I don’t like the phone. It is a technological beast that I’ve fought for years. While I see countless people on their cell phones day and night, I don’t like mine very much. I find it impersonal. I would much rather talk with someone face to face, where I can see their expressions and feelings.
Yet I find that I can’t live without a phone. In our modern society we get business done with a phone, computer, and e-mail. Personal face to face communication is a luxury that most businesses can’t afford on a regular basis. With web based software, I find myself in countless webinars, trainings, and online conversations. With the combination of a computer and phone many of the personal training sessions that used to include a live person are now replaced with a computer slide show and a voice on the phone.
When you add in the usual complexity of modern voice mail and automated call routing I fight the urge to pick up my phone and call most companies when I have a problem. The frustration of layers of voice prompts to just get to a place where I can actually talk to a human being is very great.
Yet as much as I hate the phone, it is nice to just have a conversation on the phone once in a while. I love it when my daughter calls, just to see how we are doing. I like to talk with other people in my industry and see how they are coping with the changes and state mandates of the education business. I like to talk with my wife at the end of a busy day and plan a quiet evening out.
When I take a step back and look at the concept of Deliberate Actions, I realize that there are some people that I need to call that I haven’t talked to in a while… or maybe ever. This morning, I printed out a set of ten blank deliberate action cards and put them in a stack in front of me. I grabbed a sharpie and started writing names down.
Here are some of the names I came up with.
Old Friends: I put down the names of three of my good friends from High School. Tim, David, and Matt are all guys that I haven’t seen in years. I will have to do some searching to get the phone numbers, but I think it will be worth it. When we used to get together in High School we would brainstorm and write for our own humorous newspaper called the Burnt Bean Burrito. We would laugh for hours as we put together stories, pictures, and funny sayings. This will be fun.
Previous Co-Workers: I started reminiscing about places that I used to work and the friends that were there. It was very interesting just thinking of the places and faces from the past. I wondered if some of the people are still working there and how old their kids must be by now. I wondered if those oft dreamed about promotions ever came through. These are calls that may be a little tough to make since so much time has passed, but interesting just the same.
Relatives: I put down the names of some relatives that my wife and I haven’t seen in years. From family in Ohio to cousins in Alabama and Tennessee. Time is the great enemy here. What seems like just a few years has turned to decades. When my parents passed away some of the ties to our relatives passed with them. The letters didn’t come anymore and the names have faded into memories. These will be tough calls to make as those “best intentions” over the years never came to pass.
As I filled out card number 10, I realized that there are so many more calls to make. Friends from college, old customers, people from Toastmasters and other organizations. I started another sheet, and the tears came to my eyes as I realized all the people I have lost touch with.
Days become weeks, weeks become months, and suddenly we find the years rushing by. These simple little cards have really helped me see what is really important in life. Conversations that need to be made…