I travel frequently and the Bellingham airport has become a regular stop for me in route to various business meetings.  Last week, I took an early morning flight to Portland. Admittedly I was hardly awake at 5 a.m. and really needing some coffee as I waited my turn at the security line.  

There was someone new standing at the conveyor belt as the passengers put their items through for screening.  At my turn I placed my bag, coat, and clear plastic baggie in the bin, knowing this routine well. The woman agent gave me a bright smile and said, “Good morning! You have done a great job pulling your items for screening today.”  

After looking up in surprise at her enthusiastic response, I looked down at the bin. Though it didn’t really look any different than other times I thought, “Wow, that was a nice compliment.  I have done a great job.”  I said, “Thank you.” and gave her a warm smile back. I think my chest may have puffed a bit. I walked a little lighter on my feet through the metal detectors.  No setting off any alarms today! Before you think I did anything too extraordinary, as I went through to pick up my things on the other side I heard her tell the next passenger the very same thing.  

There is such power in our words and actions.  Every interaction with others has the opportunity to build up or tear down.  Despite the majority of the crowd being tired and not at their best at this early hour, this woman made the decision to be friendly and encouraging to everyone she encountered.  This small gesture made all the difference in my day, and the day of many others. It started with a choice that this employee made long before my encounter with her.

Everyone has relationships in which they serve as a leader in some degree or another. Whatever job you hold, you are in a position of leadership when influencing others. Leadership is influence and our behaviors influence others every day in a positive or negative way.  You can be a powerful influence at work, at home, and in your community. Your leadership is a gift to others.

You can choose to be positive and uplifting to those you interact with, or you can choose to have a negative attitude and a complaining spirit.  It is pretty easy for us to answer what type of energy we would rather be around. Even in times of challenge, you can make the choice to have a positive attitude and let your words bless others.

How do you present yourself to your co-workers, your clients, or vendors?  

Your positive leadership influence makes a difference. Make a “kindness” deposit into the lives of everyone you meet, and watch how others will react positively and pay it forward.  

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” -Mother Teresa