Did you hear that I am a grandmother? Well, then you are one of the very few people who didn’t! Yes, I have been quite excited about this new role, but really, I didn’t mean to send out an email to everyone who ever sent me an email during the past few years.
But, apparently, that is just what I did.
Now, I consider myself a fairly savvy technical person. I have built my own websites and have found my way around the latest and greatest apps in a fairly impressive manner for a woman of my, ah, “standing”. That is, with the exception of Apple Mail’s version of Out of Office.
I am taking a few days off to go visit my son and daughter-in-law and to meet my new granddaughter. I thought it would be nice if I set up an out-of-office message, alerting people that I may not be as responsive to them, as I am out of town. And, I just HAD to throw in there the sentence “Did I tell you I’m a grandmother now?” You know, something a little cute and personal. This auto-response was meant just for the handful of people who are actually working this week that may be sending me an email.
My first clue that something wasn’t right was the plethora of “Mail Undeliverable” messages I was getting. Then came the congratulations notes. When I saw notes from people I hadn’t communicated with for years, I knew something was up. It was nice to get notes from friends but when I started getting them from high level executives I had only communicated with regarding business transactions, I was wildly embarrassed! Here they were, these people I only knew professionally, now sending me notes extolling the blessing of being a grandparent. There went my professional cover!
And then I stopped to take it in. This “faux pas” of mine had touched people on a very personal, very real level. How often does that happen between people who are strangers outside of a few cursory email conversations? I learned that a rather important guy I thought had written me off is grandfather to 4 – and loves it. And a woman I had thought was ignoring me after a year of trying to get her to tape a show, reached out to congratulate me and ask when we could get together. From all over I was hearing from people I hadn’t heard from. It was amazing.
Here’s my take-away: people are hungry for REAL human connection. Our world is full of hateful diatribes and negativity. It is hard to get through the day without something heartbreaking in the news. And this news, completely unexpected and full of pride and joy, seemed to create a very welcome break.
Maybe there really are no accidents in this world. And if I had to make that kind of a mistake, there couldn’t have been a better way to do it! Reach out and touch someone authentically today – we’ll all be glad you did!