There is a word that has been on my mind and hopefully in my actions over the past week. So much so that it caused me to go back to February of 2009 to find a newsletter dedicated to it. Below is an excerpt from that newsletter and here is a link if you choose to read the entire thing. As promised in the first idea exchanger, it is followed by what I think I was thinking in 2009 when I wrote it and what I am thinking about it today. After that is the opportunity for you to tell us and others “What do you think?” by responding to the question/exercise on the word “edify.”
Your answers will inspire others to participate and make this Idea Exchanger process a valuable learning experience for all of us.
To edify, as I understand it, simply means to build up, enlighten, inform, educate, instruct, and to simply do all of this for the good of something or someone else.
When the good coming out of an instructing or teaching situation builds up someone else, it is edifying; when the good is solely for us . . . it is simply called selfish. I wonder how much could be accomplished each day if those we lead became those we edified or lifted up. I wonder if the results would reflect a sense of purpose and direction because the person doing them felt inspired in the process.
Then imagine the next step and the impact an employer or colleague can have if they too are driven to not only teach or instruct but to edify with their words and actions with the understanding that when we build strong people, we build strong businesses! THAT IS POWERFUL TO THINK ABOUT!
It was very interesting going back to read this from . . . 2009. At this time, we were working with a lot of clients in several different professions and I was witnessing a variety of approaches to leading people and managing businesses. I believe this was almost an angry newsletter (at least it seems that way reading it today). I was not seeing a lot of edifying happening around me as I observed some of these companies as well as situations in my travels. I am willing to guess that I may not have been doing a lot of edifying myself. I wrote this newsletter to challenge others and myself to examine our approach to people. I wanted us to think about the words we are saying and the actions we are taking and the effect we may be having on our team, family, friends, or anyone else who crosses our path. That challenge is still one I know I need to be aware of today.
Why did I feel compelled to revisit this concept of “edify” and get another IDEA EXCHANGER back out sooner than I thought I would? It is because I am feeling edified. The concept goes both ways and I think it happens simultaneously. When we care enough to find a way to take the focus off of ourselves and look for a way to lift up someone else, I believe we soon find we have also helped ourselves feel a little better. I was absolutely edified by the tremendous responses that came in after the first idea exchanger. I hope all of you who posted your thoughts felt a little edification in doing so!
Last week the entire family travelled to ORLANDO. Now travelling to Disney World during Spring Break has the potential to de-edify, and that probably is not a real word but gets the point across. In spite of the chaos, I was inspired by the time with family and by what I was able to recognize in people all around me. The busy waitress, happy ride operators, great rental car people, enthusiastic gate agents, and inspired brand new daddies bouncing their two-month-old on their knee. I caught myself continually telling people, “Wow you are a superstar,” “You sure have a great attitude,” and “You are the happiest new daddy I have ever seen,” to which he responded with the greatest of smiles, “Isn’t she beautiful!”
It is a healthy thing to look around and take a moment to recognize someone . . . The opportunity is always there; all we have to do is take our attention off of ourselves and recognize it. Let’s get excited about what is happening through us and not to us.
Here is a challenge if you are up to it. Can you create an acronym for the word EDIFY?
Here is a question to consider . . . what do you think you can do today to be more aware and give recognition to the greatness that is happening around you?