The other day this tweet came across my Twitter feed:

LivingForMonday (@LivingforMonday)
4/17/12 2:40 PM
RT @leadtoday: Stop whatever it is you’re doing right now and reach out to someone who needs a bit of encouragement.

Pause for a little shout out… everyone should check out the Living for Monday website. This start-up company works to help college students and young professionals find their passion and align their core values with their dream job. If anything, sign up for their MONDAY::Drop, a weekly email post of inspiration and motivation. It’s awesome!

Now back to the program..

The above tweet really made me think. These days everyone is busy. Everyone has a million things going on, everyone is multi-tasking, everyone is often distracted. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, you name it, it’s hard to think of actual moments in time where we were focused on one thing, and one thing only. I’m not saying in certain situations it’s needed, especially since at the workplace people are needing to take on several projects at once to just keep up with the competing market. However, there are also those moments.. those certain situations.. that we need to stop whatever we’re doing, drop everything, and reach out to someone.

Example 1:
On the way back from my internship with the Police Department, I stopped at the gas station because I had approx. 3 miles left in my tank (whoops). I went in to grab a quick snack because I was in a bit of a rush to get back home to meet a project deadline. At the checkout line, however, I couldn’t help but notice a distressed woman asking several people for help with directions. Visibly upset, with tears running down her face, I witnessed two separate individuals brush her off and claim they weren’t from around here and couldn’t help. (This is where I’ll add in that I saw both of them use their smart phones while waiting in line.) While I was paying, we made eye contact from afar, and I decided to linger around a bit on purpose to give her time to approach me. Long story short, after about 20 minutes of drawing a map, trying to speak in Spanish, and actually going outside to help her visualize how to get from Lauderdale all the way down to Staples Mill, she seemed confident enough to give it a try.

Now who knows if she actually made it to her destination, (gosh, I really hope she did) especially since the only Spanish words I could remember were “Habla espanol?” “izquierda” “cuatro” and “buena suerte.” But nonetheless I felt good about the experience. Yeah, I could have kept my head down and joined the other two people, but I knew if I was in her position, I would really appreciate a helping hand and some encouragement.

Example 2: (less emotional and dramatic, I promise)

Recently a few of my college friends went to Oak Island for our annual beach weekend. While we’re used to having at least 15 people show up, we were more than happy to have the seven of us make it out.

Even though we didn’t make this announcement flat out, all of us kind of made the decision to pack our phones up for the weekend. (I know, more than 2 hours without our phones..gasp) But it was worth it. Why? Because all of us are going in different directions in our careers, (some are already in different countries), and the chances that we’re going to be able to get together as often as we’d like in the future, are pretty slim. The farther we get from graduation, we’ve realized that every year is going to be harder and harder to get all of us out to the beach, or even in one city for one weekend. So we took advantage of the weekend, gave up the need to be connected to people back in Raleigh, or know what was trending on Twitter, and we just hung out. Because no matter how advanced technology gets, how competitive the economy becomes, how many new TV shows premiere during the week, peopleyour friends, your family, your community….people are the most precious things we have in life.

So once in a while, put the phone down and look up. Look people in the eye, talk to someone new, and live in the moment. Because you never know how much a simple gesture can make someone’s day.