Little Gestures

The hundreds of little things
Which beat against the heart,
Were meant so. Like the tapping of spring rain, They batter us down gently
With their music

Nancy Flowers, Little Things

We love to celebrate the grand gestures, but success in life is made up of thousand of little gestures executed over years.

Last week someone shared that I had inspired their career choice over a decade ago. When they saw me talk with passion about the work I was doing, they wanted to give it a try and they have done so ever since. Importantly that wasn’t a speech or a sales pitch, some grand gesture. The conversation was an everyday work meeting. Small gestures have big ripples.

As we go about our careers, we obsess about the big gestures – promotions, speeches, awards, deals won. However, our reputations and are social capital are built on the little gestures – everyday conversations, acts of help, how we behave when things are tough, how we treat people in the little moments. These small gestures have an outsize impact because they matter less. Everyone knows people can put on a show for the big moments but what you do i. little moments says far more about who you are.

Little change repeated daily as a practice is far more likely to generate sustainable change and at greater scale than any big shift. Celebrate the little gestures of others to give them encouragement. Put your own into practice.

those delicious possibilities
sweeten each small
gesture of goodbye. Each anonymous, misplaced smile.

Elizabeth Libbey, The Gesture

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