The executive had put out a message out to his network that he was looking to hire top-performing salespeople for his team. While reconnecting with a former colleague, he also mentioned to her that he was looking for salespeople and asked that if she knew anyone, would she send them his way.
Within just a couple of hours she had sent him the name of someone she thought could possibly be a fit. The two connected on LinkedIn and through email, eventually setting up an interview that would take place over a virtual Zoom call.
When the executive and the candidate met and made initial introductions, the executive noticed a picture of legendary Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi hanging on the wall behind the candidate. So before jumping into the interview he had asked him the story behind the picture. As the candidate shared his story about Vince Lombardi’s dedication, discipline and determination and how that inspired him, the executive could not help but smile. He shared that when he was in high school, he had written his term paper on Vince Lombardi, and he chose him for the very same reasons. They had already formed a bond.
Unfortunately, as they began the interview, within about 15-20 minutes they both realized that the candidate wasn’t really a good fit for the position. However, they stayed on the call for a little longer. The candidate shared that he was a single dad of two teenagers and was trying to find the right position that would allow him to provide for his family.
They were saying goodbye when another topic came up and they had some small talk around that. The executive then asked the candidate to tell him a little more about what the perfect job would be that would get him excited to go to work every day. The candidate really loved coaching and training people and helping to develop both personally and professionally. The executive let him know that he would keep his ears and eyes open for any opportunities that sounded like a good fit.
Again, just about to hang up, the executive asked one more question. He asked the candidate, “Is there something that I can pray about for you?” The candidate bowed his head for a good minute before lifting his watery eyes back to the screen. The candidate asked for prayers for his mom as she had cancer. The executive leaned in and said how sorry he was, pausing before asking one more question. He asked the candidate what kind of cancer his mom had. He bowed his head and once again took a moment to speak. As he shared that it was pancreatic cancer, his tears spilled down his cheeks.
The executive stopped and shared this, “This was never about a job interview, this was God’s interview. We were not connected to talk about any job, we were connected for a much greater purpose. My wife passed away in 2013 from pancreatic cancer. She fought for two and a half years, and I learned so much from that journey and experience and I am happy to share any of what I learned with you and your family. I am so very grateful that God planned this interview, and if you need or want anyone to talk to, I am here for you.” And then they prayed together.
Last week I talked about “More than just the attitude of gratitude,” and this week as we think about maintaining the attitude of gratitude beyond Thanksgiving, maybe we can be reminded to be grateful for those connections that are more than work-related, more than perfunctory types of calls. Maybe we can show our gratitude by leaning into those who are placed in our path and connecting with them at an entirely different level. I would love to hear your attitude of gratitude story at firstname.lastname@example.org, and when we can show our gratitude at a deeply human level, it really will be a better than good life.
Michael Norton is an author, a personal and professional coach, consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator of individuals and businesses, working with organizations and associations across multiple industries