile at them, and see what they’re doing.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Thanks, Jeff. Your neighbors should be on the alert–you may appear in a Jeff Goins book!

      • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

        Now THAT is comedy!

  • Karl Vaters

    Thank you for this, Skip (& Michael). 

    As a Small Church pastor, I know there are a lot of us who feel like we aren’t big enough to matter to other ministers and ministries. Sometimes we wonder if we even matter to our own small congregations.

    This is an important reminder that we need to stop worrying about our importance and notice the importance of others. That’s what ministry is all about, after all.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Pastor Vaters, you nailed it. Thanks!

  • http://www.toddliles.com/ Todd Liles

    Great job Skip. My “favorite” coffee place has an amazing atmosphere. They smile, and use first names. And, thier coffee is much more than other places. They have taught me that consumers will pay more for an experience.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Isn’t that so true? I was just listening to an interview where in at least two different places in China they have completely duplicated the coffee shop on the old hit TV show, Friends. That’s the power of atmosphere.

      • http://www.toddliles.com/ Todd Liles

        What a neat idea.  I wonder if they have their own version Ross and Rachel?
        ——– Original message ——–

  • http://www.facebook.com/micky.diaz7 Micky Diaz

    I REALLY enjoy this post! The most ordinary people can do the most extraordinary things. Thanks for sharing Michael!

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Thanks, Micky! I appreciate that and am glad Michael allowed me to post here.

  • http://www.kayemarketingstudio.com/ Julie Ann Kaye

    You are so right. Treat everyone with respect and try to learn something from everyone.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      Definitely-and I’m still learning lessons from everyone, meaning I have a lot left to learn!

  • Maryjowharton

    LOVE this post! So true. Well said!

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       I’m glad you found it useful. Have a good Saturday!

  • http://www.chancescoggins.com/ chance

    I love this concept and this post, Skip!  Thank you for having an eye to NOTICE what’s beyond the surface.  So few do.  It takes a special heart to cultivate an eye to ‘see” what matters.  Thank you for helping us see what you see.  :)

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Chance, seeing you yesterday, I know how you see things that others miss. Watching you watch others is eye-opening.

  • http://dsargentblog.us/ Darin Sargent

    This is a great post Skip!  In Don Miller’s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, he writes about the fact that everyone of us have a story.  Our problem is we move too fast through life to recognize what those around us may be going through or what they have accomplished.  Thanks for reminding us to stop long enough to look around and learn!!

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Thank you, Pastor Sargent. I’ve heard about Don’s book, but I’ve never read it and will have to add it to my list.

      • http://dsargentblog.us/ Darin Sargent

        I am sure you would enjoy it.  Again thanks for the great post.  I enjoy your writing.

  • Bay

    I don’t do this enough. 30 years ago I did it alot. And, you have dredged up some wonderful tales! I worked on the ambulance then. Transporting an elderly woman who I’d been informed couldn’t hear. By the time we arrived at our destination I’d heard all about her childhood riding the range with the cowboys. She was an absolute delight! Just had to take the time to communicate. Obviously I need to do more of this. Thanks for the reminder Skip!

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Now THAT is a story! Wow. Thanks for sharing.

  • Bonniekeen

    Michael, I absolutely love your blog and have been an avid reader for a long time. First time to post. This is such a beautiful piece about being in the moment and seeing Jesus-worth-humanity in the faces around us. As an aside, it’s also a worthy ongoing exercise for any actor or author–to be aware of the stories, body language, stories of our fellow man. I often wonder if we took the time to simply listen to our stories, we would find a way to the One who gives all stories true life. Thank you for all you share and give back to this world.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Bonnie, I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. Every successful author I know has a gift of tuning in to these special moments. Thank you for sharing.

  • annepeterson

    Loved your post. 

    I’ve learned that people are like books;some have never been read. People are dying to tell their story, to know they matter. As far as everyday events. They become extraordinary when you realize God’s in it. There are no “chance,” meetings. Not when you know the God who tells the snow where to fall.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Beautiful comment Anne. Thank you.

  • Esther Bradley-DeTally

    I thrive on this type of relationship or view.  Surfing the Opaque Waves I calls it.  When I go to Pasadena Central Library to check out, they call my name, say hi; we catch up on other people’s lives.  Small things, like looking around, holding the very heavy door at the library or anywhere, for the next person.

    Awareness of the other, interact, leave be – my world is filled with these moments.  Nice question – thanks!

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      Esther, you put it in a way I’ve never heard: “Surfing the Opaque Waves”. I like it. Have a good weekend.

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  • http://www.charlielyons.ca/ Charlie Lyons

    I LOVE this post! So practical and easy to do, if only we’d just slow down a little. This post reminded me of a post I published a year ago about seeing God in the ordinary everyday: http://clyons.ca/xgUl6J

    Thanks, Skip, for your thoughts. You’ve recruited a new reader and follower. :-)

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Charlie, thank you for the kind words. More importantly, I’m glad that it made a difference. I’m still learning but am paying close attention.

  • Greg Martin

    Beautiful. And timely! My sermon tomorrow is focusing on the power of listening, and how it plays such an important role in what we do missionally. Unless we are listening to the people around us, how can we know how best to minister to them? Thanks for saying so clearly and succinctly what I’ve been struggling to put into words. Peace…

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Pastor Martin, I hope the sermon is fabulous! Thank you for the kind words.

  • Cindylouwho976

    If that isn’t being Jesus, I don’t know what is.  I needed the reminder today.  Thank you for your wisdom and great words.  Practicing this today!

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Thank you “CindyLouWho” and for the smile thinking of that story.

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  • Jtmcclay

    Life is about love. I forget that on my way to success. Success that the world views  mostly in a finanacial context, which has influenced my persepective in a negative way.  Many of my most memoral experiences with strangers are the connections made in the check-out line at the grocery store, at the restauarant table, or trying on a shirt when I take the time to become interested in the person serving me and try to serve them back.  Countless scientific studies show we experience joy when we serve others, both with our time, talents and money. We really could learn the most from the one who came to serve us in the most dramatic way. thanks for the reminder.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      Thank you for adding to the conversation with your thoughts. I’m going to practice it more today to find the “joy” from those studies. All the best to you.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Great perspective. You’re right … there’s a truckload of science behind serving others, generosity, and joy. Dr. Henry Cloud talks about this at length in his book, “The Law of Happiness.”

  • Claudio Morelli

    Skip, your post resonates. I have always tried to notice others, their selfless service and thank them for it. I remember reading Max DePree’s book Leadership is an Art that talks about leadership and story telling. He says that a leader needs to be a tribal storyteller and that leaders should weep over the inability of folks to tell the difference between heroes and celebrities. The heroes he talks about are the ones that you notice and wrote about. Thanks for the reminder. 

    Regards, Claudio Morelli

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Yes! What a great reminder of the difference between heroes and celebrities. Celebrities may be heroes, but the status doesn’t bestow it.

  • http://twitter.com/Kentlapp Kent Lapp

    I have to admit I’m usually a bit cautious (skeptical?) with guest posts but wow, this was amazing!!  Thank you Michael Hyatt for sharing and thank you Skip Prichard for your willingness to create and share.  

    Absolutely encouraging, thank you!

    PS:  Congrats on all the comments.  :)

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      Kent, I’m cautious and skeptical myself so I understand your feelings. Thank you for the kind words. Here’s to seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary today!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You’re welcome. Skip did a great job.

  • http://KatieAxelson.com/ Katie Axelson

    This is wonderful! In addition to seeing the hidden talent of everyday people, I like to tap into their known talents too. If the coffee shop is quiet and I’m thirsty, I’ll go up the barista and describe the kind of drink I want then order whatever he/she suggests. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not but a relationship is built. After doing this several times, I walked in one day and immediately the barista said, “You need to try this new drink I just created!” It was delicious.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      What a great story! You must also have been honest with your feedback so the barista knows what you like. Thanks for the comment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mwguay Mark William Guay

    Being comfortable with failure though is not at all very comfortable for many.I’ll confess that I struggle to allow failure Into my life. It’s scary. Scarier than dying.

    Not too long ago, I began to look around for opportunities to fail, to try something new. I made two major changes in my life. I got married and began looking to better my career.

    I’m happily married thank you very much and my career has led me here, to this discovery:

    That school is life’s best opportunity to learn failure. 
    But the system is not allowing this to happen, yet. Students are afraid of failure and are taught its a bad thing. Don’t fail a class (so don’t try new ones), don’t fail a test (because then you’re stupid) and don’t follow your passion (unless you can make money from it).

    But, if there’s ever been a time to show students the positive habit of failing, it’s now. To survive in the connection economy today and to think conceptually for the problems we have no clue are coming, students need to be comfortable with failing. Comfortable with reflecting on these failures. Because this is the only way to move forward and be prepared. 

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      I agree that school doesn’t teach the positives of failing. And institutions really never have. But talk to any successful person and they will talk about the benefits of when they didn’t do so well. We don’t try to fail or seek it, but when it comes, it can have tremendous lessons. Thanks for sharing your very thoughtful ideas.

  • http://askaaronlee.com Aaron Lee

    Amazing blog post Skip, 

    I do notice the little things but this post really opens my mind. Just remembered of a Barista who asked for my name the first time I was there and she remembered my name till today! 

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Thanks, Aaron. That’s an impressive barista! Maybe worth stopping the manager and saying so.

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    This is a great post Skip and I always enjoy reading your writing :) Not discounting what I’ve learned from your blog:

    I’ve learned to love books from my grandfather who sent my brother and I books every birthday instead of toys. We really developed a love for books. It was special after all these years to hand him a copy of my book. At 87 he doesn’t touch computers so he was overwhelmed to hold the book :) 

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Kimanzi, you know how I love my printed books! They are treasures. Look forward to its official release.

  • http://dreamjobprogram.com/ Drew Tewell

    “We’re all ordinary people, but we are all extraordinary in our own way.” Great line, Skip. It’s been a while since we connected.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Thank you, Drew, and yes, it sure has. Wishing you all the best in 2013.

  • http://twitter.com/PastorZMalott Pastor Zach Malott

    Michael, It is my earnest belief that we are all ordinary people. Looking at life from the worldview of a pastor, I see all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds.

    Like you, I have discovered that the cover on the book never quite fits with what we find inside. It requires opening the cover and taking the time to honestly allow the contents to speak to you. That’s what tells the story.

    It’s the everyday events and ordinary encounters we have with others that add their sums that total up to the “ureka” moments that give birth to “ureka” ideas that can change the world.

    Thanks for putting together the sum of your ordinary encounters together and sharing your “eureka” moments with the rest of us. You are helping to give birth to a newly present zeitgeist, in terms of motivation, for the presentation of a plethora of worthy ideas that might never have seen the light of day.

    Blessings,

    Zach

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Pastor Malott, so often we look at people differently based on external factors. Yet that is not the definition of a person. We all can be extraordinary. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, and may you have a wonderful 2013.

  • Kurtis

    Last month I met with a guy who owns a pressure washing franchise.  I thought I would “bless” him with a coffee and my own experience but as our cups emptied he revealed that he is a highly-educated bone doctor and retired professor at the UofW.  He was articulate, intelligent beyond description and obviously brave enough to try a wholly new venture in life!  Never read a book by its cover right?    Thank you, -K

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       I love these types of surprises, Kurtis. Thanks for sharing this story.

  • Jennifer

    And now I’m sitting here realizing how I buzz through each day without really stopping to pay attention to everyone else around me. I do try to make eye contact with cashiers, etc. when I’m out, but I don’t know that I go much beyond that. What a great reminder.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      It’s exciting to think about because you may meet your new best friend!

  • Mary Gunther

    I am part of a student leadership development organization that trains student to collaborate on teams and speak in community. To be able to hear what they care about has taught me incredible lessons about being human.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       What a wonderful job, and you are obviously someone who listens well.

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  • Ichabod Caine

    Hi Skip, When my health club starting doing the finger print recognition thing I chose instead to stay with showing them my id. I found as time went on the new people at the front desk would say my name proudly and check me in without my id. Yes its nice to hear your name but I discovered whoever was at the front desk prided themselves in remembering it. OK, its a weird name, but thats not the point.
    Ichabod Caine

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Terrific. Great choice.

  • http://www.colleenfriesen.com/blog Colleen Friesen

    I agree completely. We never know the whole story. 
    If we can get outside of our own reactions (especially when someone does something rude or mean) we might be able consider that the objectionable person might just have found out their dog died or perhaps they have just been diagnosed with cancer. 
    We only see the end actions…this does not necessarily mean we know the true intentions. 
    A wise friend once told me to always be sure to apply ‘curious consideration’ to whatever happens; in other words, to be open to all possibilities.
    Thanks for a great post.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Colleen, there is great, great wisdom in your comment. Thank you.

  • Tiffany

    Recently I was in a coffee shop and observing other customers. A table away sat a man and woman, around 40 ish. From listening, I determined they were both widowed, had met in a bereavement group, and were comparing notes on their grief. There was nothing romantic, just two people facing the journey through extraordinary circumstances together. 

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Two broken people who experienced grief way too young. Here’s to their healing!

  • MJGottlieb

    Super post Skip. I think now, more than ever we need to train ourselves not to judge a book by its cover. Many people who have been affected by the economy have had to swallow their egos and swallow huge doses of humility and take jobs at a fraction of the pay that they used to in order to take care of their responsibilities.

    At the same time, there are many people who are content in JUST MAKING PEOPLE HAPPY and if that means being a Barista then good for her (or him). Homelessness is also a very big thing to me. When I see a homeless person (as you know I’ve done a little work in that area) I now imagine a newborn innocent baby… and wonder what their story is what what went off course. Then once I hear their story.. I get it. We are here for service and to help those who seem not to be able to help themselves at the moment. We must love them until they learn to love themselves.

    Very inspiring post and powerful message my friend.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Thanks, MJ.  I’m not surprised at your actions because you specialize in turning lemons to lemonade. And you are transparent in sharing your own errors so you can help others.

  • http://www.workyouenjoy.com/ Adam Rico

    Wow, this is fantastic Skip. In our celebrity focused culture it is refreshing to be reminded that ordinary people are fascinating too. We’re all God’s handiwork and each of us are amazing in our own way. I love celebrating the uniqueness of each individual – thanks for the encouragement to do it more often.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Thanks, Adam. Just tonight I saw another individual who was a unique example. It’s amazing that you see it when you search for it.

  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

    Great post.  I’d say at least 20% of the posts on my blog come from the lessons I have learned from watching ordinary people and experiencing ordinary life.  It’s great to be reminded to keep our eyes open to learn from the “mundane.”

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Thanks, Jon. As you know, that mundane can unlock some amazingly powerful lessons.

  • Edwina

    I’m learning to “live in the moment” and to look for a miracle or blessing every day. Sometimes, those miracles and blessings come in human form and because of that, the miracles and blessings are even more special.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       With that great attitude, Edwina, you will find it more often than you imagine.

  • Eileen Cornelsen

    What powerful words of wisdom…!!  Our lives can be so crazy busy that we fail to see things the way they really are.  This post is a great reminder for me personally to live and enjoy life in the moment…even if it’s just my ordinary, boring drive to work.  Thank you..!! 

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Eileen, you just encouraged me in a big way. Thank you back!

  • Jr

    This post was very self awaring. I will  defiantly step one step back and become aware of my surroundings. Thank you for making me become more aware of the individuals around me.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       To your increased power of self awareness!

  • http://www.CharlesSpecht.com/ Charles Specht

    Skip, Skip, Skip. You’ve outdone yourself in this article. Amazing! You have a wonderful way with words, and your insight into the lives of the people around you is simply captivating. 

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Charles, you are too kind. I appreciate your words and encouragement.

  • http://www.janiscox.com/ Janis Cox

    Oh this is so true. And watching where God is leading and going there. Today I was led to a painting class (didn’t look for it) and found excitement, leadership and fun. I try not to go ahead of God but it sure is awesome to watch Him at work.

    An ordinary encounter can spark an extraordinary experience. Be aware.

    Great post,
    Blessings,
    Janis

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Janis, I love your line, “An ordinary encounter can spark an extraordinary experience. Be aware.” Couldn’t have said it better.

  • http://www.whiteboardbusiness.com/ Dallon Christensen

    Well, I found one of my Playbook links for next week! All of this comes down to our society today being one of many “acquaintances” but very, very few deep relationships. Even doing one of the items Skip suggests above will take you so much farther than just following someone on Twitter or friending them on Facebook.

    I’m going to make a real effort to ask more questions at least one time per day as a small step. This post should make all of us step back and remember we are more than just acquaintances.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       I love it, Dallon. Go for it and may it be awesome for those you encounter.

  • Mathewogreen

    Hi Michael, Thank yo so much for taking the time to post this. I have learnt, from teaching in a variety of contexts, that everyone wants the best for their children.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       I’m so glad you enjoyed it, and I wish you the best as well.

  • Jekyllislandreviews

    Interesting & thought-provoking post.  I love to people watch & converse with them. 
    Thanks for reminding us to stop and see each person for who they are.  We want others to do the same for us, don’t we?!
    Blessings,
    The-How-to-Guru

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       We most definitely do! Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/Davidbgoldstein David Goldstein

     

    Very true! Especially in cities we pass by so many people and
    we can’t possibly get to know everyone’s story or discover their hidden talent.
    It’s easy not to even try and instead look down at your smartphone, but this
    post is a great reminder to try to start conversations when we can. 

    I’ve learned more from taxi drivers and
    doormen than anyone else – These people know everything about what is going on and
    from politics to weather, or more importantly where to avoid going for lunch!  Everyone is from somewhere else and has their
    own reasons and passions and many have be drawn here for their artistic talents
    too!

    And starting conversations is contagious!

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       David, love that. Yes, I definitely have found amazing restaurants in cities from people. If I hadn’t asked and listened, I would never have found some of my favorite places. Thanks for adding your experience.

  • Carmela

    WOW…this was a great article.  I don’t have time for much…but this blog id so worth my time.  Thanks for sharing.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      Carmela, I’m so glad you found it helpful. All the best to you in coming weeks.

  • http://www.mondayisgood.com/ Tom Dixon

    I love seeing people who do their work with passion and joy – especially when it is something I might think is below me – gives me needed perspective.  I would say as an adoptive father, that family can be more than “truly biological” but then I am probably just sensitive to that!  Loved the post…great reminder to LOOK AROUND.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      Thanks, Tom. Good point–not my intention and appreciate you understanding what I meant. Perhaps a better way to say it is the distinction of the legal family and others you adopt into the family as friends? Thanks for weighing in and your add. Sorry again-I wish I would have caught that one!

  • Gelsey13

    I’m working on writing Christian devotionals.  Devotionals seem to me to be the most interesting when they contain observations from daily life, and real people living that life.  I believe God is calling me to this, and I need to slow down and pay more attention to what is going on around me.  I need to think more, question and wonder more……
    Thanks for this post.  I was trying to explain this to my elderly parent last night, and they didn’t get it.  I was comparing writing to crafting a garment or dress.  A designer has to put their personal stamp on the item, while imagining who would wear the piece and why. For me, writing seems to be taking this direction.  I think this piece ties in nicely with what I am learning.  I hope so!

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      I’m so glad it may help you. Imagining that person you want to help is definitely a successful writing technique.

  • http://www.markjcundiff.com/ Mark J Cundiff

    Really great post! Thanks for sharing this perspective and challenging us to open our eyes and see what is right in front of us if we will slow down, listen and observe with a different perspective. 

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Thank you, Mark. I’m glad it resonated with you!

  • Ludovic Carceles

    This is a great article we live in a world of self and we often forget that without others people we are not that much so lets take a bit of our precious time to observe learn and discover who are the people we meet everyday but we actually don’t see.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It’s true–“other” perspective is a sign of maturity versus thinking about “me first.” Not always easy, but always rewarding when we can practice it.

  • http://ReWritingDad.com/ Chad Miller

    Skip, this is a great reminder of awareness and empathy. 
    As a writer focusing on Family Leadership, I’ve found myself paying much more attention to families when I am in different environments. Often, I can find nuggets for new material to use from the behaviors I witness. I’ll consider how I may have handled a situation in a similar manner or otherwise. 
    Ultimately, paying attention to others teaches me how lucky I am as a husband and father.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      Chad, thanks for adding your thoughts. I also repeat things in my mind and rethink how I did things, how I should have done them, and then strive to constantly improve. All the best as you write on family leadership.

  • Jo Rae

    I hope to remain a perpetual student. I’ve found often overlooked groups, like children and seniors, offer a wealth of knowledge as well. Love so much in this post. Thank you for the reminder not to be like “Shallow Hal,” but to see the beauty and potential in everyone.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Jo, I’m glad you liked this post and that you decided to be a perpetual student. With that mindset, you will definitely learn more than most. I’m with you on that journey.

  • http://rickwolff.com Rick Wolff

    I get the same feeling after I’ve sketched a few willing subjects, as an amateur caricaturist. When I walk through a crowd afterwards, I see people in all their variations, and they all seem beautiful to me, in their own ways.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      How cool that you have the gift to do that! I am sure that your talent has you seeing things most would miss. What a great skill.

  • Cherry Odelberg

    Skip Prichard, you are a thinker after my own heart. Love your background sketches of these ordinary characters.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Cherry, I so appreciate your note. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

     Angela, thank you so much. I appreciate it and am glad you are also living this way.

  • http://www.emilycapito.com/ Emily Capito

    As a natural introvert, this is one of the most difficult lessons to apply day-to-day. However, just the first few attempts to spark conversation with a scary stranger reaffirmed the magic. I have profited many times over by making eye contact and asking at least two open-ended questions. That being said, I find my fall-back questions boring. Any great questions others have used to start off a conversation with anyone, anywhere?  

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      Emily, as an “extreme extrovert”, I’ve read some of those articles and they didn’t stay with me. I’m sure someone will weigh in with a suggestion. You may enjoy this little test: http://bit.ly/L0ptQF

      • http://www.emilycapito.com/ Emily Capito

        Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/EBYounts ElizabethBylerYounts

    I remember learning years ago that you can learn SOMETHING from everyone. I’ve taken that sentiment with me over the years and I believe it’s made me a more tolerant and understanding person.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      And that attitude, Elizabeth, is the key to it all. Good advice.

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    Hey Skip! Great to see you guest posting on Michael’s blog. Loved the reminder to keep an eye out for the everyday, ordinary people doing great things.

    I’ve learned that we’ve got a lot of hurting kids out there due to struggles at home. They’re acting out because they’re yearning for that attention they don’t get from their parents. Be kind. Be gentle. And give someone your ear.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Joe, when I read your comment, I read it fast and thought you said “give someone your car.”  Funny.  Thanks for drawing attention to the hurting kids.  I’ve seen that before.  And you sparked an idea for me to write about, too.

      • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

        That’s funny Skip. Love that you’re willing to admit when you misread something!

        Glad an idea was sparked. Looking forward to what you have to say on the topic.

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

     Love your domain name Angela. There really are no ordinary days.

  • http://leadright.wordpress.com/ Brent Dumler

    A similar lesson I’ve taken hold of over the years is to intentionally find inside of each person I encounter that which God sees in them.  It forces me to look for the good while most of the bad seems to fall to the curb.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      Love this thought, Brent. So very true. Expect the best and you may just find it.

  • Kradiposo

    Beautifully written…Most of us are just too busy to ask the person sittting next to us in a bus how they are doing…or too full of pride to talk to certain people which should never be the case because we miss out on so much…

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Thank you. I’m glad it spoke to you.

  • RobynKR

     I am so glad i was reminded of the little things in life that Matter

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      Yes. And no telling what can happen when many of us are listening intently.

  • paul thaxter

    I love the apocalypse of the ordinary (good book by that name) and I confess I too have turned the covers of my favourite books outwards.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       I haven’t read that one, but it sounds good. Yes, I’ve been guilty. In fact, just last week, I confess I did that for Michael Hyatt’s Platform book.

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  • S-5

    Very interesting, Thanks

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      Andrea, thank you for sharing. I identify with having the homeless around and the benefits from it. In fact, that’s the very reason I started studying people. All of these people I wrote about–the barista, the carwash guy, the college grad, the bookstore lady–all of them them were walking stories like the people I grew up with. And I laughed with your first story and how wrong we can be in our assumptions.

      Thank you for sharing these with us.

  • Andrea

    Hi Michael and all commenters

    Wow, one of my favorite posts this year (I know we’re still in January). I travel 100% for my job (I’m only home weekends) and if I didn’t try to get to know the people I meet along the way I’d be one very lonely person.

    Thing’s I’ve learned

    1. Never ever assume you know what’s going on in someone else’s life, but always reach out if you think someone is in trouble.

    The server with the black eye and cheek, everyone in the restaurant couldn’t look her in the eye and we’re embarrassed. I heard one couple talk in a loud whispered conversation (one of those that everyone can hear) about how she’d never let him do that to her. Diners where commenting amongst themselves and had outrage on her behalf but no one said anything.

    I’d been there before myself, so when she came to give my my bill I pressed my business card in her hand and said if she needed anything I’d be there to help (and yes she was a strangers) Two unexpected responses came from her one was laughter the next tears. 

    Turns out she’d take her son to get his school immunizations the day before and he didn’t want to get the necessary shots. He kicked out several times and nailed her with his kick.  Hence the laugh…you could see that now that the doctor’s visit was over she could see the humor in what happened!

    The tears, I was the first person in all that interacted with her that day who even commented on her face, and she was grateful that I reached out even though I had made the wrong assumption.

    2. Kindness goes along way

    Always treat hotel staff with respect and courtesy. They are people too, going through divorces, marriages, sick children, money troubles, car troubles, birthdays, family reunions, just like me. By saying good morning and asking after their day believe it or not you make their day…

    3. When I was much younger, my mom brought home a homeless guy for a meal and shower. He was polite, well-mannered but reserved. He then discovered that my mom was a painter, and bashfully showed us his sketch book, His paintings, sketches, half done ideas, were amazing, perfect for children’s storybooks. He asked mom how to repay her for dinner. I piped up and said he could stay in my room and I’d sleep in my brother’s room if he’d paint a mural in my room. Mom approved the deal, and for the next week he stayed with us working on my mural. My mural featured me dreaming, and of all the things I dream of. I can’t tell you how awesome that mural was. Now that I’m grown up and the mural is long gone, my bedroom always feels a little empty somehow because I don’t have my dream mural.

    Sorry for the long response….

    Andrea

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Great tips here Andrea – your examples embody the profound truth that the “ordinary” is at the core of the “extraordinary.”

  • Jeff

    My first mentor stopped and asked me could I name the custodian of our office and where else he worked.  At 23 it was not something I had considered.  Since then, knowing the custodian, doorman, gas station attendant by name has led to some interesting discoveries.

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Great comment Jeff. There was a veteran news reporter I used to work with in Syracuse NY and he told me over coffee one day that he tried to “…treat famous people like they were not, and ordinary people like they were not…” – that was a profound truth that lingers with me today and is a parallel to your mentor’s advice!

  • http://www.jackiebledsoe.com/ jbledsoejr

    Great post!  I checked out Skip’s blog and found…more great posts!  Needless to say, SUBSCRIBED!

    Michael, thanks for introducing us to other great bloggers, writers, and leaders.

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Jackie, I stumbled upon Skip’s writing and his interviews via Michael Hyatt – both men’s writings/ministries have incrementally (yet profoundly) impacted my daily living!

      • http://www.jackiebledsoe.com/ jbledsoejr

        I can believe it!

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       I’m honored! Thank you.

  • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

    Skip, this is a fantastic post! It reminds me of my first job as a news reporter. My boss (the news director) told me, “There is something interesting about everybody – it’s the reporter’s job to find out what that interesting thing is.” Great reminder!

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       That explains why you are so good at finding it–lots of practice. Thanks, Tor.

  • Danraymoore

    Thanks for such a good article. Everyone needs to read this. I really liked the part about getting to know your employees. I worked for years at a company where most of the front office people did not know anything about the people that worked in the warehouse in the back of the same building. We also had one boss that would come into the break room and brag about what he had just bought. Most of the people in the warehouse were struggling to make ends meet. We are all indeed ordinary people.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Thank you and yes, everyone has a story and everyone has struggles. They may be different, but we have a shared experience.

  • http://www.trailreflections.com/ Chris Peek

    Skip, great post! This reminds me of the Mexican restaurant my wife and I eat at every Friday night. We’ve taken time to get to know the owners and many of their staff. It’s a family-owned business, and the 2 sides of the family work there: one side from Germany and the other from Mexico. We’ve gotten to know so many of their stories that we feel like one of the family!

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Chris, it sounds like a place I’d like to visit! It’s incredible when you get to know people this way. We always find our favorite servers in restaurants, and really get to know them. Better service, better experience, and a better date! Thanks Chris.

      • http://www.trailreflections.com/ Chris Peek

        Yep, it’s quite amazing how you can get fantastic service just by getting to know the servers. If you’re ever in the VA Beach area, I’ll be glad to take you there. :)

        • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

           as long as it’s winter…because in the summer it’s 100% Chesapeake Bay steamed crabs….

          • http://www.trailreflections.com/ Chris Peek

            Ha ha. I don’t blame you. There are plenty of great seafood restaurants around with interesting people!

  • http://www.spencermcdonald.net/ Spencer McDonald

    When we stop to take in our surroundings we are learning, we are yearning, and we are endearing thoughts for our mind that matter. This article is a good reminder to slow down and see the world. Thank you.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Spencer, memorable: learning, yearning, endearing.

  • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

    EXCELLENT post, Skip. Loved this. Just last week, while staying in a hotel in Charlotte, NC, I couldn’t help but notice an employee who served us with absolute delight. She smiled at every turn and seemed to truly love what she was doing. I complimented her, told her what a pleasure she was to be around. She answered, “Oh, I’m just an intern. But I love it here.” From her comments, I doubted she was being paid much—if anything—for her work. So I responded to her by saying, “No, you’re not just an intern. You’ve totally made our night. Well done.” Lesson: You don’t need a title or position to be excellent at what you do—and noticed for it.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      Thank you, Michele. Wouldn’t you love to peer into the future and see how that intern will achieve her dreams? I love watching people who don’t even realize how GOOD they really are.

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  • Kathy

    This post is truly how I want to live my life, believing everyone has a story and it is my job to learn it. I have been blessed having God direct me to learn the stories of some amazing ordinary people. When I wrote my first book, ONE MORE SERVING, I interviewed over 60 people to select the ordinary individuals whose lives were hijacked by a defining moment and how they responded that made them extraordinary and every one of them removed the “stereotypical” glasses from my eyes. It was a true learning experience and I was amazingly blessed for being given ther opportunity to hear the stories behind people we do life with daily.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Sounds like a wonderful book, Kathy. Thanks for sharing its lessons.

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  • http://www.liveyourwhy.net/ Terry Hadaway

    I’ve learned that ordinary people have stories they want to share and we need to hear. They are stories of survival, achievement, and perseverance. They are stories of creativity, passion, and artistry. Some stories are best shared through words; others through art. As I coach writers, I’ve discovered that everyone has a message, those messages are unique, and those messages need to be shared. You have art to share. Will you share it?

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      Yes, and they are all extraordinary stories. Terry, thanks for helping others deliver messages to the world. It makes a difference.

  • http://twitter.com/BeckyBrett Becky Brett Caldwell

    Great post! I especially love the part about being observant. In improv, we approach people and situations with a spirit of curiosity. This leads down an untold number of magical paths in just one scene. Imagine if we were to put this in practice every day. What opportunities would present themselves? Wonderful post!

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Thank you, Becky. I don’t do it as often as I should, but am making it an effort. That’s what these wonderful people taught me.

  • Smith_mary1

    Thanks for reminding us of how important these “ordinary” people around us  really are and the lessons we can learn from them. People remind me of books, waiting to be read – evolving and unedited   Theycan  bring a  full spectrum of emotion  to your live . . . joy to anger and a lot of in-betweens . . Libby :-)

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Mary, books….NOW you are talking my language! I agree with you-and you never know what’s on the pages. Thanks for the good thought.

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  • Kalel

    I like this post. 
    definitely worth reading.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Thank you, Kalel. Best of success to you.

  • http://JaredLatigo.com/ Jared Latigo

    Very nice Skip. Love the way you laid it out, clever! 

    It’s definitely important to recognize that everyone has something to offer. The manifesto I wrote mentions that as a key part to how we can all become more than we expect and work in symphony toward God’s plan. Lessons in real life are the best ones…its the ones in school that I have yet to find practical in life. 

    Thanks for sharing your heart!

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      Thanks, Jared. I’m so glad it resonated with you.

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  • N.Husna

    I’m glad Micheal invited you Skip to write this beautiful thoughtful note. This proved you aren’t a typical leader who often forgets about these simple insights because he/she has more big thing to focus. Thank you for being an extra-ordinary leader, thank you for showing me to be extra-ordinaire and thank you for not letting any comment left unreplied.  

    N.Husna

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      I appreciate you taking the time to write. All of us have tremendous potential. By noticing others around us, we realize how interconnected we are and the unique gifts each of us has. Thank you again for your kind words.

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  • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

     Thank you! Yes, I share your principle. When you practice it, you end up receiving more than you can imagine.

  • Andrew Giwa

    We live in a fast paced, selfish world such that its easier to gloss over people and to be overly preoccupied with our own cares and needs, i really need to slow it down and enjoy the gift of people, life and relationships, this is what makes life worth living..

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       You said it so well, Andrew. Thank you for the reminder for me today, too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/simanjuntaksylvia Sylvia Snow

    I so so love this.. :D

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      Thanks! Have a good week ahead and remember to celebrate the ordinary!

  • http://candelierious.blogspot.com Lis

    No answer to the question, just loved the reminder of stoping to look and appreciate what is before me.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

       Thanks for stopping here and sending the message. All the best to you!