And more often than not, those “things” are basic common courtesies.
Returning a phone call. Sending a thank you note (extra credit for a hand written one). Remembering a name, or better still, their wife or husband’s name (or their dog’s). Saying “please” and “excuse me“. Not criticizing someone in public. Offering praise when praise is due. Treating everyone with respect, no matter who they are or what they do. Smiling a lot, and always putting people at ease. Or just being there when you are needed.
All of these actions can create a lasting positive impression – call it karma, or just plain old good vibes (as a fledgling yogi, I’m partial to karma, so we’ll call it that).
And oh yes, these impressions come back to you – most times when you least expect them. That’s why John Lennon was right when he said karma could “knock you off your feet“.
You just never know when someone you extended a courtesy to remembers that 6 years later, looks you up, and offers you an opportunity.
Fantasy? Nope. It happened to me.
I’ve seen people that I know (and respect greatly) get back riches beyond their wildest dreams primarily because they were overflowing with good karma.
Even on a smaller scale, karma can still surprise you, like in those simple day to day interactions you have as a leader. I visit my company’s field operations quite often, and I like to talk personally with as many folks as I can. The karma comes back to me when I get e-mails or letters about how just showing up, and taking the time to chat, made a difference in how they felt about their jobs.
It’s funny – most “karma creators” I know often chalk up their resulting successes to luck – but these folks are out there creating their own luck, by their kind, generous, noble, courteous, respectful, and thoughtful actions.
The more of those actions you take, the greater your chances for those “knock you off your feet“ moments that can change your life, lead to greater success, or just make you feel good all over.
And as a leader (and as a person for that matter), who wouldn’t want to “make” that kind of luck?