Check in on People
There was one guy in particular I'd always sort of worried about. He "had it together," was very intelligent, acted tough, was a respected professional. And these types, I've found, are the frailest of frail. They're usually very successful, but always on the ledge.
He did train with two of my employees about 14 years ago. Other than that, I know of no other time in his whole life that he admitted wanting help from anyone. Long story short, a couple years ago he committed suicide.
I seldom followed up with him, because his responses were so terse. It's a tough balancing act, because some people just don't understand another human genuinely caring about their wellbeing. Part of that cynicism is borne out of their own inability to care for others. He was one of those. Even the way he answered me on follow-up telephone calls were brittle, always suspecting that I was looking to get something out of the interaction. I wasn’t. In fact, as an immutable law, I will no longer coach personality types like this. I just worried about him.
I built a habit in 2004 of simply making a call, sending a card, shooting an email to people I'd met along the journey. Many of them had worked with employees or peers of mine. Some were my own former clients. Some were just people I chatted with briefly once or twice. These aren’t sales calls. My calendar is too full, and with good, humble, reliable people. In the last 6 months I’ve turned away over 30 insistent requests.
Just my two cents: but when I follow up with people and they admit to an injury, a struggle, a human experience, I always think, "this guy is gonna be alright". When I follow up with someone who is telling me how great they are, I know there's some deep pain (so deep it can't be shared).
So, check in on people, just for the simple act of seeing how they're doing, and maybe providing an example to them that there are people who give a rip.
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