Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Adding Value

December 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Aspire to Inspire, Just me

Adding Value

At this time of year giving becomes an important topic,  but in this case I’m not talking about the bait and switch of Black Friday or the ubiquitous buy one get 10 free which clogs our society.


Instead, I want to raise the topic of adding value, and to challenge you to see what ripples you make in the pond that make people  better for you being around!

What do you do to make people feel special?


Stop for a moment and think about your last shopping trip,  or visit to the bank……

What did you do to make people seek you out, because you made them feel  appreciated or special? It can be as simple as greeting them by name!  No, I’m not suggesting you are David Blaine and can magically pull their name out of the air, to be honest,  I hadn’t realized I do it until my daughters asked “how do you know his name Mum?”  It’s pretty easy, I read it off his employee tag  (this time or the time before) or I ask!  A habit I think from life as a squadron wife.

employee badgeJust visiting

Making an effort to remember someone’s name makes them feel special, ask how their toddlers ear infection is and you’re a family friend.   Lets face it, you see the same people every Saturday as you go through the line at Costco. You hear the interaction between the cashier and the helper,  It’s so easy to ask how the fishing trip went next time you’re in!  Plus it makes the process go so much more smoothly it suddenly becomes  like a visit with friends rather than a weekend hassle.

Turning the tables

As a case in point, this weekend I was loaded down in the check out line without my teens to help with the conveyor belt, and Abbie (the stately Ethiopia cashier)  swooped in and diverted me to her line complaining  that I hadn’t been to see her in a while and asking “where are your beautiful girls?”  She leaned over and said “I love that you let people with just a couple of items go ahead of you”, her colleague in the next aisle suddenly added “she always makes a point to hang up her cell or apologizes if she can’t when she’s in my line”,  they were literally jostling over who I had been nicer to almost as a point of pride.  Suddenly I was the person feeling special, celebrated.  See how it works!


Making a connection is what we talk about on social media. Why doesn’t it cross over to our offline world?  Perhaps having an accent helps, it’s certainly a conversation starter, but even the most truculent of people just need a reason to say Hi.  The truth is most people feel isolated by the hustle and bustle.  I find that it becomes a kind of game, not in a negative manner but rather a way to turn a bad day or a lonely day into something else for both of us.

This weekend I:

Swiped my membership card at the gas pump for a lady who had lost her club id and couldn’t catch the eye of the attendant to do an override, it cost me nothing, got the line moving and made 2 people smile.

Distracted a fretful toddler by playing peek a boo while his harried Mom paid for their snack

Asked how Shandi’s 6 month old baby and his big brother are doing? (Shandi just came back from Maternity leave and was amazed I remembered how old the baby was).

Held the cart still while someone loaded a big screen TV.

Asked Jon in Returns his opinion on the best big screen TV’s,  he said but I don’t work in sales I just process returns.  He was flattered when I said ” who would know better then!”

It doesn’t take much effort … What are you doing to add value?

My friend Miriam suggested I write an article on this topic, she touched me when she said that I’ve added value to her life, but I know for sure it’s been reciprocal.



21 Responses to “Adding Value”
  1. Laine, I love how you put life and the important moments into a value add. It doesnt take much, but it certainly adds a whole lot of happiness to ease the burden of life, with a smile, a question, a momentary kindness. I try to be thoughtful with the people around me. I am so often touched by the kindness of strangers and friends alike.

    Jennifer Duchene
    Home Makeover Mixtress

  2. Fiona Stolze says:

    Laine, lovely article. You’ve certainly added value to my day with this. It’s inspired me to think about this more and see where I stand in relation to others. Thank you.

    Fiona Stolze

  3. Nancy Anderson says:

    Hi Laine,
    What an inspirational article and one that has made me think about the importance of a smile, a thank you, and a kind word.
    My parent’s brought us up to respect everyone and taught us to always treat everyone with dignity.
    So many people hide behind their computers and say such hurtful things (did you ever read the comments underneath the Yahoo news articles? Yikes!). It’s important to get out and spread the love!

  4. I always try to be friendly and helpful when I’m out and about. I smile, make eye contact, pull funny faces at little kids, whatever it takes. Rarely talk on my cell at a check out (and apologize if it’s an important call). I have worked in retail and know what it’s like to be treated as invisible so I don’t do it.
    I like to think that I’m as friendly and helpful online as I am offline because that’s just how I like to treat people and be treated. Thanks for a lovely post Laine.
    Louise Edington
    Facing Fears and Frontiers Over Fifty

  5. Wonderful, wonderful post, Laine! As you pointed out so beautifully, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to make someone’s day a little brighter :)
    Like you, if a clerk or waitress is wearing a name tag I will use their name in our interaction. I’m always surprised when the bagger or checker says “how did you know my name?”, forgetting that it’s clearly displayed on their lapel.
    For me, your post is really speaking to mindfulness… being conscious in every moment and every interaction.
    Fantastic post! Many thanks for the reminder, Laine :)

  6. Laine D. says:

    Jen, You are always a joy to be around and go out of your way to focus on others, and have always made me feel special even when I haven’t been quite sure of what I was doing.

    As a recovering divorcee and with limited resources we had to find a way to let people know we care and appreciate what they do.

    I think we have gotten away from the personal gestures to the give them a giftcard, but since we didn’t have the money ~ as the world worst baker (yes that’s me – I could but DONT bake) delivering hot chocolate to the school crossing guards does the job. As they told me this morning “but K doesn’t even cross the road”, no but you wave to us every morning…

    You are so right – that smile or kind word might be the only one they get all day!

    Always appreciate you dear heart
    Laine D.

  7. Laine D. says:

    Well isn’t that a nice thing to say… I know that the UK is pretty cold right now so I hope the warm thought we’re both holding spreads through your day, just as the beauty of your art does.

    Laine D.

  8. Laine D. says:

    Hi Nancy,

    I know you are from a military family and I think that is one of the things that I miss from that environment. its all business but all a village. It never mattered about your rank, race, religion but goes back to a more formalized environment of respect, consideration and caring for your ‘family’.

    Frequently it is as simple as giving people the dignity of an eye to eye response.

    People find it easier to say negative things when they are not looking you in the face. There is always a need for critique but don’t say anything behind someones back that you wouldn’t look into their eyes and say. actually that’s probably what gets me into trouble.

    Everyone is lonely, tired and stressed think from their point of view and make someones day better.

    Keep warm sweetie
    Laine D

  9. Laine D. says:

    I recognized those traits in you from the first moment Louise which is why we get on so well. You always make an effort to help someone out or up which is why you are so good at what you do.

    I was amazed when I came to the US with the whole “have a nice day” culture, but soon realized it had lost much of its meaning. I still think there is a huge amount of warmth, kindness and service we are just being pushed into a world too busy to take time. Its a big world and everyone is in a rush to meet quotas, forget them! One connection correctly forged, a smile exchanged is contagious and will snowball through a day.

    Thanks for being you
    Laine D.

  10. Laine D. says:

    That is it entirely guys! We are so immured in our crazy life that we forget to be mindful.

    Ironically I think it was a lesson that I learned from being in hospital and then in a wheelchair for a long time. My husband was overseas at another military base doing his job and my family was only able to visit at weekends so I was at the mercy of strangers. I was very ill and more or less fastened to a bed but found that the nurses, doctors, janitorial staff would wander in to chat! I became the ‘Dear Prudence/Dear Abby’ giving advice on anniversary presents, how to say sorry, just listening – I wasn’t in a hurry, I couldn’t get anywhere fast – we don’t need shrinks we just need someone to listen and take notice of what we say!

    Its something that dogs know about people, we need someone to listen, we need someone who cares. So to quote my friend – I’m just thinking like a dog 😀

    You always help clarify my thoughts for me 😀
    Laine D.

  11. Miriam says:

    Laine, I have witnessed your good works and know that you have added value to many people. A kind word, a gentle smile, sometimes a nod in passing might brighten someone’s day. We need to take advantage of the many opportunities that are presented to us daily.

    Sitting in the restaurant laughing with my Brother, I noticed 3 Policemen at a corner table finishing their meal. Searching the table for their ticket and not finding one, I called the waitress. “I would like to pay for the Policemen’s meal, please.” The words flowed like butter. Handing me their ticket, the waitress asks. “May I tell them you bought their meal?” Nodding, I respond, “Tell them a very grateful citizen is buying their meal.”

    I was simply thanking them for adding value to my life.

  12. I too really think it’s important to remember people’s names – it gives signifcance to your relationship with them, and they do feel better when you remember after only meeting them once. But, because I am so horrible with names, I learned to play name association. So whenever I meet someone, I immediately repeat their name, and then associate it with someone or something else so next time I see them I won’t forget.

    For example, I met a bartender at a local restaurant here in Ambergris Caye, and his name was Ivan. I immediately in my mind renamed him “Ivan the Terrible.” The next time I saw him, I recalled that and said “Hi Ivan!” He was so impressed. Thank for reminding us how important the little things are.

    Sharon Hiebing
    Follow Your Dream Compass

  13. Laine D. says:

    Thanks Miriam and thank you for the inspiration on this piece!

    It is just that sort of gesture which makes the world a better place. I was once at an airport in Georgia travelling with my ex and several other service men. You may notice that the services are frequently twitchy about the reception they will receive. As the men approached the gate to ask when they could board the whole waiting area rose in ones and twos until it seemed like the whole concourse got to their feet and applauded, shaking the servicemen by the hand as they passed. Lets just say there wasn’t a dry eye in the house! including some hard as nails guys in uniform.

    God Bless the USA.
    Laine D
    Aspire to Inspire

  14. Laine D. says:

    I understand completely, sometimes it takes a couple of moments or more before I can remember the names and until then you can hang out and chat!

    …. mnemonic devices, repeating their names on meeting etc are really useful to help you past it – but it is really worthwhile when you do isn’t it. Of course many times people wear a name tag which helps a lot especially when you can glance discreetly. 😀

    Just the name Ambergris Caye sounds heavenly!

    Thanks for your encouragement
    Laine D.

  15. You’ll want to add a facebook button to your blog. I just bookmarked this article, although I had to complete it manually. Simply my $.02 :)

    – Robson

  16. Laine D. says:

    Merci mille fois Robson, J’essai fait des adaptacion mais c’est ne pas fascile pour moi! Excuse my poor french it’s been a long time since I used it 😀


  17. Rachel says:

    This is such a great post.

    When I first saw the title…the first thing that jumped into my head was advertising. Coming from an advertising background, added value is talked about ALL THE TIME. It’s that little extra that we give to really good clients, or to those we want to convert into clients, of for those customers who have felt they have been failed in some way.

    It’s quite ironic that I actually had a boss who, in the middle of a meeting with peers, screamed out to me that I “added no value” (her exact words) to a project I got done in 3 months, after having it sit for 6 years (according to her). I think that was the first time I had ever “heard” those words used outside of advertising and to refer to a person.

    I also often think about the kind of value I add to the lives of others. Whether they even realize that I might have added some value to their lives or not. One of the things I find myself doing quite often, is I say “good morning” and “have a nice day” to every single person I see while I am walking my dogs in the morning. Most respond in kind and in shocked disbelief…lol…it is actually sort of funny….the responses that actually shock me are the ones that come from the young people. Many respond in kind and seem “honored” to be addressed in such a mature fashion….who knows exactly what they are thinking…but I receive really positive responses to these salutations. It makes me feel good because I think these people start their day a little better because someone wished them a good day.

  18. Laine D. says:

    Hi Rachel,

    Happy New Year!

    I’ve never worked in advertising so I wasn’t aware of that link… your former boss wasn’t too bright though was she! Of course that just says she was promoted from doing to managing without someone realizing she didn’t have the skills for a managerial position. Added Value should have applied to her role too… Managers should bring out the best in their staff and not sit around waiting for them to do the work.

    I’ve noticed that teens are particularly surprised when you ‘talk to’ them rather than at them, something my girls take for granted but their friends notice.

    Its amazing the effect going the extra mile has on people! Hopefully your new role appreciates you for doing so.

    Thanks for checking me out…

    Laine D

  19. Mari-Lyn says:

    H Laine

    Thanks for adding your story of adding value..a little care, respect and kindness goes a long way..especially for the other person, it really brightens their day.

    If possible can I repost this article for

    Mari-Lyn Harris

  20. Laine D. says:

    Hi Mari-Lyn,

    I would love for you to share this with anyone you feel would get something out of it! Plus I love, so I’m delighted that you think this would fit the bill – thanks so much for asking. Do you need me to send it to you or.

    I would appreciate it appearing with my tagline and with so much theft feel free to add published with permission of the author Laine Dakin.

    Sorry it took so long for me to see your comment, I’ve been having an issue with spam and am having the site updated! Hope to catch up with you again soon.

    Laine D.
    “Aspire to Inspire”


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