Base Your Relationships On This One Question

I watched the Rose Garden event at which President Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg and in her seven-minute speech it was seven words that really impacted me and got me thinking.

 She introduced us all to her family, a large and very diverse family. Then she talked about her husband Jesse, an accomplished lawyer who also leads a very busy life. She said that every morning, for the past 21 years, her husband asks her the same question: “What can I do for you today?”   Wow, that’s powerful! That’s a game changer, I thought.  I’ve been married for 25 years and I know that I seldom ask my spouse that question, sadly. 

How different would our relationships be, with our spouse, our kids, our parents, our colleagues, our employees, if we asked them those seven words every day? And if that question could have such a positive impact on those we love and those we work with every day, why don’t we ask it?  Because we’re all so busy, running at 100 mph and thinking only of ourselves. That question could inconvenience us, take the focus off of what we want to get done, off of “me first”.

In his book The Infinite Game, Simon Sinek shares with us the story of Noah the Barista. Sinek was at a conference in Las Vegas and staying at the Four Seasons Hotel. He loved staying at all Four Season Hotels because of the outstanding service they provide their guests. Sinek loved getting his coffee from Noah because he had such a positive attitude and great sense of humor.  Sinek asked Noah if he enjoyed his job and Noah’s answer was: “I love my job here at the Four Seasons.”  Sinek found out that Noah held a second job at another hotel and didn’t enjoy his work there. So, Sinek asked him what the difference was between the two hotels. Noah shared with him that when a Four Seasons manager came by, they would always ask him: “How can I support you today, Noah?” At the other hotel he learned to keep his head down, do his job and collect his pay. The managers there were looking to see what their employees were doing wrong, rather than supporting and encouraging them.

I truly believe that this 7-word question: “What can I do for you today?” can have a huge, positive impact on any relationship we value. I don’t think I’ll remember to ask my spouse it every day but maybe I can make a start and ask her once a week. I’m sure her positive response will prompt me to ask it over and over again.

How about you? Why don’t you challenge yourself to ask this question to someone who is important to you?  A family member, friend or colleague at work. I guarantee your relationship will never be the same!