Key Point: We all need a “big head file.” Some of us may think we don’t, but in the deepest of our personal wells, I believe we need to have one sitting in a proverbial bucket; resting at the bottom. When needed, we can pull that bucket up and quench a thirst for some necessary replenishment. What is a “big head file?’ A colleague told me about a file she keeps as a reminder of the value she has brought to people. In it are kudos, observations, thanks, etc. she has received from teammates, friends, and other connections over the years. And she tells me that every once in a while, when she needs it most, it comes out for a read. When she soaks in the file for a while, it is declared “Big Head Day”… She allows a moment of time to bask in the joy of the positive feedback she has received from others. It is there for nourishment; like a delicious four shot espresso. In a small but important way this “file” defines our contributions, because at the end of our journey, I believe it is all about the value and love we have given others.
The other week, I received maybe the best material for my “big head file” ever. In my book, The Character Triangle, the first chapter reflects on my experience as a teacher and the gift those kids gave me. Here are a couple of lines from one of those emails I received from a student I taught at St. Nicholas:
“Hi Mr. Rubis,
I was one of those students in the gym at St. Nick’s and was crying when you left. I remember that day so well. You made such an impact on my life and the lives of so many of us. You really cared about us and I knew that you touched me to do something great. I became a teacher because of you and the impact that you could have on young lives and the need to make every child feel special. I thank you for that gift! Good luck with your book and the goodness that you are still spreading.
In the same book, I talk about my experience with the Los Angeles Kings Hockey Club. The same week I received a note on LinkedIn from a colleague. It included the following and much more.
“I’ve never encountered an executive so secure in his own skin… That mentored… Drew the best out of all of us…”
Now think about how glorious it is to receive notes like these. But this blog is really NOT about me (although I’m proud of these notes). It’s about you.
- Do everything you can to sincerely, and specifically add to people’s “big head files.” Tell them how much you care for them. Thank them for what they have given you. Be generous, but only if you really mean it. Build as many “big head files” for others as you can. You have to care. It takes work. But think about the joy you bring. It costs nothing!
- Do not wait for it or expect it. But the more you give to others, the more likely, in the best and most delicious way, it will come back ten fold or more. The note from the person at St. Nicks talks about things that happened more than 40 years ago! The message from the colleague at the Kings was referring to our time together almost 15 years ago. You never know when your “big head file” gets a wonderful hit.
- Try and build the biggest and most nutritious “big head file”… Not just for the replenishment received, but also because in the end, the most important possession you will have is likely to be your “file.” (And your loved ones who will read it to you and get replenished as well).
A “Big Head File” in The Triangle,